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Can Dogs Eat Human Food: A Complete Guide
Many people feed their dogs common household food items. However, it can either be healthy or extremely toxic for them. Therefore, it is essential to track what you feed your canines. In the following sections, we will discuss whether or not can dogs eat human food. If you are a dog owner, keep reading to find what dog food should and should not contain.
Which Human Food Is Good for Dogs?
It is fine to share your food with your dogs, but it is essential to know which of them is good for their health. Here are some regular food items that you can share with your dogs.
- Yoghurt: Plain yoghurt is a good snack for dogs. Avoid any yoghurt with artificial flavours and added sugar. Some dogs have difficulty digesting dairy products. So, if you know that your dogs can digest yoghurt, it is healthy for them. The active bacteria in yoghurt contain probiotic elements that help strengthen their digestive system.
- Grains: Grains like wheat or corn are good sources of protein. These also contain essential fatty acids and fibre. Whenever you try a new food item, make sure to check if your dogs are developing any allergies. You can consult your veterinarian to know which grains dogs can eat. Even though some feel like having a grain-free diet for their dogs is beneficial, it may not be necessary.
- Turkey: Another food that is good for dogs is turkey. However, when you give them turkey, ensure removing the skin and excess fatty regions. In addition, check for bones before feeding your dogs. These bones can cause splinter or blockage, it might also tear their intestines. So, when you feed them turkey, do not use raw meat or cook with excessive salt or garlic.
- Pork: Pork is one of the highly digestible proteins and it is good for your dogs’ health. It contains amino acids and more calories (per pound) than any other meat. As per sources, pork is less likely to cause any kind of allergic reaction than any other form of protein.
- Ham: If you compare which human food is good for dogs, ham is surely one of them, but it may not be the healthiest. Ham is higher in sodium levels and fats. It is better to share a small piece and make sure this is occasionally done.
- Eggs: Fully cooked eggs are good for your dogs. These are a wholesome food and a high source of protein. If your dog is having a stomach upset, you can add eggs to its diet. Raw egg whites can lead to a deficiency of biotin. So be sure to cook your eggs perfectly before feeding them to your dogs.
- Tuna: You can feed tuna to your dogs but in moderate portions. Fresh tuna is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and it is good for the heart and eyes. If you do not find fresh tuna, it is better to look for other sources of omega-3 fatty acids than feeding canned tuna.
- Shrimp: Shrimp is another good food for your dogs. You just have to remember to clean it thoroughly before cooking. Moreover, you must avoid adding any kind of seasoning and it should be boneless as well. You can give shrimp to your dogs not more than twice a week.
- Salmon: Salmon is also a good source of vitamins and proteins. They have a very soft texture and digestible bones. You must always feed your dogs with properly cooked fish. Uncooked fish may cause certain digestive problems.
- Quinoa: You will find quinoa as a major ingredient in some dry dog foods. It is very healthy and rich in nutritional value. Quinoa is also a good alternative to corn, wheat and soy.
- Popcorn: Popcorn is a good light snack for your dogs. However, you must remember their share of popcorn must not contain any butter or salt. In addition, you should also give this in moderation. Popcorn contains riboflavin and thiamine, which is good for their eyes and digestion. It also has iron and protein in smaller quantities. Be very sure to feed completely popped kernels; otherwise, it may cause choking.
- Peanuts: Peanuts are such food that is good for dogs. These are also good sources of healthy fats and protein for your dogs. Give them peanuts occasionally and in moderate amounts as you do not want them to gain unnecessary fats. Too much fat accumulation can also lead to pancreas issues. While feeding them with peanuts, be sure that they are not salted, as salt is hard for them.
- Cashews: You can give a few cashews to your dog. As they contain magnesium, antioxidants, and proteins. Although cashews have a high-fat content, eating too many of them can cause weight gain. Again, keep in mind to treat them with unsalted cashews.
