Dogs should always get most of their daily nutritional requirement from a balanced, quality commercial pet food. However, many dogs also enjoy the occasional treat; providing it’s the right sort of treat, it’s fine to supplement their diet with small quantities of some ‘human’ foods.
It’s natural as a dog owner to offer our canine companion the leftovers of our meal or to provide them with human food as a treat, but how do we know whether our dog can or can’t eat these type of foods? We’ve created a guide to help you understand what a dog can eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Can dogs eat fruit?
Dogs can eat small amounts of fruit, fed as a treat. If you’re giving your dog fruit, it is important that you don’t feed them the core and pips. The core can be a choking hazard, whereas fruit pips contain cyanide which if fed over time can build up in your pet’s system and make them feel unwell.
There is a range of fruits that dogs can eat, which includes:
- Banana – only the flesh
- Apple – seeds and core removed
- Peach – be careful to remove the stone and cut up the flesh into digestible pieces
- Melon – seeds removed
- Pears – seeds and core removed
- Mangos – skin and flesh
Although fruit contains vitamin C; dogs’ bodies produce this naturally so they don’t need to supplement it within their diet. Fruit should also be fed in moderation as it contains natural sugar. In addition, fruits high in vitamin C like oranges are safe for dogs to eat, but not the peel, as this is toxic to dogs (and cats).
Can dogs eat grapes?
Although the cause is unknown, grapes and raisins are particularly bad for dogs as they are toxic to their system. If your pet has eaten raisins or grapes they can become unwell, showing signs of vomiting and diarrhoea; eating large amounts can cause severe complications and lead to renal (kidney) failure.
In particular, at Christmas time, dogs are more likely to be around food like Christmas cake and fruit loaf, which contains dried fruit. Be careful to ensure this kind of food is kept out of reach and guests do not feed your pet with their leftovers.
Can dogs eat vegetables?
There is a variety of vegetables which are safe for dogs to eat, including:
- Fresh green beans
- Sweetcorn – removed from the cob
- Cucumber – in small portions
- Celery – in small portions, with the leaves removed
Any of the above vegetables are a safe source of food that dogs can eat as an alternative treat. If you’re supplementing your dog’s diet with human food, it’s best to remember that treats should form no more than 10% of their daily calories.
Can dogs eat onions?
There are several vegetables that can make dogs very unwell. Dogs cannot eat onions and any other vegetables in the onion family, such as garlic, chives, shallots and leeks. Even in small doses, all of these vegetables are toxic and should be avoided. Onion toxicity is not uncommon and is often found in many meals including ready meals.
Can dogs eat mushrooms?
Dogs can’t eat mushrooms, as they are highly toxic and can upset their digestive system, which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea. If a high amount has been ingested, severe cases can include damage to the red blood cells, causing anaemia.
Can dogs eat eggs?
Eggs are good for dogs as they are an excellent source of protein. Make sure to cook the eggs properly as feeding your dogs raw eggs can put them at risk of contracting salmonella poisoning or e coli. Feed your dogs eggs in moderation as they have high-fat content and can lead to weight gain.
Can dogs drink milk?
It is best to avoid giving your dogs milk as they don’t produce enough lactase, which is required to digest the lactose in milk. Signs of your dog being intolerant to milk include gas, bloating and loose stools.
Can dogs eat chocolate?
Not only should dogs avoid eating chocolate because it contains milk, but chocolate also contains theobromine, a highly toxic ingredient which is found in cocoa. Dark chocolate is highly concentrated in cocoa, therefore just a small amount is extremely harmful to dogs.
If ingested, chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, and in severe circumstances, liver failure. While milk and white chocolate contain less cocoa, you should avoid feeding this to your dog as it can make them very unwell.
If your dog has digested chocolate, they may show the following signs:
- Increased rate of breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Heightened temperature
- Muscle rigidity
Please get in touch with your vet immediately if your pet is showing any of these symptoms.
Can dogs eat cheese?
Since dogs are not able to easily digest milk, it’s recommended to not feed them cheese. Blue cheese is particularly dangerous as it contains roquefortine C, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea. If the case gets worse, your dog may experience tremors, seizures and a high temperature. Visit the vet immediately if you think your dog has eaten blue cheese. Cheese boards are popular at Christmas time so be careful to keep this out of reach from your dog who may be tempted to give it a try.
Can dogs eat bread?
You should never feed your dog raw dough, as the yeast can cause digestive issues including bloat and their intestines to become blocked.
Can dogs eat rice?
As omnivores, dogs can eat both plant and animal-based foods. Brown rice is a fantastic option, as it’s an easily digestible carbohydrate. Rice is a great simple carbohydrate to feed dogs if they’re feeling unwell, as it’s less likely to upset their system and allow time for them to recover. Pasta is also a healthy alternative to rice.
Can dogs eat nuts?
Some nuts are toxic to dogs so you need to be sure what you are giving them is safe. Xylitol free peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat as a treat and can be used with their chew toys to entice them. However, macadamia nuts are harmful to dogs and if digested can cause vomiting, weakness, and hyperthermia.
Can dogs eat raw meat?
If you’re considering feeding your dogs fresh meat, always cook it through thoroughly. Dogs should not eat raw meat as, similarly to eggs, raw meat poses a risk to contracting salmonella poisoning and contracting e coli. Dogs can eat meat as long as it’s handled carefully, and any fat has been removed.
Have you found any dietary surprises within our dog food list? If you would like more information on what dogs can eat, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your nearest Animal Trust clinic. All our consultations are free, so if you are unsure what you should be feeding your dog, you can speak to our experienced team knowing it won’t cost you a penny.
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