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What Can Dogs Eat? 55 Human Foods You Can Safely Feed To Your Dog

Wondering what human food can dogs eat? Here are 35 human foods you can safely feed to your dog.
pug dog chewing bone

My name is Corey and I’m a licensed vet. One of the most common questions I get ask is “can I feed me dog X?”.

So I decided to make this definitive list of human foods that are okay to feed to dogs. Just remember never to overfeed your dog.

Dogs and humans have been sharing food for thousands of years. As time went by, this made dogs better than wolven cousins at digesting human food. [1, 2, 3]

It is a lot of fun introducing your dog to new flavors, but keep in mind that humans and dogs still remain metabolically different.

Check out this list of 55 food items that are safe for your dog and add some flair to their diet.

The vegetable drawer

veggies dog can eat

Most vegetables are a great low calorie, high fiber snack that is rich in vitamins and minerals. If you are feeding them raw, make sure to wash them thoroughly.

Not every vegetable is harmless, but here are some you can feed your dog:

Cucumber

Cucumbers are an easy low-calorie treat for dogs with weight issues.

Cucumbers help your dog stay hydrated and healthy since they are full of water and mineral ions, particularly potassium, magnesium and manganese- great for a hot summer’s day!

Cucumbers also have a number of antioxidants that help your dog deal with inflammation, which is particularly beneficial in old dogs. They are also rich in vitamin K which helps with bone health and wound repair. [4, 5]

Celery

Celery, as with most veggies, is low in calories and fat, but high in water and minerals: perfect for keeping your dog hydrated while keeping the pounds off.

Celery is rich in vitamin K, vitamin A and its precursors, B vitamins, and also has a significant amount of vitamin C. It also contains quite a bit of potassium, manganese and copper.

All essential to keep your dog in tip top shape. [6, 7, 8]

Tomatoes

Tomatoes, both raw and cooked, are good for dogs as long as they are ripe.

Tomatine is an anti-nutritional factor found in the stem and leaves of the plant, and in small amounts in unripe (green) tomatoes – garden nibblers beware!

While tomatoes are high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and lycopene, which are good for your dog, they are acidic so feeding a lot of them will upset your dog’s stomach. [9, 10]

Winter squashes

Winter squashes (ex. butternut, pumpkin) are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a good treat for heavier dogs.

They are often fed to dogs to help them with their loose stools. These gourds are brimming with vitamin A and carotenoids, specifically beta carotene (a precursor of vitamin A).

They are also rich in vitamin C, manganese, magnesium and potassium. Their seeds, while very nutritious, are best given in tiny amounts as they can cause blockages. [11, 12]

Zucchini

Zucchini are a summer squash variety that are good for your dog. [13]

They are rich in vitamin C, B vitamins (particularly vitamin B6 and B2), manganese, potassium and a host of other minerals. Zucchini are also particularly low in antinutritive factors making them a very safe treat for your dog. [14]

Cabbage

Cabbage is a fat- and protein-rich plant source that is brimming with vitamins, minerals, and a number of phytochemicals.

These phytochemicals make this type of plant particularly good as a source of antioxidants that help protect your dog against tumors and cardiovascular diseases.

Being rich in sugars, the cabbage is quite tasty, however some dogs find it to be an acquired taste. [15]

Broccoli*

Broccoli is safe for dogs to eat in small amounts. It is rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

It is a nice treat to give to dogs older than 6 months as it will benefit their bone development. It is also rich in fibre which will benefit their digestive system. [16]

Cauliflower*

Cauliflower is low in carbohydrates and a good source of fiber. It is a very rich source of vitamin C and vitamin K and a good source of B vitamins and minerals.

As far as leafy greens go it is a good source of protein with a good amino acid profile. [17]

*Cabbage and Broccoli are part of the Brassicaceae plant family. This family includes mustard, cauliflower, turnips and rapeseed. This family is high in glucosinolates which is a precursor to other molecules that impair thyroid, liver and kidney function and irritate the gastrointestinal tract. These food items can be healthy for your dog when given occasionally in moderate amounts. [18, 19] This family of plants is also rich in sulfur which can cause flatulence in dogs so feed at your own peril. [20]

The fruit basket

Fruits are a tasty treat for your dog. Whole fruits are sweet without being loaded with refined sugars and are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates.