- Peanut Butter: Another healthy treat option for dogs is peanut butter. It contains healthy fats for heart health, niacin and vitamins B and E. If you do not find raw and unsalted peanut butter, make your own at home. Store-bought peanut butter can be extremely toxic to dogs.
- Coconut: Coconuts are higher in lauric acid, which helps fight bacteria and viruses. Additional benefits of giving coconuts to dogs are; it improves their breath and clears up skin conditions. Other coconut products are safe for dogs as well.
- Milk: You can give milk to your dogs, but you should be careful to know whether they are lactose intolerant. In case you notice that your pet is unable to digest milk, do not force-feed them. Find some other sources of calcium to add to their diet.
- Honey: Honey is very rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and copper. You may give small quantities of honey to your dogs this will introduce their immunity to pollens and help build stronger immunity. Another use of honey is to treat topical burns and cuts.
- Cheese: If your dog can consume milk without any problem, it can consume cheese as well. Nonetheless, the quantity is essential to monitor. Since cheese is high in fat, feed your dogs low-fat cheese like cottage cheese or mozzarella.
- Bread: Giving your dogs small amounts of bread without any additional flavour is okay for them. Bread does not have any health benefits, it is just packed with carbohydrates and calories. To avoid unnecessary preservatives in store-bought bread, you can bake your bread.
- Fruits: Fruits like apples, oranges, blueberries, bananas, mangos, peaches, etc. are good and yummy treats for dogs. Since fruits are higher in antioxidants, fibres, phytochemicals and vitamin C it is great for a pup’s health.
Which Food Items Are Toxic for Your Dog?
Though some food items that we humans eat daily are good for dogs as well, other food items may have toxic reactions. The list below highlights such food items that are toxic for your dogs.
- Almonds, Macadamia Nuts or Pistachios: Generally, nuts tend to choke your dog, this is why you should avoid feeding your dog pistachios, etc. Moreover, as per some reports, Macadamia nuts can cause painful conditions in dogs. It can even turn poisonous as well.
- Chocolate: You must have heard that dogs should not eat chocolates. It is extremely toxic and can cause pet poisoning. Chocolate contains theobromine, a lethal component that can harm your dog’s health. In addition, chocolate contains caffeine and xylitol both of which are toxic for a dog. If you notice your pet is hyperactive, vomiting, having diarrhoea, or having abnormal heart rhythm, take your dog to a vet immediately.
- Nutmeg: Nutmeg can cause hallucinations in dogs and severe vomiting. Myristicin is a compound that affects your dog’s health if consumed in a larger quantity. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, consult your vet as soon as possible if your dog encounters even a small quantity of nutmeg.
- Garlic: Whether dried, powdered or raw, your dogs must not eat garlic. The natural components of garlic can damage the red blood cells which eventually leads to anaemia. If mistakenly your dog eats garlic, it can show signs like weakness, vomiting, and difficulty in breathing.
- Salt: Too much salt in a dog’s system causes tremors, seizures, or coma in some cases. Whatever you cook for them must not contain any traces of salt. Even if they beg for some chips or anything salty, do not allow them.
- Spicy Food: As we talked about in the above sections, even a tiny bit of salt can harm your dog. The same applies to all kinds of spices. Hot and spicy food can cause vomiting, stomach ulcers, and diarrhoea.
- Ice-Cream: Not all dogs can digest milk or milk products. So, if your pup is lactose intolerant, it is better to avoid ice cream. Moreover, ice cream contains high sugar and synthetic fats, which are extremely toxic for your dog. Instead of ice cream, give them frozen fruits as treats during the hot days.
- Apple, Plum or Cherry Seeds: Fruits like apples, plums or cherries are good for dogs, but make sure to remove their core and seeds. This is mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, apple seeds and apricot or plum pits contain cyanide. Secondly, your dogs can choke even on the smallest seeds. If they mistakenly consume any such seeds or pits, they may show signs of vomiting, irregular heartbeats, etc.
