What Can Dogs Eat: Your Go-To Guide on What Your Pup Can & Cannot Eat Safely

By Chelsea Hunt-Rivera / April 13, 2017

What Can My Dog Eat: Your Go-To Guide on What Your Pup Can & Cannot Eat Safely

Times are changing. The days of carelessly throwing leftover scraps in a bowl for your dog are quickly going out of style. Now more than ever, people are putting more time, money, and effort into taking care of their pets. This, of course, includes being more cognizant of what we feed our dogs.

The first thing to consider is: dogs have complex, digestive systems that are very different from our own. For instance, while garlic may stimulate your immune system, it will cause your dog’s red blood cells to explode (but more about that later).

Seeing as the majority of dogs will devour anything they can get into (dirty socks included), it is up to us as pet owners to make sure we provide them with foods that will nourish them, not hurt them. How can you tell the good stuff from the bad stuff? That’s where we come in. Check out the following list for a guide to what foods your dog can and cannot safely eat!

Can Dogs Eat Bananas?

Bottom Line: Yes, in moderation.

Bananas make wonderful treats! Not only do they offer your pup loads of potassium, fiber, manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, biotin and copper, but they are a quick and easy snack that dogs flip for!

It is, however, important to remember that bananas have a high sugar content and therefore should be fed in moderation. One to two inches of banana per day is generally fine for the majority of medium-sized and large dogs.

Lastly, keep in mind while giving your dog any food for the first time, you should keep a watchful eye on them after consumption so you can screen for potential allergies or other adverse reactions, such as constipation.

Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

Bottom Line: Yes, in moderation.

Cheese can contribute to your dog’s bone formation, muscle contractions, and other bodily functions as it is rich in calcium, Vitamin D, protein, and essential fatty acids. However, it should be fed in moderation due to its high fat content.

When giving your dog cheese for the first time, it’s important to screen for symptoms of lactose intolerance such as gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?

Bottom Line: Yes.

Blueberries are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. This superfood can help manage your dogs blood-sugar levels and can even improve cardiovascular health. Blueberries are especially beneficial for older dogs as they help with cognitive functions.

Veterinarian Cathy Alinovi says: “Blueberries do the same for dogs as they do for humans: great antioxidants, fun treats, provide fun snacks to share with the furry family.”

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

Bottom Line: It depends.

While popcorn can serve as a healthy snack for your pup, it really depends on how the popcorn is prepared, seasoned, and/or flavored.

If you’re going to feed your dog popcorn, air-popped corn is the way to go! It contains a ton of fiber as well as small amounts of riboflavin, B-vitamins and thiamine. It is a healthy treat that can help aid digestion and maintain energy levels.

However, microwaveable popcorn or popcorn prepared with oil, salt and/or butter should not be given to dogs as the additional chemicals would negate the benefits of the treat. Additionally, microwaved popcorn contains anywhere between 150-300 mg of sodium per serving.


Can Dogs Eat Strawberries

Bottom Line: Yes, in moderation.

Strawberries are nutritionally dense, offering fiber, potassium, magnesium, iodine, folic acid and omega-3 fats. However, like bananas, strawberries are high in sugar and should be fed to your dog in moderation.


Can Dogs Eat Grapes?

Bottom Line: No!

Grapes, raisins and currants are extremely toxic for dogs and you should never be given to your dog.

While little is known as to why grapes are poisonous to dogs, we do know that even as little as one grape per pound of body weight can be enough to cause serious medical conditions, such as kidney failure which can result in death.

In the event your dog eats grapes, raisins or currants, you should call your veterinarian immediately.


Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?

Bottom Line: Yes.

Packed with fiber, vitamins and nutrients, broccoli is a great option for your dog!

However, it’s best to feed to your dog in moderation seeing as broccoli contains Isothiocyanate which can be a gastric irritant in large quantities.


Can Dogs Eat Eggs?

Bottom Line: Yes!

Eggs and eggshells are great sources of nutrition for your dog! Rich in protein and calcium, they can help strengthen hair, build muscle and repair damaged tissue.

However, be sure to avoid raw eggs as your dog is at risk for Salmonella when consuming undercooked foods.

Can Dogs Eat Almonds?

Bottom Line: No.

Due to their high fat content, almonds can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and lethargy, all signs of inflammation of the pancreas.

Additionally, chances of choking or gastrointestinal obstruction are increased due to the almond’s shape. Not to mention the fact that nut allergies are just as common in dogs as in humans so it’s probably best to abstain.



Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Bottom Line: Yes.

Apples contain Vitamins C, Vitamin K, calcium, pectin, fiber and phosphorous so needless to say, they’re incredibly healthy for your dog.

