Dog food – what makes it good or bad for your dog?

Dog people almost always have doubts with regard to which dog food(s) are safe to be shared with dogs and what aren’t. We know how difficult it is to resist those hopeful doggie eyes that look at you while you eat your chocolate. Can a little treat be this harmful for your dog? What human foods are acceptable for use as dog food?

What makes a balanced dog food?

Just because a food is good for us doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe for dogs. Dog foods must give your pooch all the nutrients he needs for an active and healthy life. Depending on the size and activity level of your dog, he needs Protein, vegetable based diet that has a balance of fats and carbohydrates:

Small, low-activity dogs need only about 185 – 370 calories daily while Large pooch may need between 1,000 – 2,000 calories.


Dog food infographic
Human foods that dog can (and can’t) have. 

Foods that are good for your dog

  1. Peanut butter: Peanut butter contains heart-healthy fats, along with vitamin B  and vitamin E. (Please ensure that your brand of peanut butter doesn’t contain  xylitol.)
  2. Carrots: Bugs Bunny’s favorite food is good for your dog too! Carrots are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. Low in calories and high in fiber and vitamins, crunching on carrots is good for dogs.
  3. Yogurt: High in protein and calcium, plain yogurt that doesn’t contain added sugar or artificial an ideal treat for dogs, especially if your pooch suffers from digestion problems.
  4. Banana: Rich in potassium, fiber, and magnesium, Bananas have lots of pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), which helps metabolize proteins and regulates blood cell function so the blood can bring more oxygen to the brain and muscle.
  5. Oatmeal: A good source of fiber, Oatmeal is great for dogs with bowel irregularity issues, and it’s also safe for dogs with wheat allergies.
  6. Chicken: If your dog requires extra protein in his diet, cooked, unseasoned chicken is an easy addition to his regular food
  7. Broccoli: This power vegetable is vitamin-rich and can be a nice addition to your dog’s diet.
  8. Pumpkin: A good source of fiber or vitamin A, Pumpkin is easy to digest.
  9. Green beans: Nutritious and low in calories, fresh green beans with no added salt, are great for your dog’s dietary requirements as these are rich in iron and vitamins.
  10. Eggs: Rich in protein and easily digestible, scrambled eggs make for a healthy dog food.
  11. Rice: Brown rice (protein rich) and white rice (easier to digest) make for a healthy food for young and old dogs alike.
  12. Pineapple: Rich in both calcium and potassium, Pineapples make for a sweet snack for your dogs.
  13. Apple: Apples (minus the seeds) are a rich source of vitamins and also acts as the breath-freshener for your pooch.
  14. Sweet Potato: Potato is rich in antioxidants, copper, iron, potassium, fiber, and magnesium – all essential minerals that perform myriad functions in cells, from transporting oxygen to assisting in the assembly of proteins.

Foods that are bad for your dog

  1. Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine-like stimulants known as methylxanthines which may cause vomiting, kidney failure, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, seizures and even death to the dog. Dark chocolate are more toxic than milk chocolates, and these newer chocolates are even more so.
  2. Peaches and Plums: Peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to both humans and dogs.
  3. Raw Eggs and raw meat: This may result in food poisoning because of bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli.
  4. Grapes and raisins:Although these are healthy for humans, Grapes and raisins have been found recently to induce kidney failure in some animals. This failure can be permanent and life threatening.
  5. Onions and garlic: Onions and garlics can cause damage to a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia.
  6. Avocado: Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark contain a toxin called persin that can cause upset stomach and breathing difficulties.
  7. Alcohol: Alcohol has the same effect on a dog’s liver and brain that it has on humans. But it takes far less volume. Just a little can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, even death. And the smaller the dog, the greater the effect.
  8. Caffeine: Found in cocoa, chocolate, colas, and stimulant drinks such as Red Bull, caffeine poisoning in dogs may lead to heart palpitations, muscle tremors, fits, and bleeding.
  9. Candies and gums: Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods are sweetened with xylitol. When ingested in relatively small amounts, this sweetener can result in low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure and death.
  10. Popcorn: The high levels of fat and sodium in popcorn can lead to dehydration in the short term, and obesity in the long term.

Have doubts regarding a particular food item or wondering if your dog has allergy? Please consult your veterinarian at the earliest!

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Published by

Abhishek Joshi

The man who was Peter Pan — aka 'Dog With Blog'. Raconteur, Reader, Backpacker... If I were an element, I'd be radioactive.

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