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Complete Food Guide: What Can Dogs Eat and What They Can't

Written by

Jocelyn Stange, MA

How many times have you opened a browser and typed "What can't dogs eat?" and scrolled through dozens of blogs to find the answer? While lots of foods are healthy to feed your dog, many human foods are not.

The answer to this question depends on the food, your dog's size, and their nutritional needs. Too much salt, sugar, or uncooked foods can wreak havoc on your dog's digestive system.

Try Daily Supplement for Dogs

Here are over 70 foods that are safe for dogs to eat (and some that aren't).

  • 🚫 Alcohol

    Although alcohol isn't a food item, it's critical to know that alcohol is not safe for dogs. If your dog consumes beer, wine, or other forms of alcohol they may experience alcohol poisoning which can be fatal. Keep the adult beverages to the humans in your home.

  • ✅ Apples

    Apples are great sources of vitamins A, C, and fiber and are an awesome snack for your pet. Applesauce is a great mix-in for your dog food to help with your dog’s digestive system. But, be careful when sharing this treat because apple seeds are poisonous to canines.

  • ✅ Apricots

    Apricots in moderation are a great choice for your pooch. They provide a source of vitamin A, folate, and potassium. You can serve this fruit raw or frozen in small easy-to-eat pieces. But, make sure you remove the pits, stems, and leaves as they can contain cyanide which is dangerous for dogs.

  • ✅ Asparagus

    Asparagus is a healthy, nutrient-packed vegetable for humans. It’s a good source of vitamins A, E, and K, as well as antioxidants. Serve asparagus cooked without spices with the stalks removed. But, because it’s not a practical veggie for dogs, try broccoli, carrots, and celery instead.

  • 🚫 Avocados

    Even though avocados are a healthy fat for humans, avocados aren’t a great choice for your dog. Avocados contain persin which is toxic and may cause an upset stomach. This includes the pits (seed), skin, leaves, and fleshy parts.

  • ✅ Bananas

    Bananas are perfectly safe for dogs to eat at any age. They contain vitamins and minerals like magnesium and iron that help build strong bones and muscles. Because of their high sugar content, it's important to feed them as an occasional treat. Try them frozen for a sweet, summer treat.

  • ✅ Beef

    Beef is one of the healthiest protein sources out there for your pup. But, not every slice of meat is the same. Ground beef is an affordable alternative that is easy to cook and serve according to their needs. Avoid serving your dog raw meat to avoid any stomach upset.

Try Beefy Bites for Dogs
  • ✅ Beets

    Raw beets are full of vitamins and minerals, making them a great food choice for dogs of all ages. Be sure to clean and cook beets plain. Too many beets can be detrimental to their health. So, check with your vet before adding beets to your dog’s diet.

  • ✅ Berries

    Berries of all types are an excellent treat for your dog. But, the pits (seeds) are highly toxic for dogs. So, make sure you remove those before feeding your pup. Most berries have lots of sugar so make them a treat rather than a focal point in your pup’s daily meals.

    Here are some berries that are safe for dogs to eat:

    • Blackberries have omega-3 fatty acids which help with inflammation.
    • Blueberries have antioxidant qualities that help prevent cell damage.
    • Cranberries have vitamin E which helps boost your dog’s immunity.
    • Raspberries contain manganese which help aging joints in senior dogs.
    • Strawberries are rich in vitamin C that can help whiten your dog’s teeth.
Try Blueberry Muffin Treats
  • ⚠️ Bread

    Plain white bread is a relatively safe food for your dog, but it doesn’t have much nutritional value. Also, baked bread is very different from yeast dough. Raw bread dough can expand in your dog’s stomach and lead to severe issues from high levels of ethanol in the body. Contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect your dog ate raw yeast dough.

  • ✅ Broccoli

    One of the healthiest vegetables dogs can eat is broccoli. Broccoli is rich in iron and calcium which help dogs fight off infections. You can give your dog cooked or raw broccoli as long as it is plain.

  • ✅ Brussels Sprouts

    Brussels sprouts are a crunchy, healthy treat for dogs. They contain isothiocyanates that can help slow aging. But, be careful when feeding your dog Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Both can cause gas and make your dog sick when fed in large quantities.

  • ✅ Cabbage

    Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that provides a good source of vitamin B6 which your dog needs to make red blood cells. This is important to help keep their immune system strong. Like Brussels sprouts, too much cabbage can lead to extra gas.

    VET TIP

    Clean, whole cabbage is a cheap enrichment activity for your dogs. Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a purple cabbage and let your dog rip it apart.

  • ✅ Carrots

    Carrots are a healthy and safe treat for dogs. They are rich in fiber and beta-carotene which help prevent illness. Most dogs love raw carrots. But, try them frozen as an alternative to bones and chews and promote healthy teeth and gums.