This allows for the slower absorption and metabolisation of these carbohydrates resulting in a steadier level of blood sugar.

However, moderation should be exercised especially with diabetic dogs.

fruits dog can eat

Apple

Apples are rich in fiber and are a good source of vitamin C, iron and antioxidants. Their firm consistency is also good for keeping your dog’s teeth clean, preventing gum disease and bad breath.

Plus, who doesn’t love the sound of a dog crunching on a nice crispy apple? They are also a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants. [21]

When feeding apples to your dog, make sure to remove the seeds and stem. Seeds contain cyanide precursors that can be toxic to dogs. [22]

Peach

Peaches are comparatively rich in vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C. They are also rich in potassium. [23]

They are, however, one of the more sugary fruits that you could give your dog and it is therefore suggested to feed in moderation.

You should also keep in mind that under its fuzzy outside and tasty pulp lies the pit that could be a choking hazard and, like apple seeds, contains cyanide precursors.

Cherries

Like with peaches, care should be taken to remove the stem and pit in cherries before feeding to your dog. They could lead to choking, intestinal blockage and toxicity.

Cherries are sweet and tasty and a good source of vitamin C. They also contain reasonable amounts of other vitamins and minerals as a healthy alternative to dog treats. [24]

Melon

Melon is a sweet delicacy that you and your dog can enjoy together. Melons are full of vitamin A and vitamin C and also fairly rich in other vitamins.

They also have a high water content which will help your pet stay hydrated and energized during very hot weather. [25]

Banana

Many dogs enjoy bananas as a treat. This fruit is however rich in sugars and fats and should also be enjoyed in moderation. Bananas are best avoided in dogs suffering from diabetes.

It is well known to be rich in manganese and potassium and is also a decent source of copper and magnesium.

Its vitamin profile is varied with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin C being most prominent. [26]

Berries

berries dog can eat

Most fruits we consider berries are not true berries. They are some of the fruits with the lowest sugar levels.

They are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are essential in keeping your dog healthy.

Blueberries

Blueberries are rich in vitamin C and vitamin K which are important for body maintenance.

They are also a good source of manganese, as well as antioxidants (anthocyanins) that protect the body from diseases like cancer and neurological and cardiovascular degeneration. [27, 28]

Blackberries

Blackberries are brimming with vitamin C, vitamin K, folate (vitamin B9), and vitamin E. They are also quite rich in manganese, copper, potassium and magnesium. [29]

Like blueberries, they also pack a strong antioxidative punch due to their phenolic compounds. [30]

Raspberries

Raspberries too are high in vitamin K, folate (vitamin B 9), and vitamin E, but they really shine through in the vitamin C department. Like blueberries and blackberries they are also quite rich in manganese. [32]

They also have antioxidative properties due to the phenolic compounds and flavonoids that they contain. [32]

Raspberries, however, contain trace amounts of xylitol; a naturally occurring sweetener, that in sufficient amounts, can be toxic to dogs.

While the amount of raspberries needed to harm your dog is substantial, it is better to exercise caution and feed them to your dog in small amounts, or avoid them in small breeds. [33]

Strawberries

Strawberries are a must-have summer snack for us humans- and good for our dogs too. They are packed with vitamin C which is essential in maintaining your dog’s tissues and immune system.

Like other berries they contain a significant amount of manganese. Your dog can also benefit from their polyphenols that have antioxidant properties. [34]

Meat and animal products

meat dog can eat

Meat and animal products are some of the most valuable protein sources. They are a concentrated source of the essential vitamin B12, choline, iron, selenium and many other minerals. [35]

Meats need to be cooked because it carries the risk of infecting dogs with various microbial, viral and parasitic diseases (ex. Salmonella, Trichinella). [36, 37]

Rabbit

Rabbit meat is low in fat and energy making it a healthy, meaty meal for dogs looking to shed a few pounds. The amino acid profile of rabbit meat is superior to that of meat from most other animal species.

