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It's tempting to give your pooch table scraps from your plate, especially when it's hard to resist the dog's begging eyes, but you know that it might be unsafe.
Fortunately for everybody, some human foods are completely fine for dogs to consume in moderation.
So what human food can dogs eat, and what can you treat them to from your plate?
In fact, did you know that the “ban all table scraps from dog's bowl” campaign was originally launched by the pet food industry companies back in 1964?
The agenda is obvious: for owners to buy more commercial and expensive kibble.
It was successful because even today when an owner asks what human food dogs can eat, they are likely to get a deadly stare from many other pet parents.
However, feeding dogs certain human foods is not only unsafe but beneficial.
Several studies show how some human foods, fruits and vegetables provide health benefits to dogs.
With that being said, what human food can dogs eat and what should you not feel guilty about when feeding to your pooch off the table?
What Human Food Can Dogs Eat?
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods for humans and dogs alike. They are full of protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Even eggshell powder is good for dogs since it contains essential fatty and amino acids.
For dogs, it's best to serve the eggs hard-boiled or scrambled.
Eating raw eggs is also fine if your dog is otherwise healthy.
I personally would avoid feeding raw eggs to my dog, but that's me.
Keep in mind, though, as with all raw foods, FDA studies show that there's an increased risk of salmonella.
So, always stick to organic or free-range eggs to avoid increased risks and health problems.
Dogs are usually not sensitive to gluten (unless they have a condition), making certain grains like wheat, barley, and rye safe for moderation.
That means you can treat your dog to some bread, pasta, and other baked goods, but only occasionally because these foods aren't nutritionally rich and are mostly a treat.
In this science-based article, a veterinarian explains exactly how grains came to be vilified and looked down upon among dog owners.
But the bad name wasn't deserved.
In fact, we invited the vet to contribute a column for us, too, on why grain-free foods may not always be a good idea.
So the next time you think about what human food dogs can eat, you can include a bit of bread and pasta.
Make sure that the pasta is properly cooked.
Any bread or pastry must be properly baked since the raw dough has yeast, which can cause intestinal distress in dogs.
No additional ingredients should be in there because some might be toxic.
Note that some dogs can develop allergic reactions to grains and/or gluten; if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, take your dog to the vet.
If your dog is gluten-sensitive, you can still feed him whole-grain bread or mix some non-gluten grains, like oats or rice, into his regular dog food meal.
This is an obvious addition to any list of what human food dogs can eat because canines can eat any meat.
It's the best source of protein, particularly fresh and lean meats.
Vets also say it's best to cook the meat thoroughly to protect your dog from bacteria and parasites since many are food-borne.
One European study showed an alarming presence of pathogens in raw meat.
However, if you're into raw feeding, that's a possible option, but you must know about safe preparation.
In fact, a recent study found raw feeding also has health benefits for dogs.
Cooking. You can use any meat – beef, lamb, pork, chicken, etc. – and grind it or cut it into bite-sized chunks, which can help your dog chew and swallow the meat more easily and prevent choking.
You should also avoid feeding your dog bones since they are a choking hazard.
Remove skin and fat from meat before you give it to your pooch. Avoid any additives that may be harmful, such as gravies, sauces, and seasonings.
They can often include ingredients that can be harmful to your dog (such as sugar or too much salt).
Best meats. Chicken, turkey, and beef are the best choices, while pork, especially ham or bacon, is best avoided since they are high in calories and have a lot of fat and salt.
But if you want to add a little “treat meat” to your list of what human food dogs can eat, occasionally, ham and bacon could be fine.
Processed meats. In general, these meats aren't recommended.
Meat choices like hot dogs or salami contain a lot of sodium, fat, and sugar.
Some might even have too much garlic, which will be toxic to dogs.
If you want to give hot dogs to your pooch, make sure they are made without any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and only give a little bit.
Can I feed my dog raw chicken?
No. Do not do this.
I know people out there because of the raw diet and because of our dog's ancestors think that they can toss their dog a piece of raw chicken breast and call it a day.
Raw chicken risks your dog's health because of dangerous bacteria called salmonella.
Even raw food diet brands pressurize the meat they package (which lightly cooks it) to avoid safety problems.
Most dogs find dairy products difficult to digest, but they are fine in small quantities if your dog is not lactose intolerant.
Just like humans, not all dogs are allergic to lactose or are lactose intolerant, and some can process it without issues when given in small quantities.
So, what dairy can be added to our list of what human food can dogs eat?
Milk is fine for dogs (but not essential).
However, plain yogurt is a much better choice for dogs as long as it doesn't contain additives.
It's a good source of protein and calcium.
When picking yogurt for dogs, go with one that doesn't have sugar or artificial sweeteners. Yogurts with live active bacteria are especially good since they can act as a natural probiotic.
If your dog is overweight, choose a fat-free yogurt to decrease calories.
Cheese for dogs, given in moderation, is also fine. Stick to low-fat cheese, like mozzarella and cottage cheese.
High fat and salt found in some cheeses means they're much higher in calories and will cause weight gain and cholesterol problems in dogs.
Ice cream, unless specifically made for dogs, should NOT be on your list of human food that dogs can eat.
Most pet parents know that their dogs can enjoy a nice dollop of peanut butter in their Kong toys.
But you need to know what kind of peanut butter.
Some peanut butter is unsafe for dogs because it contains a chemical called xylitol.
This is a sweetener, a sugar substitute that brands use to make peanut butter more palatable for consumers.
You also need to make sure you buy unsalted peanut butter.