The one thing to keep in mind when feeding your dog an apple is the core and seeds. Apple cores are a potential choking hazard and apple seeds are toxic as they contain cyanide. When giving your dog this particular treat, it’s best to feed it to them in pre-cut slices sans seeds.


Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?

Bottom Line: Yes.

Watermelon is a fantastic snack as it doesn’t contain any fat or cholesterol and is loaded with minerals such as beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium and Vitamins A and C. Plus, it’s a great source of hydration, consisting of 91% water!

One thing to consider: when feeding your dog watermelon, especially for the first time, start slowly as it has been known to cause some dogs diarrhea.

Can Dogs Eat Oranges?

Bottom Line: Yes.

Rich in vitamin C, oranges are great for your dog’s immune system. Additionally, Vitamin C is water-soluble so there is not limit on how much your dog can consume.

Keep in mind though, some dogs experience diarrhea when eating oranges due to the acidity. As mentioned before, always start slowly when introducing new foods.


Can Dogs Eat Carrots?

Bottom Line: Absolutely.

Carrots are a great choice for a healthy snack because they’re loaded with fiber, antioxidants and a high concentration of beta-carotene. These vitamins and minerals can help maintain healthy skin and coat, and also aid in digestion.

Also, many dogs love crunching on raw carrots, and doing so can help keep your dog’s teeth strong, polished, and clean.

For older dogs or those with sensitive teeth or bowels, you can also cook and/or puree carrots for a healthy treat that’s easy to digest.

Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

Bottom Line: No.

Avocados should be avoided as the seeds, leaves, and bark of an avocado contain a chemical called persin, which is toxic to dogs.

If consumed, your pup may experience signs of distress such as vomiting, diarrhea or lack of stool production. If this happens, please contact your veterinarian for further assistance.


Can Dogs Eat Onions or Garlic?

Bottom Line: No!

Onions, garlic, leeks and chives contain an ingredient called Thiosulphate which is extremely toxic to dogs. Additionally, the sulfurs found in onions and garlic negatively affect dogs’ red blood cells by causing the cells to “lyse”, or explode.

Many homemade dog treat recipes call for onion or garlic powder, and many other foods, such as potato chips may contain them too. Due to having a higher concentration, the powdered forms are especially dangerous.


Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

Bottom Line: No.

While small portions of tomatoes are generally okay, we would not recommend them as they contain Alpha-Tomatine and Solanine. These chemicals are extremely dangerous for dogs, but is most potent in the plant’s leaves, stems and unripened fruit.

If your pup consumes tomatoes, watch for symptoms such as vomiting, dilated pupils, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, drooling and lack of coordination.

Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?

Bottom Line: No.

Potatoes contain Solanine and other toxic alkaloids, which if consumed in large enough doses, can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, confusion, behavioral changes and can depress your dog’s central nervous system.

While small amounts of fully-ripened potatoes will not harm your dog, unripened potatoes and plant material are should be avoided altogether as they are especially toxic.


Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Giving your dog sweet potatoes is a wonderful way to help boost your four-legged friend’s immune and digestive systems as they contain large amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, beta-carotene and manganese, and are a great source of dietary fiber.

As with many other healthy foods listed, moderation is key as sweet potatoes are very high in both sugar and carbohydrates.


Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?

Bottom Line: In Moderation.

You can absolutely feed your dog mushrooms in moderation. However, the cardinal rule when it comes to mushrooms is: they must be purchased from the store, i.e. NO handpicked mushrooms.

Some mushrooms are toxic and they have very few distinguishing features so it is hard to tell them from safe mushrooms.

Some wild mushrooms can cause serious organ damage to the liver and kidneys. It can also cause digestive problems and even cause neurological damage.

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Peanuts are packed with vitamin B, vitamin E, and loads of healthy fats which support a healthy heart! Not to mention, it’s pretty darn cute to watch them lick it off the roof of their mouths.

One quick note: when you’re purchasing peanut butter, be sure to purchase peanut butter that is raw, unsalted, and does not contain xylitol. This seems pretty easy and straightforward but you would be surprised at how many brands contain various additives.

Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, and C, cranberries have been known to fight aging, improve cognitive function, and remedy urinary tract infections.

When feeding your dog cranberries, it’s best to stick to fresh, raw cranberries. Not only do dried cranberries contain less nutrients, they have way more sugar than the fresh fruit.

Can Dogs Eat Celery?

Bottom Line: Not recommended.