Rabbit is also very rich in vitamin B12 and other B vitamins, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. [38]

However, rabbits are a host animal for toxoplasmosis and could transmit the disease to your dog if the meat is not cooked well. [39]

Lamb

Lamb is another vitamin-rich meat (particularly B vitamins) but has the added advantage of being a good source of vitamin K and zinc. It is also a good source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. [40]

Sheep, like rabbits, are vectors of toxoplasmosis and the same care should be taken when cooking lamb for your dog.

Beef

Like most meats, beef is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Beef, being a red meat, is more rich in iron than the other meats mentioned in this article. [41]

Beef is, however, a common allergen in dogs; make sure that your dog is not allergic to beef before feeding. [42]

Chicken

Chicken is lean and is a good source of protein. It has a better amino acid profile than beef and is a good source of niacin (vitamin B3) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) but the rest of its nutritional profile is relatively unremarkable. [43]

It is, however, a good protein for dogs that are trying to shed some pounds.

Pork

Pork has a good amino acid profile and is rich in most B vitamins, particularly thiamin (vitamin B1). It is also rich in phosphorus and zinc. Its high-fat content makes it unsuitable for dogs that are watching their weight. [44]

Make sure to cook pork very well before giving to your dog as pigs are hosts for the parasite trichinella. [45]

Fish

Fish (ex. salmon) is a great source of protein with a fantastic amino acid profile, and good vitamin and mineral profiles. Fish is a good source of a range of vitamins (particularly B vitamins) and is also high in iodine, magnesium, and phosphorus. [46]

Oily fish are also a good source of vitamin D. Unlike other animal protein sources, fish has a higher ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids which makes it a good treat to give to elderly dogs suffering from arthritis. [47]

Organ meat

As humans eat increasingly less organ meat, this superb source of protein, vitamins and minerals has become less popular – but your dog will love it!

Tripe is a good source of vitamin B5, an essential vitamin for a lot of metabolic reactions throughout the body.

Liver and kidneys are a great source of vitamin B7. Heart and lungs are a good source of dietary protein and a great source of vitamin B12.

Organ meats such as liver and heart are also good sources of choline which helps the body maintain and produce new cells. [48] Organ meats are also rich in taurine which is important for cardiac health. [49]

Egg

Eggs are thought to have the best amino acid profile of all protein sources and are particularly rich in methionine and cysteine which are essential for hair growth.

They are also a great source of vitamin A, B vitamins and choline.

Eggs need to be thoroughly cooked (preferably hard-boiled); raw egg white has an anti-nutritive factor that causes vitamin B7 (biotin) deficiency. Cooking eggs well will also protect your dog from a Salmonella infection. [50]

The carbohydrate sources

Carbohydrates are a large group. Some are easily digestible while others are slow to digest. Carbohydrates can be found in grains, tubers, legumes and nuts as starches, and as sugars, as we’ve previously mentioned, in fruit.

While society has demonized them, due to our overconsumption of them, they are what drives our bodies and that of our dogs.

Grains and cereals

carbs dog can eat

Grains and cereals are a great source of vitamin E. They are also rich in carbohydrates.

While most are not very suited for overweight dogs or dogs predisposed to obesity, they offer a good source of energy for the average dog. [51]

Contrary to popular belief, most dog allergens are found in meat sources and it is only rare that dogs are allergic to grains and cereals. [52] Dogs have evolved to be better at digesting starch than wolves. [53]

Oats

Oats are higher in protein and fat than most other grains and cereals. The proteins they provide have a good amino acid profile and their oil is rich in omega 6 linoleic acid. [54, 55]

They are also rich in fiber, B vitamins and minerals such as manganese, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and zinc. [56]

Barley

Barley is a low glycemic index food meaning that their digestion results in a slow rise in blood glucose levels. [57]

This is great news for dogs suffering from conditions such as diabetes as they can enjoy a small amount of oats in their diet without causing a wave of glucose rushing through their system. Barley is also high in fiber which promotes gut health. [58]

Quinoa

Quinoa is a protein-rich whole grain, considered as a complete protein source. The proteins it provides consist of all essential amino acids.

