In this article we answer the question “what human foods can dogs eat?”. But first we’re going to tackle a more controversial question.
That question is “should dogs eat human foods”? Because while there are plenty of “human” foods that are not technically harmful to dogs, some experts don’t think dogs should be eating them at all.
So let’s look at the pros and cons of feeding your dog(s) human food.
Pros of Feeding Your Dog Human Food
Commercial, processed dog food wasn’t around forever. Before people could buy pet food in bags or cans, they would often feed their pets leftover scraps from their meals.
The commercial dog food industry changed that. And people like the convenience of ready to eat dog food you can buy at the store. So the vast majority of dogs eat dog food.
However, things have started to shift a bit. After some recalls of contaminated dog foods over the last 10 or 20 years, more dog owners are preparing home cooked meals for their pets.
And that’s the first big pro of feeding your dog human food as opposed to commercial pet food. You have a better idea of what’s in your dog’s diet that way. Not just due to contamination either. With all the questionable ingredients, additives and unknowns, people like the idea of feeding their pets food they have more quality control over.
There are other benefits to feeding your dog fresh, real “human” food you prepare from high quality ingredients. Among the benefits those who believe in a human food diet for dogs believe it can bring your dog include:
- Overall better health
- Stronger immunity
- Increased energy and vitality
- Easier/healthier digestion
- Improved skin and coats
- A longer lifespan
With all those potential benefits, feeding your dog human food seems like the way to go, right?! Well, not so fast. Here are some of the potential downsides to feeding your dog human food.
Cons of Feeding Your Dog Human Food
First and foremost, there are human foods that are harmful to dogs (more on these below). So you have to know what these foods are and make sure your dog avoids them at all costs!
Second, pet foods are (ideally) optimized for your pet’s health. Good dog foods contain the ideal mix of calories, proteins, vitamins, etc. for your dog’s health. Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s hard to replicate that when your prepare all your dog’s meals.
You’ll also want to keep a closer watch on your dog’s weight. That may be harder to do when you prepare your dog’s meals as opposed to feeding them specifically formulated dog food. Obesity in dogs can lead to increased risk of joint and bone issues, heart disease, breathing problems and more.
There can be some behavioral issues too with feeding your dog human food. Especially if it’s only an occasional treat. Dogs can take to whining, barking, crying, begging, etc. to try to score some human food morsels from you. This is a habit that’s hard to break.
Dogs can also be very picky eaters. And the more human food you give them, the more the risk is that they won’t want to eat their dog food anymore. Again, another habit that can be super hard to break.
What Human Foods Can Dogs Eat?
Okay, with that out of the way, let’s start to look at some specifics. What human foods can you feed your dog?
Here is a brief overview of some of the healthiest foods for dogs. You can learn about many of these foods more in depth using the links at the bottom of this article.
Healthy Human Foods for Dogs
- Meat like turkey, chicken and pork (be sure to check for bones and also do not give your dogs meat with much salt, garlic or other seasonings)
- Fish, particularly salmon and sardines (just make sure there are no tiny bones in them!)
- Wheat and grains, just make sure your dog doesn’t have allergies that could be made worse by grains
- Eggs, so long as they are fully cooked
- Many fruits and vegetables including apples, bananas, carrots and green beans
- Peanut butter, just avoid any that contains xylitol
A Word About Moderation
The key to feeding your dog human food is moderation. Some foods are okay in small quantities but can cause issues if you give them too much.
For example, carrots contain a lot of vitamin A which can be toxic to dogs in high quantities. And too much white rice can lead to a rise in blood sugar.
Also, as noted above, avoid giving them foods that have too much salt, sugars or other sweeteners or additives. And be sure to remove bones or other potential choking hazards (ie. pits) from any human food you give them.
Human Foods That Are Harmful For Dogs
Here are foods you definitely want to avoid feeding your dog:
- Almonds and Macadamia nuts
- Ice cream
A Deeper Dive Into Common Human Foods for Dogs
The above lists are a high level overview of some human foods that are either healthy or harmful to dogs. If you want to get a more in depth look at specific foods and whether or not you should give them to your dogs, check out the list below.
These all link to articles about each type of food, whether or not they are safe for dogs and, if they are, any precautions you should take before you give them to your dog. We’ll be adding more foods over time so be sure to bookmark this page (or sign up for notification from our site) to get notified when we publish new content.