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Which Foods Are Safe for Dogs

which foods are safe for dogs
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash
Reading Time: 5 minutes

For many pet owners, dogs and cats are part of the family. As a result, you might feed them the occasional morsel of “people food.” After all, a bite of your dinner here, and there isn’t going to hurt them, right? Unfortunately, if you aren’t aware of which foods are safe for dogs and which foods could be dangerous, you might find yourself making an emergency trip to the veterinarian’s office. This is why, it is important to know the foods you can safely share with your furry friends

In general, limiting your pet’s intake of human food is a good rule of thumb unless you’re cooking it specifically for them with healthy, useful ingredients. But, if you want to share a bit of whatever is on your plate with your furry friend, it’s important to know what’s safe, what’s not, and how different foods can affect them. 

Which Foods Are Safe for Dogs? 

When considering giving human foods to your dog, your priority should consider what is healthy for them. Dogs will likely enjoy the taste of many things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will provide any nutritional value. So, some of the best foods for dogs that pack a nutritional punch include: 

  • Pumpkin – aids in digestion
  • Green beans – high in fiber
  • Cooked lean meat – a good source of protein
  • Carrots – a good source of fiber and vitamins

It’s common for people to think that any fruits or vegetables will be good for their dogs, too, but that isn’t always the case. The best fruits for dogs are cantaloupe, apples, blueberries, and watermelon. Bananas are also great as they provide a healthy potassium source, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and fiber. Just try to avoid giving your dog too much, and don’t let them eat the peels as they can be hard on the digestive system

Some people actually make special, homemade food for their dogs, and many veterinarians advocate for it. When you make your dog’s food instead of purchasing it, you’re in complete control of the ingredients. So, you know your dog is getting the nutrients it needs. There are many different recipes, but the best homemade dog food should include many low-calorie vegetables, a whole grain like brown rice, and lean, healthy protein options. Making your dog’s food is a fantastic way to feed them like family without having to give them table scraps. 

Should Cats Have “Human Food”? 

Many of the foods that are safe for dogs are also fine for cats to eat. Your cat may not be as interested in whatever is on your plate as your dog is, but they can still enjoy a few healthy snacks once in a while. 

Like dogs, cats are meat-eaters. Giving them small amounts of cooked beef, chicken, turkey, and fish will boost the protein they need for strong heart health. 

Cats can also benefit from: 

  • Whole grains like brown rice and millet
  • Cooked eggs
  • Cheese
  • Certain vegetables

It’s important to pay attention to how your cat reacts to certain foods and how those foods could be affecting their health. For example, senior pets tend to have special dietary needs, and it’s easier for them to gain weight thanks to a slower metabolism. A food your cat may have once enjoyed, like cheese, could cause digestive issues as they get older and may contribute to weight gain. 

Which Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets

Now that we’ve talked about some of the safe and healthy foods for your furry friends, which ones should you avoid? Foods that are considered healthy for humans aren’t always beneficial for animals. Some of them can even be poisonous and cause serious health issues. 

Some of the worst foods you can feed your pet include: 

  • Avocado – While this is a healthy fat that many people enjoy as guacamole or even on their toast, it can be toxic to pets. Avocado contains something called persin, and it’s not uncommon for dogs to be allergic. If they eat some of the fruit or even the plant leaves, it could cause vomiting or diarrhea.

  • Onions and garlic – Even in small amounts, these vegetables can cause anemia in your dogs and lead to breathing problems.

  • Coffee – Any type of caffeine can be fatal for your dog, which is why it’s just as dangerous to give them tea or chocolate.

  • Grapes – While grapes might seem like a perfect portable snack for people, they can cause kidney failure in dogs. Even just a few grapes could cause vomiting. 

With the rise of the CBD industry, some people also wonder if CBD products are okay for pets. The answer is a resounding: yes and no

Cannabis can be extremely harmful to your pet, causing issues like a lack of balance, low blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms. However, these issues usually only arise in cannabis with THC still included. CBD is different, as there is no THC. In fact, some companies even make CBD supplements and treat them specifically for dogs. It’s best to talk to your veterinarian before giving anything containing CBD to your pet to ensure it’s safe for consumption. 

While it’s okay to let your pet indulge in your own favorite foods once in a while, make sure you know which ones can be beneficial and which ones could be doing your furry friend more harm than good. You may even find that some human foods are better for your pup than store-bought ones.

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Written by Adrian Johansen

Adrian Johansen is a writer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves sharing information with others, learning along the way!

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