Foods you can give your dog. Human foods You can feed your furry friends.

Before you decide on mixing your dog’s diet up with some human food, you should always keep in mind that our canine friends have a different digestive system and metabolize foods differently.

This means that there are some ingredients that may be potentially harmful and toxic for them. However, there are also many foods that prove to be perfectly safe and nutritious for dogs. Here we look at the 20 best human food for dogs that may benefit your furry friend’s health.

Carrots

Carrots are low in calories and abundant in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Introducing them to your dog’s diet can boost his immune system and aid proper digestion. Besides, munching on a carrot can benefit your dog’s dental health by mechanically removing plaque from his teeth! While carrots are a perfect healthy treat, do not feed them to your pup excessively. They contain a high amount of vitamin A, which is beneficial to dogs’ eye health, but too much of it can be toxic. It is best to consult your veterinarian on the correct dosage. [1, 2, 3]

Pro tip

Cut carrots into bite-size pieces to help your dog’s digestion and to prevent choking. If your pup has a sensitive stomach and may have problems digesting raw carrots, slightly boil them first.

Apples

Apples are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all of which can benefit your dog’s well being. Chewing apples can also be a great help to your pup’s dental health, as they clean residue off his teeth and freshen his breath. However, before feeding apples to your dog, always remove the seeds! They contain cyanide, which can be toxic to dogs if digested in high amounts. [4, 5]

Pro tip

Cut apples into slices before feeding them to your dog. If your dog is a small pup, you may even consider dicing them to help him bite and digest more easily. 

Coconut

Coconut is known to help with bad breath and skin problems like itchy skin, hot spots, and flea allergies. It also contains lauric acid, which helps combat various bacteria and viruses. It is safe to add coconut meat or oil to your dog’s diet, however, keep in mind that coconut is high in calories and fat and may lead to weight gain if fed in large amounts. This means it is better to feed your furry friend coconut as a treat only once in a while. [6, 7, 8]

Pro tip

Appropriate serving size depends on your dog’s size – ¼ teaspoon for small breeds to 1 tbsp a day for large breeds.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter may serve as an excellent source of protein for your dog. It is abundant in vitamins B and E, niacin, and heart-healthy fats. Vitamin E is essential for your dog’s immune system, heart, and liver. Vitamin B and niacin help your dog keep healthy skin and coat. Despite its many benefits, keep in mind that too much peanut butter in your pup’s diet can lead to weight gain and pancreatitis and should not be eaten excessively. Also, always read the label carefully and choose only raw, unsalted, and unsweetened peanut butter. Before feeding it to your pooch, be 100% sure that it does not contain xylitol – a sugar substitute toxic to dogs. [9, 10]

Pro tip

Stuff your dog’s Kong dog toy with peanut butter. It is a perfect stimulating activity that will keep him busy for hours!

Yogurt

Plain yogurt contains high amounts of calcium, which promotes your dog’s dental and bone health. Active bacteria, present in yogurt can strengthen his digestive system. If you plan to treat your pup with yogurt, it is best to stick to plain ones and avoid any sugared yogurts and those with artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol. Typically, the best choice for our canine friends is Greek yogurt, as it contains less lactose than the regular one. You can also try to feed your pup unsweetened and unflavored kefir. [11, 12, 13]

Pro tip

Yogurt is an excellent dog snack for all seasons. Frozen cubes of yogurt will keep your pooch cool in the summer, while in other seasons regular yogurt will simply keep him healthy. Small breeds can have 1-2 teaspoons per day, medium breeds – 1-2 tbsp, while large breeds can eat up to 4 tbsp.

Cooked eggs

Eggs provide most of the essential vitamins, minerals, and a lot of protein. Egg yolks are abundant in biotin, which strengthens your dog’s coat and skin, and aids in tissue repair. Some dog owners also claim that eggs relieve the symptoms of an upset stomach, although there is actually little scientific data behind this claim. While cooked eggs can be really beneficial to your dog, never feed him raw or undercooked eggs. They are high in avidin, an enzyme that prevents biotin absorption and may contribute to hair loss and skin conditions. [14, 15]

Pro tip

While 1 egg per day can be a perfect serving dose for large dogs, smaller breeds should stick to 1-2 eggs per week.

