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Answers from vets about your dog:

Safe Treats: Can My Dog Have "People" Food?

Reviewed by Peter Kintzer DVM, DACVIM on Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Posted March 19, 2014 in Dog Diet & Nutrition

Person hand feeding their dog

We often hear about foods we can’t share with our dogs: chocolate, grapes, raisins, fatty foods, onions, foods with the artificial sweetener xylitol, macadamia nuts, etc. 

With so many “don’ts,” what human foods can we share with our dogs? Are any human foods safe for our dogs?

The answer is yes! Here is a list of some human foods that are yummy and generally good for your dog: 

[Editor’s Note: Always consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet.]

Lean meat

  • Besides being a great source of protein, dogs love to eat meat. In order to prevent an upset stomach, or worse yet—a pancreatitis—it is safer to feed dogs lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and fish. Fish is not only a good source of protein, but can also be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids—especially salmon. Omega fatty acids are purported to have anti-inflammatory properties, are a major component of the mammalian brain, and can help with skin and coat problems. When giving your pets meat, remember to remove the skin and fat; if it’s not healthy for you, it’s not healthy for your dog. Finally, be sure you also remove all bones. Beef bones can chip a tooth, poultry bones can splinter, and any bone can get stuck in your dog's throat or intestinal tract.

Veggies

  • Vegetables can be a healthy and tasty treat for your dog. I know a lot of dogs that enjoy carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and dietary fiber. They can be served raw or cooked. Many dogs enjoy the crunchy texture of raw carrots. An additional benefit is that their hard texture can help keep teeth and gums clean. Other dogs prefer cooked carrots mixed into their food. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, and other nutrients with anti-cancer effects. Like carrots, it can be served raw or cooked. In my experience, most dogs prefer broccoli steamed and mixed in their food. Sweet potatoes are loaded with complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and beta-carotene; and are a good source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6, manganese, and potassium. The great thing about vegetables is that they are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Fruit

  • Many dogs like apples because of the crunchy texture. Apples are not only “Red Delicious,” but also healthy and a good source of dietary fiber

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Ruth has more than 15 years of experience in the veterinary industry as a companion animal veterinarian in private practice. Along with being a writer and media personality, she is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.