Before we welcomed Barry into our lives, I didn’t really have much idea of which foods are unsafe for dogs. I knew that chocolate was a big no-no but that’s about it. Over the years I’ve found that there are actually hundreds of human foods which are incredibly unsafe for dogs, but also that some human foods can be very beneficial to our four-legged friends. I’ve compiled a list of safe and unsafe foods which you should and shouldn’t give to your dog. I’ve displayed it in a handy infographic for quick reference.
This list is by no means exhaustive but does cover some main foods. I would always recommend researching before offering your pooch any new food, but this list should give you a good idea of what to avoid.
The SAFE list.
All of the vegetables on this list are completely safe, and actually beneficial, to feed your dog. Vegetables contain a lot of nutrients and minerals which some dogs’ diets may be lacking. The grumble love carrots best, although Barry is also a huge fan of peas. Vegetables are best served raw when it comes to your four-legged friend. Cooking vegetables causes them to lose a signification portion of their nutritional value, so dogs will gain more from eating them raw. The one exception to this is potato, which should never be fed raw to dogs. Mashed potato is a firm favourite in our household, but make sure you remove the skins.
Most fruits are safe for dogs. Never feed fruit stalks or leaves and always remove the core from apples. As a general rule, if it’s part of the fruit which we don’t eat (pips, stones, rind) then it shouldn’t be fed to your dog. I try to keep fresh fruit to a minimum with Barry, George and Betty. This is due to the high sugar content of some fruits, which can wreak havoc with a dog’s teeth.
This one is a tricky one because it’s so easy to get it wrong. Natural peanut butter is perfectly safe for dogs. Peanut butter which contains xylitol (a sweetener) is incredibly unsafe for your dog, as xylitol is toxic to our canine friends. Most dogs absolutely love peanut butter and it can make a great occasional treat, providing it contains no artificial sweeteners.
I’m yet to meet a dog who doesn’t love cheese. As a matter of fact, when Barry was a puppy he wouldn’t return on recall unless you shouted the word ‘cheese’. It made us look insane walking along the beach shouting “cheese!” at the top of our lungs. Cheese is absolutely fine to give to dogs, but make sure it’s mild cheddar only. Cheese should be fed sparingly due to the high fat content and also because dogs struggle to digest dairy.
Eggs are a great way of getting protein into your dog’s diet. Some people feed them raw (shell included!) but I personally scramble them for the grumble. Scrambled eggs, made without milk, are also a great bland food to feed your pooch when they are felling unwell or are recovering from an operation.
If you’re going to give your dog a drink of milk then please make sure it’s goat’s milk and not cow’s milk. Cow’s milk contains a lot of lactose, which dogs struggle to digest. Cow’s milk serves no nutritional purpose whatsoever when it comes to canines, rather like us humans eating dirt.
The AVOID list.
One of the worst foods you can give a dog due to its high toxicity. This applies to all variations of the onion, including shallots and leeks. Although garlic is part of the onion family, some people claim it’s safe to give to dogs in very small doses. I’m personally not sold on this idea though, so I avoid giving my dogs raw garlic.
Grapes and Raisins
Both are very toxic to dogs. If you’d like to treat your dog to a piece of fruit, try one from the safe list.
This one should be pretty obvious. Barry loves to steal a bit of Guinness when no one is looking though, and if you leave a fruit cider on the coffee table George will have it. A small lick of beer or cider is not going to do your dog any harm, but please don’t give them a whole bowl of lager just because they like it.
Can cause poisoning in dogs. A lot of people I know are happy to give their dogs small cups of tea or coffee on a regular basis. A small lap of milky tea or coffee will do no damage, but it’s not something I would feed my dogs personally. Try a nice cup of warmed goat’s milk instead.
This is the big one. We all know it’s bad for dogs, yet I still see (on a daily basis) people on social media stating that they give their dog chocolate. I cannot fathom why they would want to. It’s just not worth the risk. Dark chocolate is the worst kind of chocolate to give your pooch due to its high cocoa content, but I wouldn’t ever give my dog any chocolate. They don’t gain anything from it so you might as well give them something healthy and tasty.
Many sweets contain xylitol so it’s best not to give these to your dog. If your pooch accidentally manages to eat a whole packet of wine gums it probably won’t cause too much of a problem, aside from a squiffy tummy, providing there is no xylitol in the ingredients. I wouldn’t feed my dog sweets due to the high sugar content.
Most dogs love ice cream but it’s actually pretty bad for them. It has a high sugar content (bad for their teeth) and is made from dairy, which dogs do not digest well. If it’s a warm day and you want to feed your pooch something refreshing, try blending fruits from the safe list and freezing them in an ice-cube tray.
Corn on the Cob
You can give dogs sweetcorn as a healthy treat, providing you don’t give them the cob. The cob is not easily digested and can cause blockages which can make your dog seriously ill.
Never feed your dog any food that has mould on it as it has a high toxicity in dogs. I read online recently about a dog who managed to get into a bin and eat a piece of mouldy bread. Sadly the dog died. Pooch-proof your bins to ensure your dogs cannot get to any food waste.
Salt isn’t actually harmful to dogs but I’ve included it on the avoid list because it won’t do your dog much good. Salt can cause issues in dogs when fed regularly and/or in high doses as it can cause sodium poisoning. Salt is best avoided, but the occasional salty snack will do no hard (nor any good!).
So there we have it – a list of ‘human’ foods that you can and can’t give to your four legged friend. Do you have any human foods which you love to feed your dogs? The grumble absolutely love apple and regularly share one.