It’s tempting to give dogs human snacks or a piece of meat, but is it safe? Can dogs eat human food? The short answer is yes, they can, but they can’t eat ALL human foods.

Certain human foods can be harmful to our dogs, potentially even leading to poisoning and toxicity, which could be fatal. We’ll now discuss the human foods that dogs can eat and advise you on what foods you should avoid feeding your pooch.

Key Takeaways:

  • Safe human foods for dogs include lean meats (without bones or skin), fresh vegetables (cooked or steamed), fresh fruits, and boiled white rice.
  • A healthy balanced diet of high-quality dog food is essential, with human food being fed in moderation to prevent obesity.
  • Consult with a vet if your dog has an underlying health condition before introducing any new foods.

What Human Foods Can Dogs Eat? 

Dogs love human food, and they can often be seen begging by a kitchen table with those big doe eyes! It’s tempting to give them some human food along with their doggy diet, but it can be confusing to know what’s safe. The good news is that there’s lots of safe human food that you can give your dog in moderation.

1. Lean Meats

When it comes to human food, lean meats are a good option to feed your dog. Meats such as turkey, chicken, and white fish are ideal as they are low in fat and less likely to aggravate your dog’s tummy. All bones, fat, and skin should be removed from the meat before you feed it to your dog. These could potentially cause bowel obstructions (bones), and fatty foods may lead to a tummy upset or pancreatitis.

2. Fresh Vegetables

Vegetables are great human food for dogs as they are bursting with minerals and vitamins. Some may be fed raw (like carrots) but most vegetables are easier for dogs to digest if they’ve been boiled or even better steamed. However, not all vegetables are ok to feed your dog.

Vegetables that are safe and nutritious for dogs include:

  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potato
  • Green beans
  • Celery 
  • Butternut squash
  • Spinach 
  • Beets

3. Fresh Fruits

Similar to vegetables, fresh fruits can also be a healthy nutritious treat for your dog. Fruits such as apples, bananas, blueberries, oranges, watermelon, and cucumber are all safe for your dog in moderation.

These can provide healthy alternatives to traditional doggie treats which tend to be high in fat, salt, and preservatives. Along with that, they contain plenty of vitamins and antioxidants. Antioxidants have been shown to have promising effects on the aging of dog brains and reduce cognitive dysfunction.

4. White Rice

Boiled white rice is a safe food to feed your dog. It’s often recommended to feed with boiled chicken as a bland diet to treat a tummy upset. Ensure that it’s cooked thoroughly before serving and mix it in with your dog’s diet or some plain chicken as a healthy, low-fat meal.

5. Other Foods

Foods such as pasta, potato, and bread aren’t poisonous or toxic to your dog. They may be fed to your dog in moderation, as they may be heavy on the tummy and hard to digest in large amounts.

There are many other human foods out there that aren’t poisonous or harmful to dogs. However, when deciding what human food to feed your dog, it’s easier and more straightforward to stick to the basics. Sticking to lean meats, fresh fruit, and vegetables (the ones mentioned) is the safest option.

Cautionary Foods Dogs Can Eat in Moderation

Some foods can be fed to dogs with caution, such as:

  • Peanut butter - Some peanut butters contain a harmful sweetener called Xylitol which can be fatal to dogs.
  • Tomatoes - Fresh, ripe tomatoes are relatively healthy for dogs and make a great snack. However the leaves, stems, and green parts of tomatoes can be toxic to dogs.

For this reason, unless you’re very comfortable examining food labels, we recommend sticking to foods that we know are safe for dogs to eat.

Other foods to feed your dog with caution are foods that aren't healthy for us humans, too, for example processed fatty foods. Avoid feeding your dog any foods that are high in fat, salt, sugar, and preservatives.

Human Foods to Avoid 

Although some human food is safe for dogs to eat, some foods are also harmful and should be avoided. These foods include some common fruits and vegetables along with foods that contain potentially toxic ingredients.

Foods to avoid include (but are not limited to):

  • Cherries (and any fruit related to them)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Leeks
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Macadamia nuts 
  • Alcohol
  • Bones 
  • Fatty foods 
  • Xylitol (sweetener)
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Avocado

Care should be taken with feeding dogs dairy products. Small amounts of natural yogurt may be tolerated in dogs and provide good bacteria, but some dogs may develop diarrhea or vomiting after eating dairy products.

Raw meat is another potentially harmful human food as it can contain harmful bacteria if uncooked. Care needs to be taken with this and we advise you to research thoroughly and consult with your vet before you decide to feed raw meat to your dog.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats A Harmful Food

If you think your dog has eaten something harmful, you shouldn’t delay in contacting your veterinarian. Depending on what your dog has eaten, your vet may decide to make them throw up to bring up the food or to do further tests (like blood work or x-rays). It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Importance of a Healthy Balanced Diet

As we’ve discussed by now, there are some human foods that are safe and even nutritious for dogs to eat. However, dogs need a balanced diet and they should be fed a high-quality dog food that caters to all of their needs. Human food should be fed in moderation, as feeding too much human food along with their doggy diet could lead to obesity. If your dog has an underlying health condition (such as diabetes or chronic kidney disease) that needs specific food, consult with your vet first before feeding any different food.

In conclusion, dogs can enjoy human food along with us but there are certain foods that are harmful to them. Sticking to lean meats without bones or skin, vegetables like carrots and broccoli, and fruit such as bananas and blueberries are safe to feed in moderation. Avoid foods such as grapes, raisins, cherries, avocados, caffeine, and foods that have harmful additives. Human foods should be fed in moderation to prevent obesity and you should consult with your vet if your pet has an underlying health condition before feeding human foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat human food?

Yes, they can but only in moderation. Stick to safe human foods such as lean turkey and chicken (with no bones), carrots, broccoli, and blueberries.

What vegetables can dogs eat?

Dogs can eat carrots, broccoli, green beans, sweet potato, celery, and beets.

What is the best human food for dogs?

Vegetables such as carrots and broccoli are safe to eat along with boiled chicken and white rice which can help upset tummies.

Is it safe for dogs to eat meat?

Yes but only when cooked and the bones, skin, and fat are removed. Avoid meats such as pork which can be salty. Lean turkey, chicken, and white fish are ideal.