Most of us dog owners love our furry friends too much that we tend to share our things with them, including the food that we eat. See those puppy dog eyes that silently scream “feed me!” every time you take a bite of your food? You can’t help but give in to that pitiful-looking, tongue-wagging, adorable stare your doggie throws at you while you’re eating, and you end up sharing a morsel or two with your pooch.
But lo and behold… you think that it’s okay to give your dog every table scrap. While sharing our food with dogs is one gesture of how much we love them, it doesn’t necessarily mean that every food that is okay for us humans is also fine for our furry friends to eat.
Some of the foods that are absolutely safe for us humans to eat can have severe adverse effects on our pet dogs. Certain foods (like some fruits, vegetables, nuts and nut products and other processed foods) are even fatal to dogs.
On the other hand, there are other foods that are absolutely okay for dogs to eat. In fact, certain human-safe foods are an excellent alternative to the processed doggie treats as they are naturally rich in nutrients and fiber, but are also less in calories and fats. Some foods do require a certain preparation though, in order to make them much safer for our pet dogs to eat.
1. Pasta — safe to eat
Remember the romantic spaghetti scene in the Disney animated movie Lady and the Tramp? It’s not just fiction, so it means your dog can eat spaghetti once in a while. Just make sure it is cooked and served plain — no sauce whatsoever — and you give it to your dog in moderate amounts.
2. Rice — safe to eat
Rice is also perfectly safe for your dog. Like pasta, rice should be given plain and cooked. White rice is loaded with carbohydrates and thus you should feed it to your dog in moderate amounts. Brown rice is a healthier option as it consists of whole grains. Try mixing some of them into your dog’s meal to give it some variety.
3. Meats and poultry — safe to eat
Dogs are considered omnivores. But they have retained their carnivore traits so it’s a little wonder that they are especially partial to meat — beef, pork, chicken, and turkey, to name a few. Make sure that they are free from seasonings and preservatives, and are cooked all the way through. Avoid feeding your dog with fatty meats, or meats that are old or spoiled. The ideal preparations for fresh meat and poultry include boiling (the best method to cook them), grinding, shredding and chopping them into bite-sized chunks.
4. Certain vegetables that are safe to eat
Dogs need vitamins and fiber too, so you can add certain vegetables to their diet. Some vegetables — like carrots, zucchini, lettuce, cucumber, corn (removed from the cob) and celery — can be eaten raw. Dogs will love the crunch of these raw veggies! Or you can steam some tougher vegetables and crops such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts (and moderate quantities), broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, and asparagus. Bell peppers are fine too, as long as the cores and seeds are removed. They can be eaten raw or can be made as a puree.
5. Certain fruits that are safe to eat
List down the following fruits:
- Apples (with the core and seeds removed — the seeds contain cyanide, which is toxic to dogs)
- Bananas (rich in potassium, fiber, and copper)
- Blueberries (rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals)
- Fruits of the melon family such as varieties of melon, cantaloupe, and watermelon (make sure the rinds and seeds are removed first)
- Cranberries (raw or dried)
- Mangoes (rich in vitamins A, B6, and E, and beta-carotene which prevents cancer cells from developing. Make sure you remove the mango’s large seed, as it can be a choking hazard).
- Oranges (peeled)
- Peaches (with the core and seeds removed)
- Pears (with the core and seeds removed)
- Pineapples (peeled; pineapples are rich bromelain, an enzyme which enables dogs to absorb proteins easier)
6. Certain nuts such that are safe to eat
- Peanuts – A peanut is actually a legume but usually classified under the “nut” category. Peanuts are excellent sources of protein, and it’s rare for dogs to experience violent allergic reactions to peanuts, unlike humans. Make sure the peanuts are shelled before they are eaten raw. They can also be roasted.
- Cashews – In its raw state though, cashews contain toxins which can be dangerous to dogs. But they can be eliminated through proper cooking and roasting.
- Hazelnuts – Hazelnuts are safe for dogs to eat. But if you own a small breed, these nuts may pose as a dangerous choking hazard.
7. Certain processed foods that are safe to eat
- Cheese – It’s very rare that dogs are lactose intolerant, but you still want to make sure that your dog certainly isn’t before giving him a cheesy treat. If you want to avoid certain cheeses that are rich in fat, go for low-fat kinds like mozzarella or cottage cheese.
- Peanut butter – Some commercial peanut butter is known to contain loads of sugars and preservatives. Among the most notorious is xylitol, a sweetener that can be poisonous to dogs. Make sure that the commercial peanut butters don’t contain xylitol. Or better yet, make unsalted peanut butter at home.
- Popcorn – Plain, unsalted and unbuttered popcorn make good doggie treats.
- Yogurt – They are an excellent source of calcium and protein. Plus, yogurt contains good bacteria, known as probiotics, which keep your dog’s digestive system healthy.
8. Fish — safe to eat
Everybody is aware that fish is a cat’s favorite, but did you also know that dogs can eat fish too? Fish are rich in amino acids. While certain fish like salmon are known to be fatty, not to worry because these are otherwise good fats. Not to mention that fish are packed with protein. Some fish like sardines have soft and crunchy bones that are easy to digest, adding calcium to your dog’s diet. Certain fish are quite bony though and thus can choke your dog, so make sure that they’re de-boned and cooked very thoroughly.
9. Shrimp — safe to eat
Shrimp is rich in vitamin B-12, phosphorus, and anti-oxidants. Plus, it is a low-fat, low-calorie treat for your pooch. Make sure that the shrimp is cooked well and its shell and tail are removed.
10. Certain kinds of edible seeds that are safe to eat
These include chia, hemp, pumpkin, quinoa, sesame, and sunflower.
1. Avocado — NOT safe to eat
While avocados are healthy for humans, they are otherwise unsafe for dogs. All parts of the fruit contain persin, a toxin which upsets your dog’s stomach and can cause related illnesses like diarrhea.
2. Chocolate and cocoa — NOT safe to eat
You may be tempted to give a piece of that chocolate bar to your dog, but hold it! Chocolate contains substances like theomobrine and methylxanthine, which are toxic to dogs. Even a small consumption of it can already cause diarrhea and vomiting; chocolate eaten in large amounts can kill your dog. So chocolate is absolutely a no-no.
3. Garlic — NOT safe to eat
Garlic is toxic not just to dogs, but also to cats as well. Garlic is a member of the Allium family which includes onions, chives, and leeks, which are all unsafe for dogs. However, garlic is five times as toxic as the rest of the Allium plants. It can cause anemia and gastroenteritis, resulting in general weakness, pale gums, elevated heart and respiratory rate, nausea, and vomiting, among all other symptoms. Garlic can be fatal when ingested in large quantities.
4. Certain nuts that are NOT safe to eat
- Almonds – Almonds themselves are not toxic. However, your dog may have difficulty in digesting it, which may cause distress to his intestines.
- Walnuts – Any varieties of walnuts are dangerous to your dog. They contain toxins called tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause seizures and can have adverse effects to your dog’s nervous system.
- Macadamia nuts – They cause a variety of symptoms that range from vomiting and neurological disorders. In fact, macadamia nuts are one of the most toxic foods for dogs, so you should never feed your pets with them.
- Pecans – By virtue of their size alone, pecans can cause choking or obstruction in the intestines.
- Pistachios – When eaten in large quantities, pistachios can upset your dog’s stomach or worse, lead to pancreatitis.
5. Grapes — NOT safe to eat
Their toxins can cause acute sudden kidney injury in dogs.
6. Fungi such as mushrooms — NOT safe to eat
Yes, including the ones edible to humans. These are toxic to dogs and they can even be fatal to them.