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December 17

Dog Health Part 8: Human Food [2021 UPDATE]

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Human Food For Dogs - Introduction


Humans and dogs have a very different digestive and metabolism system.

However, we tend to forget this fact when we share our favorite foods with our canine pals.

Feeding your dog human food has many negative implications on their body. 

There are certain fruits and vegetables, which when eaten by dogs can create havoc on their system and cause different health-related problems to them.

However, there are many others which when introduced to a dog’s diet works well enough

They even provide certain health benefits such as allergy immunity, better breath, and joint strength.

Be mindful of the fact that even these healthy foods when fed to the dog in excess can become the cause of canine obesity which is a major health concern.


So to answer a commonly asked question, "should dogs eat human food", the answer - in moderation.

 

Here in this article, we will discuss the foods that should be and should not be fed to your furry friends.


What Human Food can dogs eat?


Though there are many human food items that are suitable for dogs, they should be given in moderation. There are people who often question their vets on questions.

These questions can range from “Can dogs eat human food” to “Can I feed my dog human food every day instead of dog food” to “Can dogs eat watermelon" to even “can dogs eat rice’.

Do remember that the health and safety of your furry friend is of utmost importance whenever you opt human food for dogs rather than dog food.

Here we will first discuss some of the best human foods for dogs.


Apples

Apples are a great fruit to be added to your canine’s diet. They are a rich source of some important vitamins like Vitamin A and C.

They are also a healthy source of good fiber which helps in regulating the digestion of the dog.

However, do take care that you do not feed them rotten apples as they can cause alcohol poisoning in them.


Carrots

Carrots are one of the safest food to be fed to your dogs. 

They can be given in both cooked and raw form. In fact, it is a great human food for dogs that can also be used for snacking. 

They promote good dental health in canines by removing the plaque from the teeth. They are also a rich source of Vitamin A.

This vitamin is especially beneficial for the immune system of the dog as well as the general appearance like coat and skin.

However, be mindful of the fact that even too much of Vitamin A can prove to be toxic. So it is best to give carrots to your dog in moderation.


Rice

Rice is a common food in humans that is taken in almost every household.

That’s why people often question their pet regarding "can dogs eat rice".

Plain white rice cooked simply is a great human food for dogs suffering from an upset stomach.

This is because it is easily digestible and also helps in binding of the stool.

However, white rice also causes a rise in their blood sugar so special care should be taken when giving it to dogs with diabetes.


Bread

Small amount of plain bread without raisins and spices is completely permissible for dogs. However, it has no accompanying health benefits.

The nutritional value is zero for your dogs but is a source of calories and carbohydrates just like it is for humans.

It is better to give homemade bread rather than store brought versions as they contain some unnecessary preservatives.


Fish

Fish is an important source of protein for dogs. 

Almost all varieties of fish such as salmon, tuna, and shrimp are completely safe for dogs.

In fact, some of them like tuna and salmon are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These help in keeping the immune system of the dog healthy as well as take care of your dog’s skin and coat.

The vitamin B present in the shrimp helps in maintaining the digestive system of the dog as well as promotes a healthy blood circulation in them.

However, never give your dog raw fish as it may contain some very harmful parasites. Always cook it before feeding it to your dogs.


Ham

It is ok for the dogs to eat ham but it is certainly not the healthiest option for them.

It is high in fat and sodium which makes it good for an occasional bite for the dogs but not as a complete meal.


Eggs

Eggs are a safe human food for the dogs provided they are completely cooked.

Cooked eggs are a great source of protein for your canine partner. 

They are also a great option when the dog is suffering from an upset stomach. Never feed your dog raw eggs as they contribute to causing biotin deficiency in them.

 So be sure to remember to cook them all the way before adding it to your pet’s diet.


Watermelon

People often wonder regarding the question, “Can dogs eat watermelon”. Yes, they can! Watermelon is a health powerhouse food for the dogs.

It is rich in nutrients and vitamins like potassium and Vitamin A, B6 and C as well as low in calories.

Since it is mostly water, it is a great option to feed your dogs watermelon on a hot sunny day.

You can even freeze some watermelon cubes to make for a good cool down diet for your dog!


Peanut butter

Peanut butter is a great source of protein. In fact, it is often used as a treat for dogs.

Not just protein, it is a powerhouse of niacin, several heart-healthy fats, as well as vitamins like Vitamin B and E.

Vitamin B, keeps the coat and skin of your dog healthy. Vitamin E helps in boosting the immune system of the dog thus ensuring that he or she does not get sick.

However, though it is good as an occasional treat, too much of this can not only cause obesity but also pancreatitis in dogs.

Always make sure to choose raw unsalted versions over others.

Also, check the ingredients list of the butter to ensure that it does not contain xylitol. 

This sugar substitute substance is not harmful to you much but is incredibly toxic for dogs.        