When compared to other grains it is rich in manganese, magnesium and phosphorus and is a good source of B vitamins, particularly folate (vitamin B9) and thiamine (vitamin B1).

Freshly picked quinoa has antinutritive factors called saponins that are removed after being harvested, making it safe for your dog. [59, 60]

Rice

Brown rice is rich in fiber, vitamins B1 and B6, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and manganese. Rice is also the only vegetable source that has useful levels of the amino acid tyrosine.

While brown rice has a lower glycemic index than refined rice, it is still not suggested to feed to overweight and diabetic dogs. [61]

Wheat

Bulgur wheat can be a nice high fiber and low-calorie whole grain. It is therefore a good option for those who would like to keep their dog at a healthy weight.

While the rest of its nutritional profile is unremarkable it is high in manganese. [62]

Corn

Corn is a high energy, high fiber, oil-rich ingredient. It is rich in omega 6 fatty acids, most B vitamins, and in most minerals. While it is a good all-rounder, its glycemic index depends a lot on how it is processed.

We suggest you feed your dog whole grain, fresh, cooked corn since it has the lowest glycemic index. Corn on the cob must be taken off first as the cob can present a choking hazard for overeager eaters! [63]

Chestnut

Chestnut is high in carbohydrates, fiber, and fats. They are high in starch but the little protein they have is of high quality. They are also rich in omega 6 fatty acids and manganese. Due to their high starch content it is advised to feed chestnuts in moderation. [64]

One should also distinguish edible chestnuts from horse chestnuts. While they may look similar, horse chestnuts or conkers contain aesculin which is toxic to both humans and dogs. [65]

Roots and tubers

root veggies dog can eat

Roots and tubers are the storage parts of growing plants- a bit like the plant’s pantry. It is therefore not surprising that these plant parts make for highly nutritious food items.

Potato

Unpeeled potatoes are a good source of energy, fiber and B vitamins. They are also rich in vitamin C. They are a great source of minerals, especially manganese and potassium.

They are not ideal for diabetic dogs because of their high glycemic index. Potatoes are part of the nightshade family (which includes tomatoes).

Green potatoes should never be eaten as they might contain toxic levels of solanine that can be dangerous to both humans and dogs. [66]

Raw potatoes can be heavy on the digestive system and it is always advised to cook them. [67]

Sweet potato

This root vegetable can be one of the healthiest things that you can give your dog. When unpeeled it is relatively low in calories and a good source of fiber.

It is chock full of vitamin A and is also rich in vitamin C. As far as vegetables go, it is a respectable source of other vitamins and minerals. [68]

Carrot

Dogs can eat carrots both raw or cooked.

They have great nutritional value as they can be used to supplement vitamin A in your dog’s diet- carrots are rich in carotene which is metabolized by your dog into vitamin A. [69]

Carrots, while sweet, have a significantly lower carbohydrate level than grains, making them a delicious yet healthy option even for doggies on a diet.

The texture of raw carrots also helps keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy, and provides a fun crunchy experience. [70]

Legumes

legumes dog can ea

Legumes are a protein-rich carbohydrate source. Some are commonly used as secondary protein sources by dog food manufacturers. [71]

They are particularly rich in vitamin B9 (folate). [72] They have a number of antinutritive factors that are neutralized through dehulling and cooking. [73]

While legume-rich, grain-free diets have in recent years been associated with a spike in cases of Dilated Cardiomyopathy caused by taurine deficiency, the exact mechanism of causation is not well understood.

Most legumes are considered safe for dogs and have been used for a long time in dog nutrition without incident. This suggests that the problem is not specific to legumes but has more to do with the proportion of legumes to grains in the diet. [74]

Lentils*

Lentils are low in carbohydrates and very high in fiber. They are also the richest in folate out of the legumes mentioned in this list and a good source of manganese, iron, phosphorus, copper and potassium.

