As dog owners, it’s not uncommon to want to spoil your four-legged family members by sharing table scraps or your favorite snack with them. After all, if it is safe for you to eat, it must be OK for them as well, right? Not necessarily. While many human foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are perfectly safe, some are very unhealthy and downright dangerous to dogs. Dogs digest differently than humans, and eating the wrong foods can lead to long-term health problems and, in extreme cases, even death. As carnivores, they have no need for fruits and vegetables as part of their diet, but an occasional fruit or veggie as a treat is OK.
But that doesn’t mean all human food is off limits for dogs. Read below to find out which fruits and vegetables are OK for sharing in moderation and which should be kept on your plate.
Fruits & Vegetables
- Apples – Yes. Apples are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber for your dog. They are low in protein and fat, making them the perfect snack for senior dogs. Just be sure to remove the seeds and core first. Try them frozen for an icy warm weather snack. Read More >
- Bananas – Yes. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. They’re high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog’s regular diet. Read more >
- Watermelon – Yes. It’s important to remove the rind and seeds first, as they can cause intestinal blockage, but watermelon is otherwise safe for dogs. It’s full of vitamin A, B-6, and C, as well as potassium. Watermelon is 92 percent water, so it’s a great way to keep your dog hydrated on hot summer days. Read more >
- Grapes – No. Grapes and raisins have proved to be very toxic for dogs no matter the dog’s breed, sex, or age. In fact, grapes are so toxic that they can lead to acute sudden kidney failure. Definitely skip this dangerous treat. Read More >
- Strawberries – Yes. Strawberries are full of fiber and vitamin C. Along with that, they also contain an enzyme that can help whiten your dog’s teeth as he or she eats them. They are high in sugar though, so be sure to give them in moderation. Read More >
- Oranges – Yes. Small dogs can have up to 1/3 of a full-size orange, while large dogs can eat the whole thing. While the peel isn’t toxic to them, vets recommend tossing the peel and just giving your dog the inside of the orange, minus the seeds, as the peel is much more rough on their digestive systems than the fleshy inside of the orange. Read More >
- Blueberries – Yes. Blueberries are a superfood rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage in humans and canines alike. They’re packed with fiber and phytochemicals as well. Teaching your dog to catch treats in the air? Try blueberries as an alternative to store-bought treats. Read More >
- Carrots – Yes. Carrots are an excellent low-calorie snack that is high in fiber and beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A. Plus, crunching on the orange snacks is great for your dog’s teeth. Read More >
- Tomatoes – No. While the ripened fruit of the tomato plant (the red part humans normally eat) is generally considered safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant contain a toxic substance called solanine. While a dog would need to eat a large amount for it to make him or her sick, it’s better to skip tomatoes all together just to be safe. Read More >
- Pineapple – Yes. A few chunks of pineapple is a great sweet treat for dogs as long as the prickly outside is removed first. The tropical fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It also contains bromelain, an enzyme that makes it easier for dogs to absorb proteins. Read More >
- Avocado – No. While avocado may be a healthy snack for dog owners, it should not be given to dogs at all. The pit, skin and leaves of avocados contain Persin, a toxin that often causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The fleshy inside of the fruit doesn’t have as much Persin as the rest of the plant, but it is still too much for dogs to handle.
- Broccoli – Yes, broccoli is safe for dogs to eat in very small quantities and is best served as an occasional treat. It is high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. On the surface, this makes it an appealing choice for dog owners looking for a healthy dog treat, but broccoli also contains a potentially harmful ingredient. Broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs. Also, broccoli stalks have been known to cause obstruction in the esophagus. Read More >
- Mushrooms – No. Wild mushrooms can be toxic for dogs. While only 50 to 100 of the 50,000 mushroom species worldwide are known to be toxic, the ones that are can really hurt your dog or even lead to death. Washed mushrooms from the supermarket could be OK, but it’s better to be safe than sorry; skip out on the fungi all together.
- Cucumbers – Yes. Cucumbers are especially good for overweight dogs, as they hold little to no carbohydrates, fats, or oils and can even boost energy levels. They’re loaded with vitamins K, C, and B1, as well as potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin.
- Celery – Yes. In addition to vitamins A, B, and C, this crunchy green snack contains the nutrients needed to promote a healthy heart and even fight cancer. As if that wasn’t enough, celery also known to freshen doggy breath.
- Onions – No. Onions, leeks, and chives are part of a family of plants called Allium that is poisonous to most pets, especially cats. Eating onions can cause your dog’s red blood cells to rupture, and can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea. Poisoning onions is more serious in Japanese breeds of dogs such as Akitas and Shiba Inus, but all dogs are very susceptible to it.
- Pears – Yes. Pears are a great snack because they’re high in copper, vitamins C and K, and fiber. It’s been suggested that eating the fruit can reduce the risk of having a stroke by 50 percent. Just be sure to cut pears into bite-size chunks and remove the pit and seeds first, as the seeds contain traces of cyanide.
- Potatoes – Yes. It’s fine to give your dog plain potatoes every once and a while, but only if they’re cooked, as raw potatoes can be rough on the stomach. A washed, peeled, plain boiled, or baked potato contains lots of iron for your pet. Avoid mashed potatoes because they often contain butter, milk, or seasonings.
- Cherries – No. With the exception of the fleshy part around the seed, cherry plants contain cyanide and are toxic to dogs. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport, which means that your dog’s blood cells can’t get enough oxygen. If your dog eats cherries, be on the lookout for dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and red gums, as these may be signs of cyanide poisoning.
- Peaches – Yes. Small amounts of cut-up peaches are a great source of fiber and vitamin A, and can even help fight infections, but just like cherries, the pit does contain cyanide. As long as you completely cut around the pit first, fresh peaches can be a great summer treat – just not canned peaches, as they usually contain high amounts of sugary syrups.
- Asparagus – No. While asparagus isn’t necessarily unsafe for dogs, there’s really no point in giving it to them. It’s too tough to be eaten raw, and by the time you cook it down so it’s soft enough for dogs to eat, asparagus loses the nutrients it contains. If you’re determined to give your dogs vegetables, go for something that will actually benefit them.
- Sweet potatoes – Yes. Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients, including fiber, beta carotene, and vitamins B-6 and C. Just like with regular potatoes, only give your dog washed, peeled, cooked, and unseasoned sweet potatoes that have cooled down, and definitely avoid sugary sweet potato pies and casseroles.
- Raspberries – Yes. Raspberries are fine in moderation. They contain antioxidants that are great for dogs. They’re low in sugar and calories, but high in fiber, manganese, and vitamin C. Raspberries are especially good for senior dogs because they have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help take pain and pressure from joints. However, they do contain slight amounts of the toxin Xylitol, so limit your dog to less than a cup of raspberries at a time.
- Mango – Yes. This sweet summer treat is packed with four, yes four different vitamins: vitamins A, B6, C, and E. They also have potassium and both beta-carotene and alpha carotene. Just remember, as with most fruits, to remove the hard pit first, as it contains small amounts of cyanide and can become a choking hazard.
- Check out our friend Basil the Golden Retriever demonstrating some of the human fruits and veggies that dogs CAN eat.