“What foods can dogs eat?” is a common question among dog parents. The desire to share food with your pup is natural. Food is love after all. It can be confusing to know what’s appropriate to feed your dog and what may be toxic. In this article, I am going to share foods to avoid sharing with your pup, as well as some of the best whole foods to add to your pup’s diet to boost their health.
Toxic food for dogs.
Some of what we love to eat are actually toxic for our dogs. These foods include:
- Onions. When dogs eat onions, their red blood cells can be damaged. Onion powder is more toxic compared with an onion. Be sure to read labels of flavoring and broths.
- Chocolate (check out a good chocolate toxicity calculator here). Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, a fast heart rate, agitation, tremors, seizures and sometimes death. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic.
- Macadamia nuts. These nuts cause a number of strange and scary symptoms in dogs including weakness, tremors and other neurological signs.
- Grapes and raisins. This fruit can cause kidney damage in dogs. It’s best to avoid having these in your house if you have a dog.
- Xylitol (this is an artificial sweetener commonly found in chewing gum, low-fat drinks and some peanut butter). This alcohol sugar causes injury to the liver and can cause dangerous dips in blood sugar.
If your dog eats any of these toxic foods, it’s best to call your veterinarian right away to determine the next steps. If your veterinarian is unavailable, Pet Poison Helpline is an excellent resource. There will be a marginal fee for their time, and it’s well worth every penny! Collect as much information as you can for them on the toxic food your dog ate – including ingredient labels if possible, time ingested, as well as estimated quantity consumed.
Healthy foods for dogs.
So what foods can dogs eat? There are a lot more healthy whole food options for dogs than there are toxic ones. In fact, I prefer to use the term “whole foods” versus “human food” for this reason. Adding whole foods into your dog’s diet is an excellent way to boost the quality of their diet.
Excellent whole food options for your dog
- Sweet potato
- Nut butters
- Coconut yogurt
- Shredded lean chicken
A couple pro-tip for adding healthy whole foods into your pup’s diet:
- Add only small amounts and single ingredients to start. Don’t exceed approximately 10% of your pet’s diet.
- If you want to home cook for your dog, check out Dr. Angie’s blog here.
What about bones?
When you are wondering “what foods can dogs eat”, cooked bones are always on the ‘no’ list. Never feed these to your dog, as they are brittle and can splinter, damaging the intestine, as well as the risk of obstruction. Keep cooked bones out of reach, and if you have a trash hound, take the trash out right after discarding cooked bones.
Here’s the unwanted truth: even raw bones are not 100% safe.
How your dog handles raw bones is entirely up to them, but there will always be some risk involved. Some dogs are very responsible with eating raw bones, whereas others are not. For example, many dogs will inhale bones faster than the speed of light, risking obstruction in the intestines. If you brush your dog’s teeth, that’s a great time to assess for any fractured (broken) teeth. Without treatment, fractured teeth can become abscessed and painful. A dentistry with full mouth radiographs (under general anesthesia) would be required for full assessment and treatment. Adding the other healthy whole foods we talked about will be healthy and enriching enough and definitely safer.
Food is definitely a love language for our pups! If you were wondering “what foods can dogs eat?”, I hope that this article has helped you determine what’s good, and what’s not when it comes to whole foods for your dog. Leave a comment below and let’s keep chatting!
Lots of love,