Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Here are the do's and don'ts of feeding your dog human food.

Knowing what food your dog can eat is vital to the health of your pet.  Even though you treat your dog like a member of your family, (sometimes even your favorite one!), dogs have a different digestive system than humans so it's important to know what foods are good and bad. It's not safe to assume that because humans can eat it dogs can too. On the flip side, not all human food is bad for dogs — you may know people who cook for their dogs because they think that is healthier than commercial dog food.

The number of US households with dogs as pets was estimated at 89.7 million in 2107. Unfortunately, each year a number of these pets accidentally get sick and some even die from eating foods that are safe for humans but toxic to our four-legged friends. Some of these poisonous foods will cause minor discomfort in dogs — vomit or diarrhea — while others can do more damage and effect their nervous system and heart function. Knowledge is the best form of prevention, so if you are a dog owner, you need to know what foods can your dog eat and which they can't.

And you need to make sure anyone else who spends time around your dog knows as well, especially children who might feed their snacks to your dog. Even if you don't cook your dog's food or feed them food from the table, knowing what foods are toxic will help you keep the items on the bad list out of your pup's reach. 

Read on to see what foods your dog should never eat and the symptoms to look for it you think they have. Also, find information about the human foods you should limit for your pup, as well as the human foods your dog can eat, and why they may actually be healthy for them.

Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate? Absolutely Not

Chocolate is commonly responsible for pet poisoning, and it's typically one we all know about. But did you know that all forms of chocolate are toxic to dogs? That means milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and anything containing cocoa should be kept away from dogs. Symptoms of poisoning will occur in two to four hours. They include restlessness, thirst, vomiting, and incontinence. Because the compounds in chocolate can effect their nervous system as well as their heart, they might also appear excited or have a rapid heart rate. Prompt treatment is essential for recovery. Delayed or no treatment can lead to seizures, coma, or death.

Can Dogs Eat Xylitol (Sweetener)? Definitely Not

This sweetener is becoming more popular for human consumption. It is found in gum, sugar-free candies, toothpaste, mouthwash, gummy vitamins, and other sugar-free foods, as well as some over-the-counter medications. Because it's found as an ingredient is such a diverse number of foods, you have to look for it in the list of ingredients. It is very toxic to dogs. The symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs appear within 10-60 minutes. Because xylitol is absorbed so quickly into the dog's bloodstream, the dog's body releases too much insulin into the bloodstream, causing a dramatic drop in their blood sugar level, which, untreated, can lead to seizures, liver failure, and even death.

Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Can Dogs Eat Onions? Never

All members of the onion family, including onions, garlic, shallots, chives, and scallions, whether raw or cooked, are toxic to dogs. And, they are found in many of the foods we commonly eat, including soups, sandwiches, pizza, and tomato sauce just to name a few. The compound in onions called thiosulphate can cause a dog's red blood cells to burst.The symptoms of dog poisoning can appear a day or several days after consumption, and depend on how much is ingested. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. Because the dog can develop anemia, they may show symptoms such as weakness, rapid breathing, elevated heart rate, and reddish or brown urine. Partial paralysis and muscle weakness are also symptoms of onion poisoning.

Can Dogs Have Alcohol? Nope

You or someone you know might think it's funny to give a dog alcohol. But alcohol poisoning in dogs is real. And it can come from beer, wine, or a cocktail, but it can also be a result of ingesting rotten apples, uncooked bread, or uncooked pizza dough. Symptoms occur quickly, and can include vomiting or nausea and dizziness. They may also experience excessive thirst and urinating. Depending on how much they ingest and their size, they also might experience muscle tremors, paralysis, difficulty breathing, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Can Dogs Eat Grapes? Certainly Not

Grapes and their cousins, raisins, currants and sultanas are all potentially toxic to dogs. They are also found in a variety of foods such as trail mix, snack bars, and baked goods. It is not fully know why grapes are toxic to some dogs, since some dogs reportedly experience no symptoms from eating them. But why would you take a chance with your fur-baby, since grapes can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and lethargy. In the most severe cases, eating grapes or raisins has caused kidney failure in dogs. It's best to consider grapes as a toxic to your dog.

Can Dogs Drink Hops? No

Hops are used to brew beer. Home brewing has recently become more popular, and some people are even growing their own hops. So, dog owners need to be aware that hops are toxic to dogs. All parts of the plant are toxic to pups, but they may not be as appetizing due to the bitter flavor. Once the flowers have been boiled for brewing they are less bitter, and are therefore more likely to be consumed. Symptoms may appear quickly, the most common being elevated body temperature, heavy breathing, and restlessness. They may also experience abdominal pain and vomiting. Some dogs will have seizures and abnormal blood clotting. Death can occur in as little as six hours after ingesting, meaning immediate treatment is essential for recovery.

Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Can Dogs Have Caffeine? Never, Ever

It's very simple: Never give your dog anything with caffeine. It can be fatal. Keep all such foods far from your dog's potential reach. This includes coffee grounds and used tea bags. Symptoms may appear within one to two hours of ingesting, and can include mild to severe hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, as well as abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, fever, seizures, and collapsing. Seek treatment for your pet immediately if you think they ingested caffeine.

Can Dogs Eat Macadamia Nuts? No Way

Macadamia nuts can make your dog seriously ill. Although they have not been linked to death in dogs, they can make them seriously ill, with symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, fever and inability to walk. These symptoms may develop within 12 hours of eating this nut. So keep these treats for yourself, and well out of reach of your pup.

Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Can Dogs Eat Nutmeg? Nope

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, nutmeg should not be given to dogs. It can cause severe stomach upset and can agitate their nervous system too. Nutmeg contains Myristica, a compound that's toxic to dogs. Remember, especially if you have a small dog, even a seemingly small amount of this spice could be enough to make them ill. However, a large amount of nutmeg would have to be ingested to make them gravely ill, and this is probably unlikely if they eat food with nutmeg in it. 

Can Dogs Eat Avocado? No, No, No

Parts of the avocado are toxic to dogs. Avocados can cause vomiting, diarrhea, bowel obstruction, and pancreatitis. While the fruit itself is not poisonous, the skin, leaves and tree bark are, and the pit can be a real choking hazard.

Can Dogs Eat Walnuts? Probably Not

Use caution when feeding your dog anything that might contain walnuts. And, if you have a walnut tree in your yard, clean up any fallen nuts your dog might try to chew on. While some claim walnuts are harmless to dogs, they caution that a mold grows on walnuts that is highly toxic to dogs. Furthermore, there is a possibility that a dog might not thoroughly chew the nut and it could cause an obstruction in the GI tract.

Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes? Yes And No

Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family. The plants are toxic to dogs, as are unripe fruit. So if you grow tomatoes, keep them in an area your dog can't get to. Eating the plants and unripe fruit can cause GI track issues, seizures, or tremors. As for the ripe fruit, dogs can generally eat it in moderation.

Can Dogs Eat Peppers? Maybe

Moderation is key when giving all vegetables to your dog. Peppers are one of those vegetables that your dog will probably do fine with, as long as you don't feed them too much. Too much green or red pepper or spicy peppers can give your dog diarrhea or even cause vomiting, according to Smart Dog Owners.

Can Dogs Eat Parsley? In Small Amounts

According to Antigravity, parsley can cause photosensitization and something called "ocular toxicity" in your dog. This could lead to seizures if your dog eats a lot of parsley. While they also report that some veterinarians think parsley may be good for dogs, it may be best to avoid giving much to your dog.

Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Can Dogs Eat Pecans And Hickory Nuts? Better To Avoid

Pecans and hickory nuts contain a toxin called juglone, which can give your dog an upset stomach. In addition, if they aren't chewed completely, they can cause an obstruction along their digestive tract. Like walnuts, moldy pecans can also be highly toxic to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Cranberries? Best To Avoid

Although cranberries are not poisonous to your dog, eating too many may give them a tummy ache. In addition, many times dried cranberries are mixed in with dried raisins, which are very toxic to dogs, and could easily be mistaken for dried cranberries.

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes? Yes And No

Raw potatoes and potato plants are toxic to dogs. Like tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family, potato plants and raw potatoes contain a compound, solanine, which is toxic to dogs. If you grow potatoes in your garden, don't allow your dog to eat the plants or dig up and eat the potatoes. It is ok to give your dog a little cooked potato.

Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Can Dogs Eat Eggs? It depends

Dog can eat eggs if they are cooked. Cooked eggs are a source of protein and other nutrients that are healthy for dogs. However, raw eggs can contain salmonella and raw egg whites can cause biotin deficiency.

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes? Some Parts Are Edible

Sweet potatoes are a favorite human food to give dogs, but did you know the skins are not good for our four-legged friends? The skins from sweet potatoes are difficult for your dog to digest and can upset their stomach. Make sure you cook sweet potatoes well so that they are very soft before feeding them to your dog. Well cooked sweet potatoes contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron, among other nutrients, which are good for your dog.

Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Can Dogs Eat Bacon? It's Not A Good Idea

Your dog probably wants to eat that slice of bacon more than you do, but bacon isn't good for your dog. Nor are other fatty meats or meat trimmings. Bacon is generally high in fat and salt, neither one is good for your dog. High fat foods can lead to stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and a loss of appetite. The high salt content in bacon can possibly cause the dog's stomach to swell or twist the intestines, both of which can be deadly if they aren’t surgically corrected. The pancreas can become painfully inflamed when a large amount of bacon (and its fat) is eaten, a condition called pancreatitis.

Can Dogs Have Dairy? Maybe In Small Amounts

Your dog might love dairy products, but they might not love your dog back. Dogs' digestive systems are not set up to handle dairy. And while dairy isn't poisonous, it can give your dog diarrhea and other digestive issues. It may also trigger other allergies so it's best to avoid.

Can Dogs Eat Potato Chips? Not A Good Idea

Your dog might think your salty chips and pretzels look delicious, but they are very high in salt. And your dog is probably smaller than you, so consuming these salty foods could actually harm your dog. Not only can too much salt make your dog excessively thirsty, it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, according to WebMD. So, keep salty treats away, no matter how much they beg.

Everything Your Dog Should (And Shouldn't) Eat

Can Dogs Eat Carrots? Yes

Carrots are a great source of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. Raw carrots are also good for your dog's teeth. They are lower calorie than other rewards like dog treats and biscuits.

Can Dogs Eat Blueberries? Yes Indeed

Although they can pose a risk for choking, in general blueberries are a healthy treat for your dog. They are high in antioxidants and fiber and relatively low in sugar.

Can Dogs Eat Bananas? Why, Yes

Your dog may always beg for your food, and here is a food that you can feed your dog without worry. They are high in potassium, magnesium, and fiber.