25 Human Foods Dogs Can and Can’t Eat - The Extended Guide
Updated: Aug 9, 2022
If you love your pooch, you’ve probably wondered about sharing your food with them. There are lots of ‘human’ foods that your dogs can eat, but also lots that they can’t. Knowing which is which is the difference between a happy, healthy dog and one with an upset stomach- or worse. So, can dogs eat oranges? What about pineapple? Can they drink milk? Are eggs good for dogs? We’ll go into 25 foods you might have thought about feeding to your dog, and give them the green light or warning if not save to eat.
If you are wondering if it's safe for your dog to eat grass, we've covered this topic in-depth on a different blog post. Check it out here.
Before we Start
All dogs can be allergic or intolerant. If your dog has never eaten these things before, you should start out only giving them a small piece and observing their reactions for 24-48 hours before giving them more. Look out for signs of gastric upset- vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and rumbling guts- and avoid the food in future if they react to it.
Your dog’s kibble is a complete and balanced diet. That means that scientists and nutritionists have gone to great lengths to make sure it has everything your dog needs to be healthy in the correct proportions. ‘Balanced’ is important- some minerals are in a delicate balance and more of one means that the body can’t absorb enough of the other.
Any change to your dog’s diet risks unbalancing the diet, but nutritionists agree you can allow your dog to have 10% of their daily calories as treats and snacks without risking a serious unbalance. Remember to take these calories out of their kibble so that they don’t eat too much and get overweight!
Which Fruits Can Dogs Eat
Getting your five-a-day is important for everybody, so why not for your dog? Here are some fruits that are safe to feed your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Oranges?
It’s a go! Dogs can eat oranges! In fact, oranges have been found to be a healthy snack for dogs. They contain important nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A and folate, as well as high levels of fibre (USDA, 2020) Despite the high sugar content in oranges, the large amount of fibre regulates this, preventing a huge spike in sugar levels after eating.
The fibre in oranges is also good for your dog’s digestion. One study even showed that a combination of antioxidants, many of which are found in oranges, can slow down aging in dog brains (N.W Milgram, 2002). So, should you feed oranges to your dog? Yes, but in small amounts. A small dog should have no more than a quarter of an orange every few days; a large dog could have up to half.
Can Dogs eat Pineapples?
Though the acidic flavour will put some dogs off, dogs can eat pineapple! This fruit is packed with vitamin C, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin- all great natural antioxidants. There’s also some evidence that pineapple can change the wax in a dog’s ear- possibly very useful for those dogs suffering with allergies! (Fausto Quintavalla, 2004).
Some people say that pineapple will stop dogs from eating their own stool. Unfortunately, this appears to be an old wives’ tale, and there is no evidence that this is the case. If you want to feed your dog pineapple, stick to small amounts of the edible flesh (avoiding the leaves, stem and skin), and watch that the high levels of sugar don’t upset his stomach.
Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
Yes, dogs can eat watermelon. I think that watermelon is far too delicious to share with dogs! You should avoid giving the rind and seeds where possible- the rind can cause gastric upset or blockage as it’s difficult to digest. Try to keep the number of watermelon seeds your dog consumes to a minimum; but don’t worry if one or two escapes your notice.
Watermelon is thought to have health benefits- some people suggest it might reduce crystal formation in the urine (Miyai, 2018). It’s also the best fresh source of lycopene (USDA, 2020), which is what makes it red. Lycopene shows promising anti-cancer effects in early studies. Mostly, though, watermelon is water- so it’s a great way to hydrate your dog. One or two inch-sized cubes- depending on your dog’s size- is usually plenty.
Can Dogs Eat Melon?
Dogs can eat normal melon as well as watermelon! In fact, it makes a healthy and tasty treat- there are even reports of packs of feral dogs destroying melon crops! Melon is mostly water, but is high in vitamins and low in salt. Again, avoid the skin and the seeds where possible, and give a cube or two an occasional treat to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Avocado?