Salty foods should be avoided. Highly salty foods make a dog more thirsty and, at worst, can cause sodium ion poisoning.
Again, make sure you pick peanut butter that is safe for dogs to eat and monitor your dog's intake.
I'm not sure why you'd want to feed your dog this, but since people do, MAKE SURE IT IS PLAIN.
The normal popcorn you or I eat is unsafe for dogs.
So that means popcorn without butter, salt, sugar, or anything extra added.
And don't feed your dog unpopped kernels. Your dog cannot digest those; small dogs may choke, and too many could cause intestinal blockage.
Like meats, most fish are perfect for dogs. It's a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help with arthritis and joint pain in dogs due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Lean fish is also a very healthy source of lean protein with few calories among its other benefits; fatty fish could also be just as great (but don't forget the calories).
Most dogs usually love the smell and taste of fish, so add it to your list of what human food can dogs eat.
Note, however, that while dogs can eat almost any fish if you introduce it into your dog's diet, do it in small quantities since some canines can be allergic to certain types of fish.
The most common fish types in commercial dog food include salmon, black cod, herring, sardines, and tuna.
You can give your canned fish like tuna and sardines if it is packed in water and served plain.
If you prepare homemade fish for dogs, make sure to cook it thoroughly and remove all the bones.
Shellfish, like shrimp, lobster, and crabs, are also good for your dog if you serve it without the shell and cook it thoroughly.
An obvious addition to our list of what human food dogs can eat, fruits are a perfect low-calorie, nutrient-rich, water-dense, healthy snack for your pet.
They provide several essential minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, whether you serve them fresh or frozen. Avoid canned fruits since they are high in sugar.
Safety. Any fruit you serve your dog should be without skin, peels, rinds, cores, stems, pits, seeds, and leaves, as these pose a choking hazard and are toxic to dogs.
Large fruits should be cut into bite-sized pieces.
Keep the portions small since fruit fiber can cause gastrointestinal distress in large quantities, and the natural sugar in high quantities is also unhealthy for dogs.
Apples, bananas, apricots, pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, pineapple, pears, plums – they are all safe for your dog to eat.
Watermelon is high in Vitamin C, which is great for the immune system.
Citrus fruits, like oranges and tangerines, are high in citric acid, which can upset the stomach of some dogs.
As far as berries go, stick to strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries.
Blueberries, in particular, have a lot of scientifically proven benefits for dogs and humans.
Remember never to feed your dog wild berries.
Lemons, limes, grapes, and raisins should never be fed to a dog – they're toxic.
Just like fruits, vegetables are yet another great addition to a list of human food dogs can eat – even better than fruits due to their lower sugar content and higher fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Most vegetables are a healthy and safe snack for your dog.
Choose fresh and frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables containing added salt or other filler.
Ensure you wash the vegetables thoroughly before serving them raw, cooked, or steamed.
Some of the most popular vegetables for dogs include broccoli, lettuce, celery, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, green beans, and green peas.
Just like for humans, almost anything green will be better.
In fact, dogs can eat just plain green beans, raw or cooked; it doesn't matter.
The same goes for carrots.
Both raw and cooked carrots are fine.
Most or all of the vegetables I just listed above can be eaten raw or cooked.
But a quick caveat on broccoli: feed in small quantities.
Broccoli has what is called isothiocyanate. This compound is found in florets like cauliflower, which will cause gastric issues and can be toxic in high quantities.
Red tomatoes are also fine if you remove the stems and leaves.
Corn is safe, but not on the cob, which can be a choking hazard.
Mushrooms are also safe for dogs if they are store-bought.
Never feed your dog wild mushrooms since many are poisonous, and you can't properly identify them.
Dogs can't eat onions and garlic. Raw and unripe potatoes are also toxic to dogs.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of nutrients for dogs. However, make sure the potato is cooked and the skin is removed.
Feeding your dog raw sweet potatoes is dangerous because it is difficult for your pup to digest, and worse, it can cause intestinal blockage.
The potato skin also makes it harder to digest.
Canned pumpkin, or cooked pumpkin fed in moderation, is an excellent source of fiber and Vitamin A. This is especially true if your dog struggles with constipation.
Ensure you don't feed your dog pumpkin pie filling because that kind of puree most likely has added sugar.
There are both good and bad nuts for dogs.
While some are healthy, others are very toxic and dangerous to dogs.
In general, it's best to avoid nuts altogether, but if you wish to add them to your list of what human food dogs can eat, some are a good source of protein and healthy fat, but they can also be a choking hazard and often come salted.
They are also high in calories, so give them occasionally and in small quantities.
Peanuts are probably the most popular choice (without salt or spice).
You can give them raw or roasted, as well as in the form of natural peanut butter, as long as it doesn't contain xylitol.
Serve them unsalted and introduce them slowly since some dogs can be allergic to nuts.
Cashews and hazelnuts are also safe for dogs in moderation.
Avoid almonds and pistachios since they are too rich in fat and not easily digested by dogs.
Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans are extremely toxic to dogs.
The next time you decide to feed your dog table scraps consider these foods – if they're known as safe, then treat your pup a little.
In terms of what human food dogs can eat, there's a large number of options available.
As you can see, dogs can eat plenty of human foods if they get it in moderation and with safety precautions.
Processed foods with additives like sugar or salt and prepared meals should be avoided since they may contain harmful ingredients.
Before you give your dog any new type of food, ensure it is safe first and introduce it in small quantities.
Did we miss any options?
What human food can dogs eat other than these?
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