Chicken

Chicken is a great option for you if you are unable to feed your dog fish.

However, only plain boiled chicken with no seasoning or salt should be given to the dogs. It is also essential to remove all bones from the same.

This is because they can prove to be a choking hazard for the dogs and can even cause tearing of the digestive tract or the windpipe.

When prepared in the correct way, chicken offers several health benefits such as amino acid glucosamine for healthy bones, lean protein for energy and sustenance, amino acids for essential body functions and vitamin B which helps in boosting the metabolism of the dog.

It is also a storehouse of healthy antioxidants that boost the immune system in your pets and help them in fighting off the infections easily.

P.S. As a side note, chicken makes for a great treat when you do food training with your dog.

It's also great when paired with the other training methods, as outlined here in the Golden rules of dog training.


Dairy Products

Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are okay to be given to your pet occasionally.

However, too much of the same can cause digestive problems in them.

This is because dogs have a low level of a digestive enzyme called lactase which helps in breaking down the sugars in milk.

However, avoid this category of food if your dog is lactose intolerant. 

Though it is highly rare, it is still possible.


Oatmeal

This is a great source of soluble fiber for dogs and is also a good option for senior dogs suffering from bowel irregularity issues.

It is best to cook the oatmeal without adding any seasoning or sugar before serving it to your dog.


Oh, go ahead and use the above ingredients and combine them into something delicious and home made for your dogs!


Human food dogs can’t eat

 

Under this section, we will discuss the foods that may be perfectly safe for humans but are highly dangerous for dogs to have.

Not only can they cause problems in your dog but they can also be the reason for certain illnesses.

If you ever suspect that your dog has eaten something dangerous from this list, call your vet immediately.


Chocolate

This is not just an urban myth. Caffeine in any form is a dangerous human food for dogs.

This is especially true in the case of chocolates. Chocolates contain a toxic substance called methylxanthines which is dangerous for the dogs.

Not only do they cause vomiting, seizures or an abnormal heart rate, this chemical can completely stop the metabolic process of a dog.

Even a little amount of chocolate can cause death. Do not keep any chocolates in an accessible place. Contact a vet immediately if your dog does ingest some.

Vanilla ice cream is fine, CHOCOLATE ice cream is NOT.


Grapes and raisins

Never ever feed your dogs raisins or grapes!

They contain several toxic compounds that can cause rapid kidney failure and even death in some cases.

Even a small amount can be dangerous for your dog. It is best to avoid even the products that may contain any chance of raisins or grapes.


Macadamia Nuts

Dogs can never ever have macadamia nuts.

This is because they contain an unknown toxic substance that can cause several dangerous health issues in dogs.

Even a small amount of ingested can cause muscle weakness, vomiting, hyperthermia, depression, and tremors.

In addition, they also have a high-fat content that can elevate the triglyceride levels of the dog leading to pancreatitis.


Onions and Garlic

Dogs should never ever eat onions and garlic.

This is because they come from the family of allium plants which are highly toxic to the dogs. Poisoning from onions and garlic can cause anemia in dogs.

They also cause certain dangerous side effects such as elevated heart rate, weakness, pale gums, and even collapse.

 Garlic and onion poisoning may also have delayed symptoms. So it is best to keep a check on your dog for a few days if he or she has ingested some accidentally.


Excessively salty foods

Too much salt should be avoided in a dog’s diet.

This is because it can cause sodium poisoning along with other side effects such as excessive urination and thirst.

Keep a check for salt poisoning in your pet.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, high temperature, or even seizures.


Bread dough

Though bread is a completely safe human food for the dogs, the bread dough can be very dangerous for them.

This is because the yeast present in the dough keeps on increasing in their stomach causing bloating as well as other dangerous complications.

The yeast in bread dough also produces ethanol which can cause alcohol poisoning in dogs.


Alcohol

Never ever give your dog alcohol in any form! 

It is a very dangerous human food for the dog and can lead to several serious health complications such as coma and death.

No alcohol for dogs, EVER.


Conclusion


After going through this list, now you must know which foods are safe and nutritious for your dog.

However, feeding your human food, even the permissible ones, in large quantities can cause several health issues in the dogs.

Always consult your veterinarian before giving any of these foods to the dogs, especially if your dog suffers from diabetes, weight issues, food intolerances, kidney or liver diseases or any other health concerns.

Remember, there are some foods that are healthy, then there are some that are harmful and there are even some that can be deadly.

Human food for dogs should be gradually introduced in a dog’s diet in order to monitor him or her for any adverse reactions.

The rule of thumb is to give every food in moderation.

This is because every dog is different. Human food that is tolerated by one in a good manner may make the other experience adverse effects.

It is always good to give your dog a treat every once in a while. But do make sure that you are giving him or her only the foods that are non-toxic to them.

For any more specific questions regarding the meal size as well as health issues, consult your vet



about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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