A case report in the 90s (Buoro, Nyamwange, Chai, Munyua, & Verwoerd, 1994) suggested dogs suffered from avocado poisoning just like many other animals. But since then, research suggests that avocado poisoning rarely occurs in dogs. The Pet Poison Helpline (Pet Poison Helpline, 2020) does not list avocados as poisonous to dogs, and there are even dog foods containing avocado.
However, the high fat levels can cause pancreatitis, so it’s a good idea to only feed a little, and you should call your vet if you find your dog eating the guacamole at a party! The pit is the main concern, often leading to obstruction if eaten- so make sure it’s well out of your dog’s reach.
Can Dogs Eat Cherries?
Yes, cherries are safe for dogs to eat, but they shouldn’t eat the pips, which can cause obstruction. The pips also contain small amounts of cyanide, which is toxic, so if your dog was to ingest several stones they may become ill.
The leaves and stems contain cyanide, too. You also shouldn’t feed your dog cherries that have been prepared and preserved in brandy or sugar syrup, as the extra ingredients are not good for your dog. If you want to go to the effort of destoning a fresh cherry for your dog, go ahead- but there are easier fruits to feed!
Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?
Yes, Blueberries are a healthy snack for dogs. They are known to be high in anti-oxidants and some studies have shown that they may be of benefit to working dogs with high exercise levels (Kriya L. Dunlap, 2006). There have also been studies investigating whether they help to prevent doggy dementia (Fragua, 2017) although this needs more investigation. All in all, blueberries are a healthy snack- but as always, feed in moderation and no more than 10% of the daily calorie allowance.
Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Yes, ripe tomatoes can be fed to dogs as the occasional snack, although they may not like them. Tomatoes contain lycopene just like watermelons, which is thought to prevent certain cancers. There have been isolated reports of dogs being allergic to tomatoes, so do take care when giving for the first time and observe carefully for several days for signs of diarrhoea or skin disease. As a side note, though, all parts of the tomato plant are poisonous to dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?
Strawberries are a safe and healthy treat for your dog. They contain lots of vitamins (including high levels of vitamin C) and antioxidants thought to slow the aging process. Your dog can safely share a strawberry with you, or you can chop one over his breakfast.
Can Dogs Eat Apples?
Dogs can happily snack on apple just like humans can- in fact, it’s a safe and healthy treat for dogs. But can your dog eat apple seeds? Well, it’s best to remove apple seeds as much as you can- these contain small amounts of toxic cyanide- but don’t worry if you miss one or two.
Can Dogs Eat Bananas?
Bananas are another healthy fruit that you can feed your dog. In fact, bananas are often recommended to stuff into Kong toys and other food toys, before freezing. Bananas contain large amounts of potassium, a mineral not found in many other fruits and vegetables. Just remember the 10% rule though- bananas are high in calories and a whole one is far too much for most dogs.
Vegetables that Dogs Can Eat
Can Dogs Eat Sweetcorn?
Like humans, dogs can eat sweetcorn in small quantities. Unfortunately, the cob is indigestible and, although it might seem like a good chew treat, ends up stuck in guts and intestines requiring emergency surgery to remove.
The kernels themselves are very starchy and hard to digest, and leave the gut almost completely intact. So, although you can feed them to your dog- there’s no nutritional benefit from doing so, and it will make picking up his poop a much less pleasant experience!
Can Dogs eat Broccoli?
Yes, broccoli is known to contain nutrients that have a range of benefits. They also have a chemical called isothiocyanates, which is present in broccoli florets. This can cause gastric upset in dogs, especially in larger amounts.
Don’t avoid the florets altogether though- in the body the isothiocyanate glucoraphanin is changed to sulforaphane, which has anti-cancer properties (Kaitlin M. Curran, 2018). A small amount occasionally is the best way to avoid any tummy troubles as a result of eating broccoli.
Can Dogs Eat Celery?
Yes, celery is another vegetable your dog can add to his snack list. Whilst studies into nutritional benefits are limited, there is some evidence that eating celery may help animals with the side effects of chemotherapy (Jovanka Kolarovic, 2009), although more work needs to be done to prove a link. Make sure you cut it into bite-size pieces to minimise choking, and give little-and-often as a healthy snack if your pooch enjoys it.