  • ⚠️ Cauliflower

    Cauliflower contains vitamin K, calcium, and fiber. The benefits of cauliflower for dogs are weight management and digestive health. But, cauliflower doesn’t always sit well with every pup. Limit your dog’s intake of this vegetable and opt for others like bell peppers and green beans.

  • ✅ Celery

    Celery is a good source of vitamins A, C, potassium, folate, and fiber. Celery is a great vegetable to feed to your dog plain or cooked. Avoid feeding your dog large stalks of celery that could become a choking hazard and lead to difficulty breathing. Cut into small pieces and serve with a little peanut butter for a tasty treat.

  • ⚠️ Cheese

    Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium. But, cheese is high in fat and many dogs are lactose intolerant so it's often better for dogs to not eat dairy products.

    Follow this guide to feed your dog (if lactose intolerant) the right cheese:

    Yes!No
    CheddarBleu cheese or other French cheeses
    Colby or Monterey jackBrie, feta, or goat cheese
    Cottage cheeseCheese with nuts, fruits, or spices
    MozzarellaCream cheese
  • 🚫 Cherries

    While cherries are a healthy snack linked to better sleep, exercise recovery, and brain-boosting in humans, they are toxic for dogs. Cherries contain cyanide which can cause major problems for your dog. Avoid cherries at all costs and stick to other healthy berries.

  • ✅ Chicken

    Chicken is a common protein source that is healthy and safe for dogs. It’s a leaner protein because it has less fat content than beef or pork. Make sure you feed your dog cooked chicken — do not let your dog eat raw meat. Try baked or boiled chicken to avoid salmonella poisoning.

  • 🚫 Chocolate

    Dark chocolate is one of the most toxic foods for dogs. It contains caffeine and other ingredients which can be fatal to a dog when ingested in large doses. Even a few ounces of chocolate can cause your dog serious health issues.

  • ⚠️ Coconut

    Coconut is a healthy fat that is safe for dogs to consume. But, check with your vet first because coconut is high in cholesterol. Coconut contains lauric acid which helps fight viruses, yeast infections, and ringworm. Coconut oil is a great additive to your pet’s food to improve their skin and coat.

  • ✅ Corn

    Corn is a common ingredient found in your dog's regular food. Corn is okay for dogs as long as it's fresh, clean, and off the cob. Corn is a good source of carbohydrates and a variety of B vitamins which promote a healthy gut and digestive tract.

  • ✅ Cucumbers (Pickles)

    Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin B1, copper, and biotin. They're also low in calories and can help with digestion for overweight dogs. Be cautious with pickles. Even though they start as cucumbers, they often have lots of spices like garlic which is toxic for dogs.

  • ⚠️ Dates

    While dates are a great source of copper, magnesium, and vitamin B6, dogs don’t need dates to stay healthy. Dogs can safely eat dates to improve their digestive system. But, remove any pits so that your dog doesn’t choke on or chip their tooth on one.

  • ✅ Dragon Fruit

    Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that is full of vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. The fleshy center is soft, juicy, and crunchy making it a great snack for your dog. The spiky exterior can cause stomach problems for your dog, so remove it before your dog eats it.

  • ⚠️ Eggplant

    Eggplants are rich in vitamin K, potassium, and folate. As with other vegetables, it’s recommended to serve eggplants baked, roasted, or steamed with no seasoning. Some dogs are allergic or sensitive to eggplant so check with your vet, watch your pet, and feed sparingly.

  • ✅ Eggs

    Raw eggs and eggshells are a good source of iron, calcium, and B vitamins that support a ton of health issues. Many pet owners feed their pets raw eggs as a part of a raw diet. But, it’s best to avoid feeding raw eggs to prevent bacteria or salmonella.

  • ⚠️ Figs

    Figs are a healthy snack for dogs to eat in moderation. They are full of fiber and calcium which help your dog’s bones stay strong. Many dried fruits are too high in sugar, so it’s best to feed figs as a treat if you're regulating your dog's blood sugar.

  • ✅ Fish

    Fish is a low-calorie source of protein and healthy fats. Tuna and salmon have tons of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation in your dog’s body.

    Here are some good and bad types of fish for dogs:

    Yes!No
    Salmon* (cooked)Albacore tuna (canned)
    SardinesKing mackerel
    TilapiaShark
    Tuna (cooked)Swordfish
    WhitefishTilefish

    *Like other animal-based protein sources, avoid feeding raw salmon or fish to your dog. Cook them all the way through before your dog takes a bite to avoid salmon poisoning disease.

  • 🚫 Garlic

    Garlic is a sweet-smelling vegetable that can be enticing to your dog. But, garlic contains thiosulfate which is toxic for dogs and can damage red blood cells. This can impact your dog’s energy levels. While often touted as a natural flea remedy for dogs, it is not safe for your pup.

  • ✅ Grains

    Grains are a typical ingredient in most of your dog's regular food. Most carbs are protein-packed and boost energy. Plain oatmeal, quinoa, and rice are nutrient-rich examples of grains you can feed your dog. But, they are often the culprit of allergies in many canines.

