What can dogs eat? If you can feed your pet bananas, blueberries or watermelon - and dangerous foods dogs can’t eat

While some foods, such as chocolate, are well known to be toxic for dogs, others aren’t quite as obvious

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 3:18 pm
You might be surprised by some of the items your dog should avoid eating (Photo: Shutterstock)
You might be surprised by some of the items your dog should avoid eating (Photo: Shutterstock)

From bananas to apples and cheese, dogs are usually desperate to have a bite of any food you have on your plate, and it’s often hard to say no to puppy eyes.

However, you need to be careful when it comes to your dog’s diet, as many foods that are fine for our bodies can actually be extremely dangerous for our four-legged companions.

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This is a guide to the foods that are good for your dog - and foods you should avoid at all costs.

What foods are dangerous for my dog?

Onions, garlic and chives

The onion family, whether raw or cooked, is extremely toxic for dogs and can cause gastrointestinal irritation, and red blood cell damage, leading to anemia.

Chocolate

Many dog owners are aware that chocolate is poisonous for dogs, but in case you didn’t know, chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine which is toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.

Dark chocolate has the highest content of theobromine.

Avocados

While many of us love avocado on our toast in the morning, this is another one that’s poisonous for dogs.

Avocado plants contain a substance called persin, which can be found in its leaves, fruit and seed, which, if eaten by a dog, can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Peanut butter

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that’s found in a lot of foods, like diet and sugar free products, but the problem here is that it can be found in some peanut butters.

Peanut butter is a well loved treat among dogs, so make sure if you’re giving some to your pet, check the ingredient list and ensure there’s no xylitol.

Xylitol can cause liver failure and blood clotting disorders in dogs.

Grapes and raisins

The active ingredient found in grapes and raisins that’s dangerous to dogs is actually unknown, however they are extremely toxic for dogs as they can cause severe liver damage, kidney failure and even prove fatal.

Macadamia nuts

There is a toxin in macadamia nuts that can affect your dog’s muscles and nervous system.

Citrus fruits

While a small amount of unpeeled citrus fruits might be alright for your pup, the citric acid can cause an upset stomach, and in larger quantities can potentially damage the dog’s nervous system.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are generally fine once in a while, however they do contain something called solanine, which can be harmful. This component is mostly found in the leaves and stems of the tomatoes, so those with tomato plants in their gardens should be careful.

Tomato sauces and soups are also likely to contain other ingredients dogs shouldn’t have, like onions, garlic or high levels of sugar, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Raw potatoes

Potatoes are part of the nightshade family of vegetables, the same as tomatoes, and so they also contain solanine.

Cooking reduces the level of solanine, so if you want to feed your dog some potato, it should be baked or boiled with nothing added to it. Chips and other potatoes fried in oil or butter are not healthy for dogs.

Butter

While dogs can technically eat butter, it’s not a good option for your dog as it’s mostly just saturated fat with no health benefits. But if your dog has consumed some butter, they will probably be fine.

Gingerbread

While ginger itself is fine for dogs in moderation, gingerbread usually contains nutmeg in its ingredients list, which has a toxin called myristicin which doesn’t sit well with dogs’ stomachs.

Gingerbread as well is high in sugar and fat, which are also harmful to dogs.

Spicy foods

In short, your dog should be kept away from spicy foods, as they can be toxic to them and can cause stomach problems like pain, diarrhea and gas as well as vomiting.

Jam

While jam isn’t poisonous to dogs, it’s not recommended due to its high sugar content, so it’s best to be avoided.

What foods can I give my dog?

Bananas

Bananas are great, low calorie treats for your dog, and they’re high in potassium, vitamins, biotin and copper, as well as being low in cholesterol and sodium.

However, due to the high sugar content, they should be reserved as an occasional treat and not a regular feature in your dog's diet.

Apples

Apples are a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. They’re low in protein and high in fat which makes them a great snack - just remember to remove the seeds and core first.

Chicken

Cooked chicken is absolutely safe for your dogs to eat. Any unseasoned roasted, poached, grilled or baked chicken is great for your dog.

You should be aware that some dogs can be allergic to chicken, and it ranks among the top 10 allergy-inducing ingredients.

You should also be sure to take any bones out of the chicken - cooked chicken bones can splitter easily, which could cause your dog to choke, or suffer a gastrointestinal tract puncture.

Cheese

Dogs can have cheese as long as it's a small amount and it's only very occasionally given.

Cheese itself isn’t toxic to dogs (except for blue cheese), but some cheeses do have added ingredients that can cause a dog harm, like onion and garlic.

Many dogs can actually be lactose intolerant or have a lactose allergy, so just be aware of that.

Eggs

Eggs are high in protein and contain loads of essential amino acids and fatty acids. Some people feed their dogs raw eggs, but most vets recommend cooking eggs before feeding them, as long as they are cooked or boiled plain without oil, butter, salt or any other additives.

Bones

Raw meaty bones, like raw chicken wings, are great for your dogs teeth and gums, as well as provide extra nutrition.

However, bones should always be fed to your dog raw - cooked bones splinter easily and can cause internal injuries.

Strawberries

Strawberries make a great treat for dogs, and are full of healthy nutrients - however, due to the high sugar content, should only be enjoyed in moderation.

Beans

All types of beans are safe for dogs to eat, as long as they’ve been prepared plain with no extra additives.

Pork

Unseasoned, cooked pork is safe for dogs to eat, however they should only be given it in small portions as the high fat content is hard for them to digest.

Rice

White rice is great for a dog with an upset stomach as it is easy for them to digest. However, dogs that are diabetic should only be given small amounts as it can cause their blood sugar to spike.

Broccoli

Dogs can absolutely enjoy broccoli, either raw or cooked (as long as there has been no extra seasonings or oil added to it during cooking).

It should only be enjoyed in small quantities though, as broccoli does include something called isothiocyanates, which can irritate your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

Tuna

If you’re looking to serve your dog cooked tuna, either bake it or boil it in terms of cooking, and make sure to skip all the seasonings, also ensuring all the bones are removed.

Alternatively, you can go for canned tuna - just make sure that the tuna is packed in water and not in oil, and that it doesn’t contain any extra seasonings or oil.

Tuna shouldn’t be part of your dog's regular diet, but it can be served every once in a while.

Sweetcorn

Your dog can absolutely have sweetcorn, as long as they have no allergies. They should only be fed the kernels only, and never on the cob.

Sweetcorn should be served to your dog as an occasional snack or treat.

Bread

Plain white or wheat bread is generally safe for your dog to eat, although it can be high in sugar, so should only be the occasional snack.

Mushrooms

The mushrooms that we’re able to get at the supermarket are generally safe for dogs when eaten in small amounts.

However, you should be vigilant with wild mushrooms your dog might eat when out and about on a walk, as the UK has thousands of species of mushrooms and telling toxic varieties apart from other mushrooms is extremely difficult.

Blueberries

Blueberries are a great healthy snack for your pups, and are a good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more.

Coriander

A lot of herbs are not good for your dog, however coriander is perfectly fine and non-toxic.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are perfectly fine for your dogs, and are rich in fibre and antioxidants, but only in small amounts.

Aubergine

Aubergine is not poisonous for dogs and can be served raw or cooked plain, either by grilling, baking or roasting.

Watermelon

Watermelon is low in calories and full of nutrients, like vitamins A, B6, C and potassium.

You should make sure all the seeds are removed as this can cause intestinal blockage, and it’s a good idea to avoid letting you dog chew on the rind as well as this can cause an upset stomach.