If we’re talking about nutritional value, celery is fine. In fact, it’s healthy for you dog as it contains a good amount of vitamin A, B, C, E, and K! No to mention the fact that it is mostly water so it;s a great source of hydration. With that said…

…The consistency of celery will not jive with your pups’ digestive tract. It’s tough, stringy exterior is hard to pass and will definitely cause your baby some distress.

Can Dogs Eat Rice?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Well-cooked rice is a great source of carbohydrates for your pup! Additionally, it has been known to soothe tummy aches and other gastrointestinal issues.

Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Not only is fish is a great source of lean protein, but it also offers a lot of omega fatty acids which offer an abundance of health benefits for your pup.

Salmon and sardines are especially great because salmon is packed with vitamins and protein while sardines contain soft, easy to digest bones with a lot of calcium.

With that said, you should never, ever feed your dog undercooked fish. Additionally, as healthy as it is, fish can also contain a lot of toxins like mercury, so it is best to limit intake to twice a week at most.

Can Dogs Eat Bread?

Bottom Line: Sure?

Cooked bread, while not toxic to your dog, doesn’t really offer any nutritional benefits.

One tip: avoid raw dough made with yeast as it can expand in your pup’s stomach, causing serious distress.

Can Dogs Drink Alcohol?

Bottom Line: That would be a NO.

Absolutely not. Ethanol and hops are toxic to your dog. End of story.

Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Pumpkin does the body good! It is a go to remedy for tummy problems such as constipation and diarrhea. Additionally, it does wonders for eyesight.

Quick tip: when purchasing pumpkin, opt for raw pumpkin without added sugar.

Can Dogs Eat Lettuce & Spinach?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Leafy greens are a must for your fur baby. Kale, chard, and spinach are all popular sources of vitamin A, K, and C.

While Spinach does contain chemicals called oxalates that is considered toxic to dogs, your pup would have to eat a whole lot of spinach to be adversely affected.

Can Dogs Eat Gum?

Bottom Line: Nope.

Not only is gum hard of the digestive system, but a lot of gum contains xylitol, an all-natural sweetener, that happens to be highly toxic to your dog.

Xylitol can cause vomiting, seizures, and in extreme cases, even death.

Can Dogs Eat Peppers?

Bottom Line: We wouldn’t recommend it…

While some peppers are mild enough for your dog, the hotter peppers can do some damage to your dog’s digestive system. It’s probably best to err on the side of caution when it comes to these colorful veggies.

One tip: green peppers are extremely mild and contain a great deal of vitamins and minerals so if you were to let your dog sample a pepper, this would be the one!

Can Dogs Eat Pears?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Similar to apples, pears can be a great source of nutriets for your pup. However, with that said, you should avoid feeding them the seeds, stem, and core as they contain cyanide and can cause your pooch to choke.

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?

Bottom Line: NO.

Chocolate is a definite no no for your pup as it contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which are toxic.

The darker the chocolate is, the more hazardous it is for your pup; however, once again, you should avoid feeding any type of chocolate to your dog, no matter the color.

Can Dogs Eat Corn?

Bottom Line: Probably not.

While not terrible for your pup, corn is difficult to digest, causes spikes in blood sugar, and can flare up allergies. Not to mention, it has little nutritional value.

With that said, corn is still the main ingredient in a great deal of dog food as it’s less expensive than animal protein. For that reason, it’s important to always read your labels so you can avoid these cheaply made brands.

Can Dogs Eat Hot Dogs?

Bottom Line: Sometimes.

While hot dogs definitely won’t kill your pups, they aren’t super great for them either. In addition to meat, hot dogs contain chemicals and preservatives that could adversely affect your dog in the long run.

Additionally, they are highly processed so any nutritional value the meat would have offered pre-process, is most likely long gone.

Can Dogs Eat Pomegranate?

Bottom Line: No.

While pomegranates are considered a superfood for humans, they are less than ideal for your pet. This is mostly due to the fact that they contain seeds called arils that are difficult to digest.

If your pup does get into some pomegranates, you should watch for vomiting or other signs of tummy troubles.

Can Dogs Eat Cantaloupe?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Cantaloupe is great for your pup as it contains a healthy dose of vitamins A, B, and C and potassium. As with all other fruit, it’s important to practice moderation as it contains a decent amount of sugar.

Can Dogs Eat Cashews?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Cashews are packed with nutrients like calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and proteins that will nourish your pup! However, overdoing this delicious snack can result in your pup putting on some weight due to the high fat content.

Tip: when giving your dog cashews, be sure to opt for unsalted.

Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?

Bottom Line: Nope.

While cinnamon isn’t toxic to dogs, it can cause a series of adverse reactions, such as diarrhea, vomiting, elevated heart rate, and even liver disease.

