What Can Dogs Eat? Foods Fit for Fido (& Items to Avoid)

There are some foods you can share with your dog to boost their health, whereas other foods can be harmful.

Published June 14, 2023
A beautiful young woman is giving treats to her dog

We love sharing healthy, nutritious food with our dogs. But there are foods they can't eat. Knowing which foods are and aren't good for them is important. Discover what you can share and what you should leave to yourself.

What can dog eat infographic

Fruits Dogs Can Eat

Fruits can be a healthy, low-calorie snack for dogs and a great source of vitamins and minerals. Apples, for example, are an excellent choice as they are high in fiber and vitamin A and C. Just remember to remove the seeds and core. Bananas are a sweet treat filled with potassium and vitamin C, best given in moderation due to their high sugar content. Take a look at some of the best fruits that are healthy for your pup!

Labrador retriever eats with an appetite watermelon
  • Blueberries: A small handful of blueberries can be beneficial for your dog. They contain antioxidants that help your dog's body fight damage from free radicals.
  • Cherries: Dogs can eat small bits of the flesh, but should never consume the pit. Not only does the pit contain cyanide, but the pit can cause obstruction in your dog's intestinal tract.
  • Cranberries: Dogs can have cranberries fresh, dried, or cooked. Not only do cranberries help regulate your dog's urinary tract, they contain antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and manganese.
  • Mango: Yes, dogs can eat mango. Mango flesh contains vitamins and antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, and magnesium. But it also has high sugar content in the form of fructose, so it should be fed sparingly. And it shouldn't be fed to diabetic dogs at all.
  • Tangerines: Yes, dogs can eat tangerines. But a lot of dogs don't like citrus. Also, only offer these a sliver or two should at a time. Tangerines contain folate, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and potassium. They're also high in fiber, which helps improve the health of your dog's intestinal tract. Only feed the flesh. Your dog should never eat the peel.

This is only a small section of fruits dogs can eat safely. You can give your pup apples (minus the stem and core), peaches (sans the pits), cantaloupe (without the rind), and watermelon (hold the rind and seeds). In fact, most fruits are OK for dogs. It's actually faster to list what dogs can't have.

Need to Know
  • Always remove the rind, seeds, and stems
  • Never give your dog a large, inedible parts of fruit
  • If you can't eat it, your dog definitely can't

Fruits Dogs Can't Eat

These are the fruits that can harm your dog, make them sick, or in extreme causes, even cause their death. Because they're potential toxic, don't allow your dog to eat these items at all. Other items listed here aren't toxic, but they contain too much sugar. Similarly, while tomato fruits are generally safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant, such as the leaves and stem, contain solanine, which can be toxic in large quantities.

  • Grapes: Grapes and raisins, including currants, are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure, even in small amounts.
  • Avocados: Contain a toxin called persin, which can cause upset stomach, respiratory problems, and fluid buildup in the chest.
  • Citrus: Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruits should be avoided as their high acidity can cause digestive upset.
  • Canned fruits: Fruits that have been canned or preserved often contain high levels of sugar or other preservatives, which just aren't healthy for your dog.

Vegetables Dogs Can Eat

Vegetables can provide dogs with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them a great addition to their diet. Carrots are a fantastic low-calorie snack, rich in vitamin A and beneficial for a dog's immune system and eye health.

Green beans, either cooked or raw, are a good source of iron and vitamins, but don't serve them to your dog with any added salt or seasonings. Peas, such as green peas or snap peas, can offer vitamin K and several B-vitamins. Your dog can also safely eat other veggies, including:

Mid adult woman feeding carrot to border collie in vegetable garden
  • Broccoli: Dogs can consume broccoli either raw, lightly steamed, or cooked (without salt, oil, or butter). Broccoli is high in vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and K.
  • Celery: Celery contains fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, and K, folate, potassium, zinc, and manganese. It's also known to freshen your dog's breath. Cut it into bite-sized pieces before serving.
  • Corn: Dogs can eat corn, but it should never contain added spices, butter, or salt. Corn contains fiber, protein, vitamins C, B, and E, lutein, potassium, and magnesium. also, don't give them the cob to chew on.
  • Cucumbers: Cucumber can be fed raw, steamed, or blanched. The flesh of a cucumber is high in water content and fiber, helping your dog remain hydrated and boosting their gut health.
  • Pumpkin: This gourd is a great source of antioxidants, carotenoids, and vitamin C. Just remove the skin, pulp, and seeds. Also, don't give your dog canned pumpkin with added sugar.

Dogs can also eat most types of beans, potatoes, and yams, among many other safe vegetables. Just don't overdo it, remove parts of the plant that aren't digestible, and pay attention to make sure your dog doesn't get a sick stomach.

Quick Tip

Avoid feeding your dog spinach. It isn't clear whether this vegetable is particularly bad for dogs, but it may have negative health side effects.

Vegetables Dogs Can't Eat

Onions and garlic, as well as other plants in the Allium family, such as leeks and chives, are highly toxic to dogs. They contain compounds that can cause damage to red blood cells, leading to anemia.

Mushrooms Dogs Can Eat

Edible mushrooms are incredibly nutrient dense and include amino acids, vitamins A and B, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, and potassium, among other nutrients. Cooked mushrooms are preferable, as long as they aren't prepared with too much oil, butter, salt, or spices.

Mushrooms to Avoid Feeding

Don't feed raw mushrooms, as these may upset your dog's stomach, and make sure your dog avoids eating all wild mushrooms. These may be fine, or they may be highly toxic. Don't risk it.

