Tempted to give your furry friend a bite of what's in your bowl? While an occasional people food treat is OK, not all human foods are safe for dogs.

By Brendan Howard
August 24, 2020
Advertisement

Wondering what human foods dogs can eat safely? You’re not alone—it’s fun to share your favorite snacks with your pup! But some seemingly harmless foods can cause gastrointestinal issues when introduced to your dog’s diet, or even worse, poison your dog. We checked in with the canine food safety experts at the ASPCA to find out what dogs can eat, and how to share snacks safely with your four-legged friends.

What Human Foods Are Toxic for Dogs?

The internet is full of facts, figures and long lists of the dangers of feeding dogs things we human beings eat every day. Both the Pet Poison Helpline and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center include these common human foods as no-nos for dogs. They include:

If you suspect your dog has eaten something toxic, immediately call your veterinarian. If your dog is poisoned or ate the wrong thing, upon arriving at the clinic you can expect your vet to check your pup’s vitals and make sure they’re stabilized. Next, depending on how much time has lapsed since they ate the suspected toxin, your vet may decide to induce vomiting.

Credit: Klaus Vedfelt / Getty

What Human Foods Are Safe for Dogs to Eat? 

So, what is OK for a dog to eat? We asked Tina Wismer, DVM, MS, DABVT, DABT, a veterinarian and senior director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, to weigh in with her advice about some common queries about fruits, vegetables, and more: 

Can dogs eat bananas? 

Yes, but avoid the peel and keep it small so dogs don't choke. "Apples without the core and seeds are low in calories, and are a good source of fiber," Wismer says, "which will help your dog feel full and satisfied."

Can dogs eat apples? 

Yes, with skin and seeds removed. Many dogs enjoy small slices of apples as a treat. (But good luck getting him to try those sour green ones!)

Can dogs eat carrots?

Yes, and they can be a healthy, low-calorie treat."Most dogs love baby carrots, and at about four calories each, they make a great weight loss snack," Wismer says. "Carrots are also gentle on the tummy and don’t usually make dogs gassy—a common complaint with other veggies."

Can dogs eat strawberries? 

Can dogs eat blueberries? 

Yes! Blueberries are another tasty berry that’s OK to feed your pup (but not too much at a time).

Can dogs eat oranges? 

Yes, but only the pulpy fruit. The stem, the peel and even the seeds contain levels of citric acid that can upset a dog's stomach.

Can dogs eat eggs? 

Yes, but avoid raw eggs and pointy shell pieces. Remember to always fully cook eggs before feeding to dgs to avoid bacteria like Salmonella.

Can dogs eat green beans?

Yes. Like carrots, Wismer says that green beans are very low in calories and have a satisfying crunch."They can be a great green snack for your dog or cat."

Can dogs eat rice? 

Yes, as long as it's cooked.

Can dogs eat cheese?

Milk and other dairy may be fine in small amounts or as extra-tasty treats that can help your pet swallow pills, but because pets can't digest items with lactose as easily as we can, watch the amount and check with your vet for the all-clear. 

Can dogs eat coconut?

Small amounts of coconut are OK for dogs to eat (and may even have some benefits), but avoid giving too much, since the oils can cause upset stomach or diarrhea. The ASPCA says to avoid giving coconut water to your dog since it’s high in potassium. 

This list offers some more great options for human food that is OK to share with your dog:

  • Green beans
  • Ice chips, small enough not to induce choking
  • Lettuces
  • Peanut butter, but stick to plain, unsalted varieties of this high-calorie treat, and feed in moderation.
  • Peas
  • Popcorn, but no butter or salt
  • Pumpkin, which can help your dog if he has an upset stomach.
  • Raspberries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash
  • Zucchini and summer squash

Remember, even with healthy treats like those above, moderation is key. "Giving your pets foods that are safe for them to ingest is OK in small quantities," Wismer says. "But treats should only make up 10 percent of a pet's daily calories."

More Tips on Feeding Pets Human Foods

Finding foods that are safe to feed your pup can be tricky, especially since dogs’ nutritional needs can vary based on their size, age, and even breed type. Wismer says to keep mind a few basic rules to help keep your pet healthy as you hit the fridge for a shareable snack:

Even if a food is nontoxic, that doesn't mean it's healthy for your particular dog. Some human foods, even healthy fruits and vegetables, can be high in calories, fat or fiber, which can upset a dog's stomach and cause diarrhea and vomiting. Those effects can even damage your dog's internal organs, so feed in moderation, and check with a veterinarian if you're worried that your pooch is gaining/losing weight or showing a lack of appetite.

Dogs are like people: Everyone responds differently to different foods. One dog might love apples, while apples give another dog diarrhea. One dog might wolf down chunks of banana, while another dog gets itchy and has an allergic reaction to the fruit. 

Dogs need complete nutrition, and that means ensuring they have the right mix of the correct nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in their diet. It can be difficult to achieve that balance without outside help. If you're concerned about your dog's nutrition, Wismer recommends calling your veterinarian to talk over your concerns and get the right solution for your dog.