Not to mention, swallowing cinnamon is no picnic. Just ask anyone who did the cinnamon challenge. If your pup inhales the power, it can cause  choking and coughing.

Can Dogs Eat Coconut?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Coconut, especially coconut oil, is amazing for your dogs! It offers a number of benefits such as protecting your pup’s skin from irritants, supports a healthy digestive system and immune system.

Quick tip: be sure to throw away the coconut shell as it can cause choking.

Can Dogs Eat Ham?


Bottom Line: In Moderation.

Yes, you can feed your dog ham. It’s a delicious snack and your pup would enjoy it very much. However, ham tends to be high in sodium and fat so watch those portions!

Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

Bottom Line: Yes.

Turkey can be a great treat your dog, especially around Thanksgiving! However, when feeding your pup turkey, be sure to avoid seasoning (some of which can be toxic to dogs) and remove the fat and the skin.

Can Dogs Eat Honey?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Honey is fantastic for your pup! It offers your dog vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Additionally, it is packed with potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and other antioxidants.

Also, like people, giving your dog small amounts of locally-sourced honey can help with their allergies. Bottom line: honey is a win, win!

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream?

Bottom Line: Negative.

Dogs do not tolerate dairy well. Similar to humans, it can cause a whole slew of digestive issues.

If you want to reward your pup, a better alternative is frozen fruit, such as raspberries, strawberries, or pineapples. Just make sure to feed in moderation

Can Dogs Eat Macadamia Nuts?

Bottom Line: No.

Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs, causing vomiting, increased body temperature, and vomiting. Even more alarming, they have the ability to adversely affect the nervous system. This is one nut you definitely want to avoid feeding your dog.

Can Dogs Drink Milk?

Bottom Line: Not recommended.

While non-toxic to dogs, dairy can upset the stomach as many dogs are lactose-intolerant. It’s best to err on the side of caution and stick to water for your four-legged friend.

Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Unlike macadamia nuts or almonds, peanuts are great for your pup. They contain healthy fats and offer your dog a great deal of protein. Similar to cashews, you should limit intake as they can cause weight gain.

Quick tip: avoid salted peanuts when treating your dog to a handful of these delicious nuts.

Can Dogs Eat Pork?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Pork, while more calorically dense than other types of meat, is highly digestible. Added bonus: it’s packed with amino acids!

Can Dogs Eat Quinoa?

Bottom Line: Absolutely!

Quinoa, often used in dog food, is an amazing alternative to additives such as corn, wheat, and soy. These additives come with a laundry list of dangers including what one pet scientist coined “the largest concern in pet foods today,” Mycotoxin.

Can Dogs Eat Salmon?

Bottom Line: In Moderation.

Salmon is an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and amino acids. With that said, salmon tend to contain toxins like mercury due to the declining health of the ocean.

If you feed your dog salmon, limit their intake to a couple of times per week and always make sure that the salmon is fully cooked. Undercooked fish can make your dog very sick, causing vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, or even death.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

Bottom Line: In Moderation.

Shrimp can be a nice, healthy snack for your pup as they are high in antioxidants, vitamin -12, and phosphorus.

However, like salmon, you will want to limit the amount your pup eats sue to the toxicity of the ocean.

Quick tip: when feeding your dog, be sure to the shrimp are fully cooked and the shell is removed.

Can Dogs Eat Tuna?

Bottom Line: In Moderation.

Fresh tuna is packed with omega-3 fatty acids which is great for you pup. However, due to it’s sodium and mercury content, it should be given only in moderation.

Can Dogs Eat Wheat & Grains?

Bottom Line: Your call.

Wheat and grains are technically okay for dogs as they can be a great source of protein and fiber for your pup.

With this said, the way in which grains are grown and processed has been known to be problematic. A lot of grains contain mycotoxin, a toxic byproduct of mold or fungus that is lethal to pets.

Can Dogs Eat Yogurt?

Bottom Line: Yes.

If your dog can tolerate it, yogurt can be a healthy snack for your dog as it contains active bacteria that can help support the digestive system.

Quick tip: when introducing your dog to yogurt, avoid flavors and sweeteners and stick to plain yogurt.

The Biggest Take Away

As cute as those pleading eyes are, it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid sharing food meant for human consumption. Dogs have complex digestive systems that are very different from our own and while some of the foods listed above make great treats, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution.




About the author

Chelsea Hunt-Rivera

Chelsea Rivera is a Dedicated Pet Parent who loves to create amazing content for pet owners and is helping change pet wellness as the Head of Content for Honestpaws.com.