Blueberries

Blueberries are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also provide the highest amount of antioxidants, substances that can help fight anti-radicals, responsible for the aging process. Blueberries are known as a source of phytochemicals, compounds that reduce the risk of cancer in dogs. [16, 17]

Pro tip

There are many ways of feeding your dog blueberries. Let him enjoy them fresh, frozen, mashed, or pureed. You can also combine blueberries with other fruit like bananas, watermelon, or strawberries, for a nutritional and delicious snack.

Watermelon

Watermelon is a yummy and very healthy snack for dogs, as it is low in calories and full of potassium, vitamins A, C, and B6. You can feed your dog watermelon flesh, as long as it does not contain seeds. When swallowed, seeds can cause an intestinal blockage requiring immediate surgery. Also, always remove the rind before sharing watermelon with your pup. The rind (the outer, green skin) can trigger vomiting and severe diarrhea when ingested. [16, 18]

Pro tip

Cut seedless watermelon into bite-size pieces to prevent choking. You can also scoop out the fruit with a melon baller.

Green peas

Green peas are low in calories and full of vitamins A, B1, B6, K, and C. They are a very common ingredient in both dry and wet types of dog food. As green peas are gluten-free, they are very welcomed by dog owners whose dogs have sensitive stomachs. They are also perfect in regulating digestion, thanks to their high fiber content. [19, 20, 21, 22, 23]

Pro tip

Never feed your dog canned peas. They may contain unwanted and potentially harmful additives, like salt or sugar. Fresh or frozen peas are the most healthy options. You can either add them to your pup’s regular meal or serve them as an extra treat.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great source of hardly processed carbohydrates and soluble fiber. This kind of fiber regulates sugar levels in dogs’ blood and helps them in proper digestion. Oatmeal is also abundant in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Thanks to its low gluten content, it is great for dogs with wheat allergies or other grain intolerance. Avoid flavored and instant oatmeals – they may contain artificial sweeteners, sugar, chocolate, or other additives that may be toxic to your dog. It is best to feed him plain, room-temperature oatmeal. [24, 25, 26]

Pro tip

As many dogs can be sensitive to dairy products due to their lactose content, prepare their oatmeal with water instead of milk. One tbsp of cooked oatmeal is enough for every 20 pounds of your dog’s weight, once or twice a week.

Chicken

Chicken is a great source of lean protein and can be found in most store-bought dog food. If prepared in the correct way, chicken is one of the most nutritious and healthy dog meals. To keep your pup safe and healthy, always remove chicken from the bone. Chicken bones pose a choking hazard and can block or puncture your dog’s intestines. Also, serve the chicken plain and completely unseasoned. [27, 28]

Pro tip

You can try to add some chicken to your dog’s regular food or mix it with plain, cooked rice and serve it as an additional treat.

Sweet potatoes

When cooked or baked, sweet potatoes are a healthy and easy to digest snack. They are high in vitamins C and B6 which can boost your pup’s health. Due to their high content of vitamin A, they can support your dog’s immune system, skin and coat, and eye health. However, sweet potatoes should only be an occasional treat, as excessive vitamin A can lead to muscle and bone weakness. Sweet potatoes are high in sugar, so if your dog is diabetic, it is better to consult your vet before adding them to your dog’s diet. [29, 30]

Pro tip

Before feeding sweet potatoes to your pup, make sure to remove the skin. Also, never treat him with raw sweet potatoes – they may cause serious gastrointestinal issues. Instead, you can try boiling, steaming, or baking them. 

Mango

As long as the peel and pit are removed, mangos are a perfectly healthy and yummy treat for your dog. They provide lots of fiber, minerals, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E. When ripe, they are also high in sugar and should be fed to your furry friend only in moderation. [31, 32, 33]

Pro tip

The safest way to serve mango is to cut the fruit into small pieces, to help your dog digest more easily. If your dog is a small pup, it is best to puree the mango, to prevent choking. 

