What Can Dogs Eat? What Can Dogs Not Eat?

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Dogs enjoy the same sweet, sour, salty, and bitter tastes we do, but what can dogs eat?  Just because they can eat something, should they?  

Some foods may not be harmful in small quantities, but others could be. Knowing what foods dogs can eat and what foods dogs can’t eat is vital to keeping your dog safe. Be mindful of any potential allergies your dog may have and consult your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet.

That said, here are some overall guidelines and answers to common food-related questions regarding your dog.  

Can Dogs Eat Meat and Poultry?

Yes, most meats, poultry, and fish are safe for dogs to consume when fully cooked.
Be sure any meats you give your dog are unseasoned and unsalted.

Safe meats for dogs

Most meat, fish, and poultry are safe for dogs, including:

●      Beef

●      Chicken

●      Eggs

●      Lamb

●      Pork

●      Salmon

●      Sardines

●      Shrimp

●      Turkey

Can dogs eat bones?

It's best to avoid giving bones to your dog.  Ironically, if bones are cooked, they are actually dangerous for your dog.  Cooked bones can pierce and puncture intestines which can lead to choking, broken teeth, and intestinal blockages.

If your dog feels the need to gnaw at bones, finding domestically sourced beef shank and knuckle beef bones is your best bet. 

Can Dogs Eat Vegetables? 

While not necessary for your dog’s diet, vegetables can be a fun treat. Vegetables for dogs are generally best served cooked. Consider steaming raw vegetables or creating a cooked puree.

Non-toxic vegetables for dogs

Several vegetables are safe for dogs to consume, including:

●      Asparagus (cooked, plain)

●      Broccoli

●      Brussel sprouts

●      Carrots

●      Cauliflower

●      Celery

●      Corn

●      Cucumber

●      Green beans

●      Lettuce

●      Peas

●      Potatoes (cooked, plain)

●      Pumpkin (cooked, plain)

●      Sweet potatoes (cooked, plain)

●      Tomatoes (red, ripe)

A french bulldog sniffs fruits and berries resting on a cutting board

Can Dogs Eat Fruits?

Fruits bring many benefits for dogs as they do for humans when fed in moderation. Giving your dog too much fruit, due to its high amount of sugar, can lead to diabetes.

Make sure your dog consumes only the flesh. Rinds, pits, seeds, and other plant material can be dangerous when ingested.

Non-toxic fruits for dogs

Consider these fruits as a treat for your dog:

●      Apples

●      Bananas

●      Blackberries

●      Blueberries

●      Cantaloupe

●      Coconut

●      Mango

●      Oranges (peeled)

●      Peaches

●      Pear

●      Pineapple

●      Raspberries

●      Strawberries

●      Watermelon

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

While some nuts are not toxic to dogs, nuts in general are not a great snack option for them. Nuts are often a choking hazard and difficult for your dog to digest. Try to avoid nuts when possible.

Non-toxic nuts for dogs

These nuts are considered non-toxic for your dog:

●      Cashews

●      Chestnuts

●      Peanuts

●      Pecans

●      Pistachios (unshelled)

Can dogs eat peanut butter?

Loved by many canine companions, peanut butter is generally safe for dogs. When giving peanut butter as a treat, consider unsalted and homemade peanut butters as the best options for your dog. If you’re opting for store-bought peanut butter, make sure it is free from xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s dangerous for your pup to consume.

A shorthaired pointer dog licks a silver spoon of peanut butter.

Can Dogs eat Grains?

Yes, dogs can eat most grains when cooked. Cooked grains, like rice, on occasion can be a helpful filler in your dog’s diet, especially during times of stomach upset.

Non-toxic grains for dogs

Cooked grains that are non-toxic for your dog include:

●      Bread (plain)

●      Oatmeal

●      Popcorn (plain)

●      Quinoa

●      Rice

Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

As with most dairy products, dogs can safely eat cheese, but be mindful of how your dog responds to dairy. Many dogs have a lactose intolerance that can lead to stomach issues, including diarrhea.

Consider opting for cottage cheese, hard cheeses, and plain, unsweetened yogurt as an occasional treat.

Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?

While not necessarily dangerous, dogs should not eat cat food often nor in large quantities. A small amount of cat food can also cause some dogs to have vomiting and diarrhea. While not an immediate safety issue, cat food is not a good choice for your dog.

What Can't Dogs Eat?

There are many “people foods” dogs can’t eat that may lead to serious emergencies.

Toxic foods for dogs

Never feed your dog these foods:

●      Garlic

●      Chocolate

●      Onions

●      Grapes and raisins

●      Avocados

●      Macadamia nuts

●      Yeast dough

What Foods Should you Avoid Giving your Dog?

Some foods, while not toxic, can lead to serious issues for your pup, like choking, intestinal blockages, and allergic reactions.

Be cautious with these foods:

●      Almonds

●      Cherries

●      Cinnamon

●      Mushrooms

●      Pickles

Be Prepared for Food Related Emergencies

The best way to prepare for a food-related emergency with your dog is to know which foods are toxic along with any allergies your pet may have. Always consult your veterinarian before adding different foods and treats to your dog’s diet.

No matter how much pet owners prepare, accidents can always happen. When dogs eat something they shouldn’t, an emergency vet visit can quickly become expensive. Having pet insurance may help cover those unexpected but life-saving costs. Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance1 to keep your pup safe.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.