When your family sits down at the dinner table, sometimes Fido wants to join you, and that’s understandable. While some human foods are OK for dogs, others can be deadly. The best thing to do is give your dog a spot on the floor next to your table and make sure his food bowl is full of healthy dog food. If that’s not an option right now, or if you want to reward your dog on a special occasion, you should know what is good and what is bad for your dog when it comes to human foods.
Good Human Foods
Although there are some human foods that are good for dogs, they should be eaten in moderation. Even too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. These foods are not toxic to dogs, so they won’t hurt little Fluffy if she picks one up off the floor during lunch, but she could get a tummy ache if she has too much:
Fresh Strawberries – Everyone loves a fresh strawberry, including your dog. They’re a low-calorie treat that contain vitamin C, fiber and a lot of antioxidants. It’s thought that fresh fruit contributes to a slow in the aging process, as well as strengthening the immune system. Containing something called malic acid, strawberries can keep your dog’s teeth nice and bright. It’s best to wash the berries and cut them up into small pieces so your dog doesn’t choke.
Celery – Dog owners often use celery as a treat when their dogs need to lose a little weight. High in manganese, potassium and folate, celery also contains vitamins A, K and C. It’s a great source of fiber and can make your dog’s breath just a little fresher. Again, it should be chopped into small pieces to be safe for your dog.
Carrots – Cooked and raw carrots are perfectly safe for your dog, so long as they are not covered in butter or salt, or dipped in dressing. After cutting them into bite-size pieces, mix them in with your dog’s regular food .
Peanut Butter – It’s perfectly safe for your dog to have a peanut butter snack, but you have to be careful what is in the peanut butter. It needs to be plain and unsalted, so read the nutrition label to ensure you’re not feeding something dangerous to your pup.
Fresh Blueberries – Rich in antioxidants, blueberries are a healthy treat for your dog. They also contain various vitamins and minerals, and are high in fiber. Because they’re already the perfect size, it’s easy to just wash them and add them to your dog’s next meal.
Bad Human Foods
Many foods that humans enjoy are actually toxic to dogs. Even just a little taste will warrant a trip to the veterinarian so your dog doesn’t get violently ill. As a dog owner, it’s important you keep these items out of reach of your dog:
Cinnamon – Cinnamon actually isn’t toxic to dogs, but it will irritate your dog’s skin and digestive system. You don’t need to panic if your dog ingests some, but you should be prepared to take your dog to the veterinarian because he might have a hard time breathing due to the strength of the cinnamon.
Grapes – Grapes contain some toxic compounds that are dangerous for dogs. Rapid kidney failure, as well as death, are some effects of a dog eating grapes. This includes dried grapes, or raisins, so be sure you keep them securely contained away from your dog.
Chocolate – It’s a treat most humans can’t live without, but your dog can’t live with chocolate. Caffeine and theobromine are just two of the stimulants contained in chocolate, and your dog can’t metabolize them. If your dog ingests chocolate, he could vomit, have diarrhea or even experience internal bleeding, seizures or death.
Macadamia Nuts – Although a specific toxin can’t be pinpointed, there is a toxin in macadamia nuts that makes dogs sick. They are also high in fat, which often increases triglyceride levels and could result in pancreatitis.
Avocados – An avocado contains a toxin called persin, which will poison your dog. Fluid will begin to accumulate in the lungs and chest, leading to breathing difficulties and deprivation of oxygen.
Borderline Human Foods
Some human foods may be bad for dogs or good for dogs, depending on how they are prepared. You need to be extra careful to ensure you don’t serve your dog a food you think is healthy, when the way it is prepared makes it unhealthy:
Raspberries – While raspberries do have some healthy benefits, they also contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Because of the level of xylitol, a few raspberries won’t make your dog immediately sick, but prolonged ingestion could eventually lead to gastrointestinal problems, liver disease or hypoglycemia.
Eggs – Eggs are high in protein, making them a healthy treat for dogs, but only when cooked thoroughly. If you feed raw eggs to your dogs, you run the risk of your dog contracting salmonella, biotin deficiency and other problems. If you do cook eggs for your dog, don’t include oils, butter, salt or any other additives.
Popcorn – Popcorn is another one of those treats humans eat by the bucketful, but dogs should limit their intake to very small amounts. If you do offer your dog popcorn, it should be air-popped and free of butter, salt or anything else. If kernels get stuck in a dog’s teeth, they could pose a choking hazard, so pick out all the whole kernels or half-popped kernels before offering your dog this treat.
As you can see, there are a lot of things you need to consider when you pull out the dog food bowl and offer your dog an extra treat. If you’re planning to give your dog human food, take some time to research which foods are good and which foods are bad so you can keep your dog safe.