25+ Human food for dogs – safe or not?

Dog people almost always have doubts with regard to human food for dogs – is it safe to be shared with dogs or not? 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 particular food item 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 a 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.

human food for dogs infographic
Human foods that dogs can (and can’t) have.

Can dogs eat coconut?

Coconuts contain dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants – hence a great food for your dog. Coconut water is also a great way to hydrate your dog and replenish lost electrolytes.

Human food for dogs – what’s safe for your dog

While these are safe foods, it is advised to start with a moderate amount of the “human food” to ensure your dog can digest it. 

  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. Yoghurt: High in protein and calcium, plain yoghurt that doesn’t contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners.is an ideal treat for dogs, especially if your pooch suffers from digestion problems.
  4. Banana: Rich in potassium, fibre, 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 fibre, 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 fibre 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 healthy dog food. (Just ensure not to give your dog raw eggs)
  11. Rice: Brown rice (protein-rich) and white rice (easier to digest) make for 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.

Can dogs eat corn?

While dogs can indeed consume corn, it’s worth noting that in some dog foods, it’s primarily used as a filler. This means it’s added to increase the volume of the food, sometimes at the expense of higher-nutrient alternatives.

However, it’s important to understand that having corn as an ingredient isn’t necessarily a negative aspect of a dog’s diet. In fact, it does offer benefits, notably in the form of dietary fiber which supports digestive health.

Why Tamarinds are a No-Go for Dogs

These tangy fruits, popular in candies and Asian cuisine, contain tartaric acid. This same acid, found in higher concentrations in grapes and raisins, can have nephrotoxic effects in dogs, potentially leading to acute kidney injury. The exact amount of tamarind that might be toxic varies, but why take the risk?

  • Tartaric Acid Threat: As mentioned, the presence of tartaric acid poses a potential danger to canine kidneys.
  • Choking Hazard: The hard seeds present a choking risk for our playful pups.

Can dogs eat papaya?

Rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E,  minerals and enzymes – papayas make for great human as well as dog food. They aid with digestion. Just ensure to remove the seeds, and giving your dog rationed portions. Papaya is a nutritious treat for dogs that contains high levels of antioxidants. 

Is curd rice good for dogs?

Ensuring your growing puppy gets the right nutrition is crucial for their development. Relying solely on curd rice won’t provide the balanced diet they need, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies. Likewise, offering milk with roti is not advisable, as dogs often have difficulty digesting milk. It’s important to remember that substituting human foods for specially formulated puppy food can have serious repercussions on your pet’s health and development. The only circumstance where this might be considered is if you consult a Veterinary Nutritionist to create a tailored diet plan for your puppy.

Why do dogs eat grass?

Dogs often eat grass when their stomach is upset. The grass helps induce vomiting in order to expel whatever might be bothering your dog. You should be watchful that the grass he is consuming isn’t having pesticides or harmful chemicals. Chewing grass can also expose dogs to intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms left by animal feces.

Human food that is not safe for dogs

  1. Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine-like stimulants known as methylxanthines which may cause vomiting, kidney failure, diarrhoea, irregular heartbeat, seizures and even death to the dog. Dark chocolate is 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 garlic can cause damage to a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anaemia.
  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, diarrhoea, 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.

Can dogs eat Chikoo? 

The skin of Chikoo fruit (sapodilla) can potentially lead to digestive issues, and the seeds contain cyanide, which is harmful for dogs.  Always remove the skin and seeds before offering this fruit to your canine companion. As with any new food, moderation is key. If you have any concerns or notice any adverse reactions, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Homemade chicken rice recipe

Ingredients: 2-3 cups rice, chicken, frozen peas and carrots or sweet potato/pumpkin.

Make the rice, once the water is soaked put in the peas, carrots, and sweet potato/pumpkin and mix well. As the rice is simmering, cook the chicken – preferably sautéed in a pan with coconut oil which is good for your dog’s skin. Mix them well and you’ve a healthy preparation for your dog all within 20 minutes tops!

When selecting pet food, there’s a wide range of options and confusing marketing terms like “human grade” and “whole food.” But, beware: many brands prioritise advertising over scientific research. For the best decision, rely on advice from a veterinarian, nutritional studies, feeding trials, and data rather than e-comm ads and Instagram promotions.
Have doubts regarding a particular food item or wondering if your dog has an allergy? Please consult your veterinarian at the earliest!

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