Meats Dogs Can Eat

Meat is a vital part of a dog's diet and provides necessary protein, which aids in building and repairing tissues, as well as supplying energy. Chicken is a commonly used meat source in commercial dog food due to its high protein content and digestibility.

Beef, another popular choice, is rich in essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Turkey is a lean, easily digestible protein source, great for dogs with sensitive stomachs. But these are just the normal proteins. Your dog can also eat the following meats:

Poodle balancing a piece of bacon on his nose
  • Chicken: Yes, dogs can eat chicken. A few proteins, including chicken and beef, are responsible for a large percentage of canine food allergies, however, so consider changing it up from time to time.
  • Ham: Dogs can eat ham, but there are better meat options for your dog to eat. Ham contains protein, selenium, potassium, thiamine, and other B vitamins. But it also contains a significant amount of salt and fat, which means it should only be fed in small amounts occasionally. And there should never be any added flavors or spices.
  • Raw egg: Raw eggs are nutrient dense. They can be an excellent topper to your dog's bowl, whether you're feeding kibble, homemade, or raw. Free-range eggs are the best you can feed than those from the store. And if you can find organic fresh eggs, that's even better.
  • Turkey: Turkey contains a significant amount of protein and essential nutrients like vitamins B12 and B6, niacin, and zinc. It also contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid to your dog's body. Turkey must be fed plain without added seasonings.

Meats Dogs Can't Eat

Dogs should never consume any meat that has been seasoned with garlic or onions, as these foods are toxic to dogs. Avoid processed meats like ham, bacon, sausages, and hot dogs because they are typically high in sodium and preservatives, which can be harmful to dogs. Your pooch should also avoid the following:

  • Pork rinds: Pork rinds can cause pancreatitis, salt poisoning, and other health problems. Most pork rinds also contain onion, which contain toxins that are dangerous to your dog.
  • Raw pork: Dogs shouldn't eat raw pork. Raw pork can contain a parasite known as Trichinella spiralis, which leads to the infestation of roundworms, a condition known as trichinosis.
  • Rib bones: Unlike some other bones, even raw rib bones are not safe. They can cause obstruction of your dog's esophagus resulting in difficulty breathing. Their sharp edges can also perforate your dog's esophagus or intestinal tract.

Seafood Dogs Can Eat

Did you know seafood is beneficial for dogs? Seafood can be a healthy and enjoyable part of your dog's diet, as it's packed with essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids that support heart health and maintain a shiny coat. Fish, like whitefish, are excellent seafood options for dogs, offering high-quality protein and vital omega-3 fatty acids. Your dog can also eat:

  • Salmon: This fish contains DHA and EPA, as well as vitamins A, B, and D, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Salmon should be served fresh. Canned salmon contains unnecessary additives.
  • Shrimp: These sea critters are rich in vitamins B3 , B12, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Shrimp should be steamed without any added ingredients.
Quick Tip

If you're looking for other types of fish to add to your dog's bowl, fresh anchovies or sardines can be offered. If you buy them from a can, make sure they're stored in water and not oil.

Seafood Dogs Can't Eat

While some types of seafood can be a healthy addition to a dog's diet, there are certain types that should be avoided due to potential health risks. Certain types of fish, such as tuna and swordfish, can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large amounts.

Avoid feeding shellfish, such as clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops, as they can also harbor harmful bacteria and toxins. Additionally, some dogs may have an allergy to shellfish, which can result in symptoms such as itching, hives, and gastrointestinal upset.

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

While most nuts are not suitable for dogs due to their high fat content and potential toxicity, there are a few exceptions that can be consumed in moderation. Peanuts are generally safe for dogs, as long as they're unsalted and unflavored, and provide a good source of protein and healthy fats.

Similarly, peanut butter can make for a tasty treat, but be sure to check the ingredients to ensure it does not contain xylitol, a sweetener toxic to dogs. Dogs can also eat cashews in moderation.

Need to Know

Dogs with pancreatitis should not eat cashews due to its high fat content.

Nuts Dogs Can't Eat

While some nuts can be consumed by dogs in small amounts, many types are not safe and can pose serious health risks. Almonds, for instance, can be challenging for dogs to digest, potentially leading to gastrointestinal blockages.

Macadamia nuts are known to be highly toxic to dogs, causing symptoms like weakness, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia. Similarly, walnuts can lead to an upset stomach and potentially cause a dangerous fungal toxin.

Other Foods Dogs Can Eat

Woman Feeds Her Dog a Piece of Mango

There are a number of other foods that could be beneficial to dogs, including:

  • Cheese: Most cheeses contain calcium, protein, vitamins A and B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. But since they're so high in fat, the amount should be limited.
  • Cornbread: Although many dogs love cornbread, there are healthier options to offer. The cornbread must be fed plain and your dog should only be offered a small piece. If there are added spices, the yes to cornbread turns to a no.
  • Popcorn: Air-popped popcorn without butter is appropriate in moderation. But avoid feeding any popcorn that has been fried, salted, buttered, or dipped in other ingredients like caramel or chocolate.
  • Yogurt: Dogs can eat yogurt, but it must be plain and unsweetened. Not only does yogurt contain probiotics to help with a healthy gut, but also contains calcium and protein. Plain-style greek yogurt is often the best choice.

Moderation Is Key

Even if you feed your dog the good foods, they're only good in moderation. They should never go over 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake. If you go over, this could be damaging to their overall health.

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What Can Dogs Eat? Foods Fit for Fido (& Items to Avoid)