Human foods your dog should avoid
By Aleza Freeman, Pet Lifestyle Contributor
You share everything with your furry bestie. Car rides. Hikes. Long walks in the park. Maybe she even sleeps in your bed (and hogs all the covers). It seems only natural that your canine co-pilot would also want to share your meal.
While we generally think sharing is caring, that’s NOT always the case when it comes to food. Some human foods are healthy for dogs, but many others are not; and some foods that are healthy for you, are toxic foods for dogs.
What are some of the worst human foods to feed your dog?
Whether it’s an occasional table scrap, your home-cooked kibble recipe or remnants of a garbage bag left within pawing distance, it’s important to know what foods are going into your dog’s body. Some will pack on the pounds, while others are downright dangerous, possibly even deadly.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) reports that food was the third leading cause (10.9% of the cases) of pet poisoning in 2017.
According to research by the University of Milan in Italy, human foods that are poisonous to canines include:
- Chocolate and chocolate-based products
- Onions, garlic, leeks, chives
- Grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants
- Macadamia nuts
- Hops Unbaked bread dough
- Xylitol (a sugar substitute)
- Ethanol (alcohol)
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) also warns against feeding dogs sugary, salty or fatty foods as well as raw or undercooked meats and eggs.
Food doesn’t have to be poisonous in order to pose a danger, by the way. Those with pits and bones, for instance, may be a choking hazard or cause damage to the digestive tract.
If your dog ever ingests a poisonous or dangerous food, call the vet immediately. We suggest putting your vet and local emergency clinic on speed dial so you won’t panic about what to do if your dog eats something he shouldn’t.
Can my dog eat that?
The scientific reason dogs can’t eat everything humans do boils down to metabolism. Your dog’s body turns food into energy at a different rate than yours. As a result, there are many things you shouldn't feed your dog.
Sugar-free foods made with Xylitol, for instance, may cause a drop in blood sugar and liver failure. The use of this sugar alcohol has increased in recent years in products ranging from cookies and bread to candy and gum. So, while “Poochie Blows Her First Bubble” seems very #doglifegoals it is actually quite the opposite.
Ethanol or ethyl alcohol is found in alcoholic beverages, rotten apples and uncooked bread or dough, as well as non-food items like paint, perfume and antifreeze. Ingestion could lead to severe respiratory problems, lethargy, sedation, hypothermia and potentially death.
On the positive side, there are many human foods that are also good for your dog, including:
- Green beans
- Sweet Potatoes
- Apple (no seeds)
Here are some of the other common human foods you may be questioning:
Can dogs eat chocolate?
No. If you’re a chocolate-loving dog lover, you probably already knew to keep the sweet treat away from your dog, but do you know why? It turns out there’s a stimulant in chocolate called theobromine (from cocoa beans), which dogs metabolize much slower than humans. It may cause restlessness, urinary incontinence, vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, death.
Can dogs eat peanut butter?
Yes. Peanut butter is a vitamin and protein-packed treat. Just be sure to check the label to verify your PB is Xylitol free.
Can dogs eat garlic?
No. The thiosulfates in garlic–as well as other plants from the Allium family (onions, leeks and chives)–are toxic to dogs. Not only could they cause gastrointestinal problems, but they may lead to anemia as a result of red blood cell damage.
Can dogs eat macadamia nuts?
No. As few as six macadamia nuts are potentially toxic to dogs, according to The Merck Veterinary Manual. The reason why is unknown, but reports show that the nuts may cause weakness, vomiting, muscle tremors and hyperthermia.
Can dogs eat celery?
Yes, but be sure to cut it into bite-sized pieces first, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC),which calls celery a low fat, high fiber and refreshing treat that’s full of vitamins A, B and C.
Can dogs eat grapes?
No. There is an unknown substance in grapes (as well as raisins, sultanas and currants) that is toxic to dogs. Even small quantities could cause kidney failure.
Can dogs eat blueberries?
Yes. Blueberries are a food dogs can eat. Research suggests that blueberries are a source of antioxidants and may prevent exercise-induced oxidative damage in dogs.
Can dogs eat hops?
No. Used for beer brewing, the resins, essential oils, tannins and nitrogenous compounds in hops can be fatal to dogs, even with intensive treatment. Signs of ingestion include hyperthermia, anxiety, vomiting, abdominal pain, seizures and dark brown urine.
Can dogs eat brown rice?
Yes. Rice is often recommended to dogs with tummy issues because it is bland and easily digestible. Brown rice is lower in fat and higher in protein than white rice and is also safe for dogs.
Can dogs eat raw meat?
No. You may be wondering, “If they can’t eat raw meat, what do dogs eat in the wild?” Despite this carnivorous ancestry, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) warns against feeding dogs raw animal protein (including beef, poultry, pork, fish and eggs) due to the risk of pathogens such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Listeria.
Can dogs eat French fries?
No. A couple French fries here and there probably won’t cause severe damage, but these and many other snack foods, including potato chips and pretzels, are packed with salt. Too much salt could poison your dog and potentially be fatal. Also, recent research by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine shows that potatoes (as well as peas, lentils and other legumes) could damage a dog’s heart.
Keeping up with the canine connoisseur
Even though dogs love to eat human food, it isn’t always what’s best for their health. Once you know which human foods dogs can eat and which ones are unsafe, you can feel a little better about sharing.
But beware, falling prey to your dog’s relentless (and adorable) begging tactics is a slippery slope. It starts with a few table scraps, here or there, and before you know it, Fido the foodie is turning up his nose at his usual chow.
Who’s the top dog now?