- Avocado: People do not understand that anything healthy for humans may not be good for their pups. One such example is avocado. It contains persin that may act as a poison for dogs. Consumption of avocados by dogs can also trigger fluid congestion in their lungs, leading to difficulty in breathing and sometimes even death.
- Broccoli: Vegetables like broccoli contain isothiocyanates, which can trigger harmful reactions when your dogs eat them in large quantities. Occasionally you can feed broccoli in fewer quantities. However, it is better to avoid them.
- Coffee Grounds: Coffee contains methylxanthines, which can cause severe diarrhoea. Furthermore, it can lead to vomiting, seizures and irregular heartbeat. If your dog eats coffee grounds or any drink that contains caffeine, the immediate reaction would be a more rapid heart rate. Other signs of health problems would be tremors, arrhythmias, difficulty breathing, etc.
- Fatty Cuts of Meat: Some may feed their dogs fatty meat cuts; this is a very unhealthy practice. Throwing away such pieces of meat to your pet causes higher fat consumption. This can eventually lead to pancreatitis, obstruct bowel movements, damage to intestines, and other complicated diseases.
- Grapes or Raisins: It has been observed that grapes and raisins cause kidney failures in canines. Even if they eat a few, it may harm their digestive system. Symptoms of poisoning from grapes and raisins are loss of appetite, not urinating, vomiting, diarrhoea, etc.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms contain numerous toxins which humans may digest but their pets may not. To be on the safe side, it is advised to avoid mushrooms. These may cause kidney or liver failure, severe vomiting, hallucination, damage to red blood cells, etc.
- Candy (Xylitol): Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in foods like candy, sugar-free gums, etc. If you feed any food item that contains xylitol, it can lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar in your dogs, causing weakness and seizures. The amount of xylitol in just a few pieces of candy or gum has the potential to kill a 65-pound dog.
- Tomatoes and Raw Potatoes: Vegetables like tomatoes and potatoes are safe in one form and harmful in another. While a perfectly ripe tomato is good for dogs, the raw green portions are not. The same goes for potatoes, you can feed your dog boiled or cooked potatoes but not raw ones.
- Onions: Consuming onions in any form is harmful to dogs. It can cause similar symptoms that may appear after eating garlic. Eating a huge amount of onions can cause signs like weakness, difficulty in breathing and vomiting. Henceforth, make sure to avoid any amount of onions in your dog’s food.
- Raw Meat: Always feed your dog cooked meat. Raw meat possibly contains Salmonella or E. coli, which are extremely harmful to dogs. Feeding raw meat also has increased the chances of choking on the bones.
- Yeast & Raw Dough: Yeast or raw dough is unsafe for dogs. Raw dough before baking needs time to expand. So, if your dog eats it raw, the same will happen in its stomach. This will cause severe pain and may rupture their stomach lining. Moreover, the yeast and sugar in the dough can ferment inside their system and lead to alcohol toxicity.
- Tobacco: Exposure to nicotine or nicotine-containing products can cause harmful symptoms in your dog. For example, rapid or laboured breathing, agitation, weak muscles, seizures, tremors, irregular blood pressure, etc. Frequent exposure to tobacco can lead to fatal conditions like coma or death.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Toxic Food?
Dogs can accidentally eat food items which may not be healthy for them. However, the toxicity varies depending on what food they have ingested. So, it is better to be aware of the signs to look for if your dog eats toxic food.
- Some common signs are:
- Lack of coordination
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Drinking more than usual
- Once you notice these symptoms in your dog, take the following actions:
- Put your dog away from the toxin, and put him in a safe space.
- Call a vet as soon as possible.
- Do not induce vomiting unless the vet advises you to do so.
Therefore, the bottom line is that it is better to focus on the question of whether dogs can eat human food or not and not compare it with its reaction to humans. This is because food items that are healthy and easy to digest for us may not be the same for your pets.