The Big List of Human Foods That Are Safe for Dogs & Make Healthy Treats!
When you’re eating dinner or prepping a meal in the kitchen, your dog is probably a close companion. Sometimes food gets dropped, or you have extra of one ingredient. In both situations, you’ve probably wondered whether it’s safe for your pup to munch on a human food.
There are lots of people foods that are perfectly safe for dogs to eat—most in moderation. We’ve compiled a big list of things that shouldn’t make you worry if they fall off the counter. Or get snatched by a mischievous dog!
Vet Tip: It’s fun to share food with your dog, but if you don’t want to encourage begging, be mindful of how you deliver it. Putting it in his food bowl encourages him to look for food where it belongs instead of under your feet while you cook or eat.
A Key to Nutrients
Under each food in our list, you’ll see the nutrients it provides. Here’s a key to help you understand how each benefits your pup:
Antioxidants – Protects your dog’s body from damage caused by free radicals (molecules that can harm enzymes, DNA, and cell membranes). There is research to suggest antioxidants can improve age-related issues in older dogs. Examples of antioxidants include vitamins E and C.
Calcium – Supports teeth and bone health and helps blood clot
Fiber – Maintains a healthy gut microbiome and helps food move through the digestive tract
Lauric Acid – Helps fight bacteria and viruses; freshens breath; and clears up skin conditions like flea allergies, itchy skin, and hot spots
Magnesium – Helps contract and relax muscles and regenerate them. It’s also an important part of a properly functioning liver, heart, and digestive tract.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Keep the coat shiny and healthy and support the immune system
Phosphorus – Ensures healthy kidney function and helps with muscle contractions
Probiotics – Improve coat appearance and bad breath, reduce gas and allergies, and regulate bowel movements
Protein – Helps repair and build tissue and muscles and contributes to healthy hair and skin
Selenium – Helps the thyroid function properly
Vitamin A – Aids fetal development and the function of cells and the immune system
Vitamin B – Maintains the digestive system and promotes healthy blood circulation
Dairy is generally fine for a dog unless he’s lactose intolerant. How will you know? He will vomit and/or have diarrhea after he eats a dairy product. Even if he doesn’t exhibit these symptoms, only let your dog eat dairy in small quantities. Dogs have low levels of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down the sugars in milk. To avoid too much fat in his diet, stick to low- or reduced-fat dairy.
- Cottage cheese
- Plain yogurt
- Probiotics (in yogurt with active bacteria)
Unseasoned, cooked meats are great for your dog! Trim off the fat and limit portions sizes to avoid too much of it in your dog’s diet. Fat is hard for dogs to digest and can cause pancreatitis and inflammation. Also beware of meat with high salt content, like bacon and processed ham, and remove all bones.
Several varieties of seafood are tasty and safe for dogs. Be sure the fish is fully cooked to avoid feeding your pup parasites.
You can deliver the benefits of food via salmon oil or cooked fish skins mixed in with his regular food.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B (in shrimp)
Lots of fruits are safe human foods for dogs. They are full of vitamins A, B, and C, along with other nutrients. Fruit can be high in sugar, so make it a special treat for your dog, and be sure to remove the core and seeds to prevent choking.
- Watermelon – Chewing on the rind can cause an upset stomach, so toss that part in the trash.
- Pumpkin – Read our blog post on how to get pumpkin into your dog in fun, new ways here.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin C
- High water content
Vet Tip: Apple skins can help clean residue off your dog’s teeth, freshening his breath!
Some grains, like oatmeal, are excellent sources of soluble fiber, which can keep your dog regular. Others, like bread, are safe for your dog to eat but don’t provide nutritional value. Bread is also full of calories and carbohydrates, which are best kept to a minimum in your dog’s diet.
- Cooked oatmeal – Don’t add sugar or any other flavoring.
Some nuts are safe foods for dogs, but almost all are high in fat, so they should be given in moderation.
- Coconut – Dogs can eat the raw coconut fruit (outside the shell), coconut oil, and coconut milk.
- Lauric acid
Other Delicious Things
There are many other people foods that are both safe and delicious for dogs! Here are the benefits of a few of the most common:
Scrambled eggs are a quick, easy way to deliver nutrients to your pup, like:
- Vitamin B
Honey is okay for dogs to eat, but it can also be applied topically to help ease burns and superficial cuts!
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C (and D, E, and K!)
Peanut butter is really nutritious for dogs, and it’s fun too! Put it in a Kong, let your dog lick the spoon, or use it to deliver medicine. Aim for raw, unsalted peanut butter, and never give your dog the sugar-free version. It contains xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin E
- Heart-healthy fats
When you’re putting a bowl into the microwave for movie night, it can be tempting to slip your pup a piece. That’s okay if the popcorn is unsalted and doesn’t have added sugar or salt. Make sure there are no rogue un-popped kernels; they can be choking hazards.
Feeding your dog new foods can be fun! It’s interesting to learn what they like and what they don’t. And many of these make healthy meal replacements if you’ve run out of dog food. In almost all cases, your dog’s regular, commercial dog food gives him all the vitamins and minerals he needs, so supplementing with human food isn’t necessary. If you have questions about nutrient deficiencies or you’re wondering if a food above is okay for your dog, ask one of our vets or vet techs at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital. We’re always here to help!
The Team @ Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital
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