They are a rich protein source and their amino acid profile is moderately good. [75] They are also high in antioxidant polyphenols. [76]

Peas*

While peas are the least protein-dense legume in this list, they are high in fiber and particularly high in vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C when compared to the other legumes. [77]

They also have a low glycemic index. [78, 79]

Chickpeas:*

Chickpeas are a good source of high-quality protein. They are high in fiber and are a good source of manganese and iron. Chickpeas are also a good source of omega 6 fatty acids. [80]

Beans (ex. Soya beans, Green beans, Kidney beans)*

There are a variety of beans around. In general beans are high fiber and high in protein of good quality. The Soya bean has the best quality protein of all of these beans.

Soya beans are also extremely rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, however, most beans are rich in these essential fatty acids. [81, 82, 83]

*It is best to avoid canned beans. These can be higher in sugar and salt than their fresh or dry counterparts which can be detrimental to your dog.

Dairy

dairy dog can eat

Dairy is a rich source of fats, vitamin D and B vitamins, Calcium and phosphorus. Some dogs, especially adults, are intolerant to lactose. [84, 85]

Lactose free milk

Giving your dog lactose-free milk will allow your pet to enjoy all the benefits of regular milk without the digestive upset and flatulence.

Using a little bit of lactose-free milk with your elderly dog’s kibbles can help soften them and make them more attractive to eat.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a good dairy product to give to your dog in small amounts. Yogurt has probiotic properties that could benefit dogs by increasing the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal flora.

Don’t give your dog too much yogurt or you could give him the runs. [86]

Cheese

Cheese, like any other dairy product, is only suggested for dogs in moderation. Do not give your dog any mold-grown cheese varieties like Gorgonzola.

Small amounts of low fat and low lactose cheeses like mozzarella and swiss cheese are ok as a very occasional treat- save it for when it’s time to hide your dog’s medicine in something tasty! [87]

Nuts and seeds

peanuts dog can eat

Peanuts

Peanuts are actually legumes but have similar nutritional content to nuts. Peanuts are a high energy food with high protein content. They also contain potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and B vitamins. [88]

Unsalted and unseasoned peanuts are safe for dogs in small quantities. Much of their energy comes from their high-fat content, so it is best to feed them to your dog as an occasional small treat to prevent your dog from becoming obese or suffering from pancreatitis.

Like in humans, peanuts are a common allergen in dogs and can cause a fatal anaphylactic shock. It is best to make sure that your dog is not allergic to peanuts before giving them to your dog. [89]

Flaxseed

This little seed is a very healthy addition to your dog’s meal. It is very rich in good quality protein, relatively low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.

It is considered a superfood since it is very rich in essential fatty acids, B vitamins and most minerals.

Flaxseed has demonstrated several health benefits including improved digestive health, reduced joint inflammation and pain in arthritic patients, better cardiovascular health, reduced incidence of cancer, better skin condition, better kidney function and lower blood pressure. [90, 91]

Hemp seeds

Hemp is part of the cannabis plant family- but no need to worry, they contain practically none of the psychoactive substance THC and is regarded safe for dogs. [92]

Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are chock full of fatty acids, with a healthy balance of both omega-3s and omega-6s. Hemp seed also contains significant amounts of magnesium, iron, and zinc.

While owners feeding their dogs hemp seed have reported a lower incidence of arthritic pain, seizures, anxiety and cognitive dysfunction it is suggested to avoid giving to dogs while taking temporary or long term medication. [93, 94, 95]

Chia seeds

Chia seeds have also joined the superfood ranks that you can feed your dog. Chia seeds have an impressive essential fatty acid content and are also noted for their soluble fiber, manganese, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus content. [96]

A unique characteristic of chia seeds is that they contain mucilage, which is what gives chia pudding its jelly texture.

In your dog’s stomach, this allows them to absorb liquids, to swell up and provide a feeling of fullness, as well as lowering cholesterol levels- ideal for overeaters and diabetic dogs. [97]

Fats and Oils

oils dog cat eat

Fats and oils are important energy and fatty acid supply. They are found in vegetable and animal material and are important for your dog’s general health (cell production, kidney health, hormone production, reproduction and healthy skin and coat).