Rice

Brown or white cooked rice is really easy for dogs to digest and can help relieve bellyaches. It is also a great source of carbohydrates, low in fat and sodium. Therefore, it can be a very beneficial meal addition for dogs with high blood pressure. However, diabetic dog owners should remember that white rice has a higher GI (glycemic index) than brown rice, and can cause blood sugar levels to rise. [34, 35]

Pro tip

Before feeding rice to your dog, boil it in plain water without any seasoning or spices. For an extra treat, you can combine it with a little bit of chicken or turkey meat. 

Bananas

Bananas are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and B6. They are high in fiber that can help dogs with gastrointestinal issues. Some dog owners claim that bananas can help relieve bellyaches and nausea in dogs, however, this has not yet been proven by scientific data. Since they contain a lot of sugar, bananas should be given only in moderation. Also, never give your dog a banana peel. It is not toxic but may pose a choking hazard or lead to severe diarrhea and vomiting after digestion. [36]

Pro tip

There are many ways of preparing bananas as a healthy dog treat. You can mash them and mix with your dog’s regular food, feed him a few slices as an occasional snack, or freeze them and cut them into small frozen pieces. 

Strawberries

Strawberries can be a perfect, summer treat for your doggo! They are low in calories, full of vitamin C, antioxidants, and high in fiber. Thanks to the presence of a special enzyme, strawberries are good for maintaining the dental hygiene of your canine friend. [16, 37]

Pro tip

Dogs should never eat canned strawberries or strawberries in syrup. The most healthy way is to give them fresh, sliced, or diced fruit. For young pups or older dogs with dental issues, it is best to mash them into a puree. 

Celery

Celery contains a high amount of vitamin C and A. It is also a great source of potassium and fiber. If your dog is more on a pudgy side, he can fully enjoy the fat-free celery snack. However, celery should only be given to your dog in moderation, as it highly increases urination and if eaten in high amounts, may lead to dehydration. [38, 39, 40]

Pro tip

You can either serve celery raw or cooked to your dog. Raw celery is much harder to digest and absorb nutrients. You may try mixing some fresh, plain celery in a blender and pouring a puree over your pup’s meal. Another good way of preparing celery for your dog is to cook and slice it into small pieces.

Green beans

Green beans, similarly to green peas, are a perfect, healthy treat for dogs who are overweight. They are full of fiber, as well as vitamins A, B6, C, and K. If you are thinking of adding some green beans to your dog’s diet, always keep them plain and do not add salt or sugar, or any spices. Green beans can be a perfect and healthy alternative to dog biscuits if prepared correctly. [41, 42, 43, 44]

Pro tip

Green beans diet 

Pumpkin

Pumpkins are low in calories and high in vitamin A, essential for your dog’s eye health, and potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. Thanks to the high concentration of fiber, pumpkin can help regulate your dog’s digestion and reduce incidents of diarrhea. As the entire pumpkin is safe for our canine friends, do not limit feeding your dog to pumpkin flesh only! The seeds are abundant in antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids that help fight urinary incontinence and dislodge kidney stones. Not only is the pumpkin healthy for you doggo, but its creamy, rich flavor is what he will certainly enjoy. [45, 46, 47, 48, 49]

Pro tip

In general, for every 10 pounds of their body weight, it is safe for dogs to eat ¼ teaspoon of pumpkin seeds powder and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin on a daily basis. Be careful not to feed your dog pumpkin with added sugar, artificial sweeteners, or any spices. It is best to serve cooked or baked pumpkin flesh, pureed or cut into small cubes. Pumpkin seeds can be roasted, ground up, and added to your pup’s meal.

The bottom line

Please be aware that this list contains only some of the foods that your dog can benefit from. Also, keep in mind that even if a food is considered generally safe for our canine pals to eat, it is best to feed it to your dog in moderation. Not all dogs are the same, and while one dog may tolerate a treat just fine, another experiences negative effects like allergic reactions. Thus said, it is best to gradually introduce new foods into your dog’s diet, so you can monitor him for any adverse effects. It is also good to follow the 10% rule. It says to limit any additional treats to 5-10% of his daily calorie intake.

Cynthia L. Collins

Cynthia L. Collins

Devoted dog lover, a dog mom to her two rescued Shih Tzus Romeo and Elvis, and an Australian Shepherd, Bandit. When she isn’t working, she volunteers in a local shelter and various animal welfare organizations.

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