The two essential fatty acids are omega 3 and omega 6. Some oils and fats are also a good vitamin source. (A, D, E and K vitamins). [98]

Fish oil

Fish oil is a great source of the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and is very rich in vitamin A and vitamin D.

Due to fish oil’s high omega 3 content, it is often used as a supplementary therapy for inflammatory conditions like chronic skin inflammation, arthritis, elevated blood fats, and heart disease. [99]

Coconut fat

While there is controversy about the alleged health benefits previously attributed to coconut fat, there is nothing about coconut fat that indicates any reason to not incorporate into your dog’s diet in very small amounts.

It is mainly composed of saturated fatty acids. Its fatty-acid composition has been associated with helping prevent cognitive dysfunction.

However, if given to your dog too often, it can cause obesity and increase the chance of pancreatitis. On rare occasions, some dogs have shown allergic reactions to coconut fat. [100]

Olive oil

While a number of different cooking oils can be found in our household, Olive oil is generally considered the healthiest of the more common vegetable oils.

This is because olive oil is particularly rich in antioxidants which help clear free radicals from our body.

This makes olive oil especially good for elderly dogs or those suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions. [101]

Herbs and spices

herbs spices dog can eat

Essential oils and antinutritive factors found in a lot of herbs make most herbs unsuitable for your dog. However, there are a few herbs and spices that dogs can eat.

These are not only not harmful to your dog but can be of benefit.

Ginger

This tasty, aromatic spice is thought to have many beneficial properties. There are no known toxic effects that ginger has on dogs. Studies have shown that ginger can help maintain normal intestinal movement.

It can soothe dogs with upset stomachs and can be used against vomiting. [102]

Basil

Besides being tasty, leafy morsel basil has been found to have a significant positive effect on the regulation of blood sugar levels in dogs.

Small amounts of basil have been shown to interfere with sugar digestion, absorption, and possibly metabolism (cortisol inhibition), reducing its levels in the blood.

Basil is also a great source of antioxidants and has a positive effect on dog growth and development. [103]

Turmeric

Turmeric is becoming an increasingly popular spice in dog nutrition. Turmeric is said to help with arthritis, fighting cancer, and help with cardiovascular surgery complications. [104, 105]

However, real-life turmeric supplementation rarely reaches the sort of levels to show these benefits. Turmeric is commonly used by dog food manufacturers as a colorant and to increase dog food palatability. [106]

Turmeric can be a safe and tasty addition to your dog’s food.

Processed foods

processed food dog can eat

Processed foods are very rich in calories and nutrients and not generally the best choice to feed dogs- as with most of our list so far, moderation is key!

Bread

Bread is high in easily digestible carbohydrates and has a high glycemic index. While this is not ideal there is nothing inherently harmful in bread if fed occasionally and in moderation.

Brown bread varieties are better choices. [107]

Peanut butter

Dogs go nuts for peanut butter. It is high in proteins and fats and is very nutritious. However, due to its high nutrient density, it is best given in small amounts. [108]

It is ideal to add in small amounts to dog food or smear on the inside of dog toys to make them interesting. Do not give your dog excessive amounts of peanut butter as this could lead to obesity or pancreatitis. [109]

Make sure the peanut butter you feed your dog is free of the sweetener xylitol, as it is toxic to dogs.

Pasta

Pasta can be a nice occasional treat. It is high in calories and nutrients. While better than that of rice, its glycemic index is still high enough to warrant caution when giving to diabetic pets. [110]

Opting for brown varieties ensures that the pasta you’re feeding your pet is more nutritious in vitamins and minerals.

The Bottom Line

This list of ingredients is not in any way meant to replace a certified balanced diet. There is a lot of consideration taken when formulating a balanced diet.

This list is simply a guide to which food items are safe to occasionally feed your dog. We always advise you to do your research before feeding new human food to your dog. If in doubt, always contact your trusted veterinarian for more information.

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