  • 🚫 Grapefruit

    While grapefruit is a great source of key vitamins this fruit isn’t a recommended snack for dogs. Grapefruit has tons of citric acid that can irritate your dog’s stomach. Plus, grapefruit skin and rinds are toxic for dogs, so it's best to avoid this fruit.

  • 🚫 Grapes (Raisins)

    Research shows that large quantities of grapes and raisins are toxic for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Both forms of fruit can lead to kidney failure and liver failure. Lookout for small amounts in human foods like trail mixes that contain other toxic foods such as macadamia nuts.

  • ✅ Green Beans

    Green beans are an awesome vegetable for dogs. They are rich in fiber, You can serve them raw, cooked, or canned without any spices, salt, or added ingredients.

  • ⚠️ Guava

    Guava fruits are full of phosphorus and vitamins A, C, and K. Guava can help boost your dog’s immune system but too much guava can cause weight gain. Feed guava in moderation and be sure to avoid the leaves, rind, and pits.

  • ⚠️ Jicama

    Jicama is a unique snack for dogs. It’s packed with vitamins E and C, potassium, and dietary fiber which can promote good gut health.  Jicama leaves, stems, and seeds are toxic for dogs. So, clean, peel, and chop jicama into small pieces before feeding your pup.

  • ⚠️ Kiwi

    Kiwis are small, sweet fruits that are for your dog to eat in moderation. Kiwis are chock full of vitamins like C, E, and potassium. In the summer, frozen kiwi can be a fun treat for your pup. Make sure you remove the peel and seeds to the best ability and cut them into small pieces.

  • ⚠️ Legumes

    Legumes are a good source of protein and fiber. Some legumes have vitamins K and C which help fight infections. Legumes should be fresh, clean, and cooked without added ingredients.

    Here are some good and bad types of legumes for dogs:

    Yes!No
    Black beansBaked beans
    Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)Raw kidney beans
    PeasRefried beans
    LentilsTofu (in large quantities)
  • 🚫 Lemons and Limes

    If your dog gets ahold of a lemon or lime, they likely will be fine, but these citrus fruits aren’t super healthy for your dog. In fact, the rinds contain psoralen which is toxic for dogs. This also goes for lemon oil or lime juice. Opt for mangoes, pineapples, or strawberries instead.

  • ⚠️ Lettuce

    In general, lettuce is a lackluster vegetable for dogs. Most types don’t have a lot of nutritional value and can be high in oxalic acid which can lead to kidney problems. In small quantities romaine, kale, and spinach are okay for your dog. Go for green beans or cucumbers if you’re looking for green vegetables to add to your dog’s diet.

  • ✅ Mangoes

    Fresh mangoes are a tasty alternative to your dog’s fruit treats. Mangoes are a good source of vitamin A, B6, potassium, and alpha-carotene. Before sharing with your dog, remove the pits and cut them into small pieces.

  • ✅ Melon

    Melons are a wonderful treat for dogs — plus there are lots of types to choose from.

    • Cantaloupe is a good source of vitamins A and folate which support vision and immunity.
    • Honeydew contains lots of potassium, but also sugar, so limit your dog's intake.
    • Watermelon is full of vitamins and is 92% water. Try frozen seedless watermelon in the summer.
  • 🚫 Mushrooms

    Unfortunately, many mushroom varieties are poisonous and can be toxic. While packed with B vitamins that support heart health, it's best to avoid this fungus. If your dog snags a cooked mushroom they will probably be fine, but if your dog eats a wild mushroom contact your veterinarian right away.

  • 🚫 Nuts

    Nuts are a great source of protein and fat for humans. But, some nuts (like macadamia nuts) have too much fat and are difficult for your dog to digest. In fact, most nuts are toxic for dogs. Besides the occasional cashew, chestnut, or peanut, it's best to avoid nuts. Stick to lean meats like turkey or chicken for lean protein sources.

    • Almonds
    • Brazil nuts
    • Hazelnuts
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Pecans
    • Pistachios
    • Walnuts
  • ⚠️ Olives

    Olives are a salty vegetable that shows up in many human foods dogs love like pizzas and pasta. Olives are okay for dogs to eat but serve in moderation. They have lots of sodium and not a lot of health benefits for dogs.

  • 🚫 Onions

    Onions get their strong scent from a compound called N-propyl disulfide which is toxic to dogs. Unfortunately, onions are in a lot of processed and human foods we eat. So, if you have a beggar or dumpster diver be aware they aren’t getting your onion-filled leftovers.

  • ✅ Oranges (Clementines)

    Oranges and clementines are bright, vitamin-packed fruits. The seedless, fleshy centers are a great source of vitamins, potassium, and fiber. These fruits can help your dog's immune system and digestion. Be sure to remove any seeds and peel them to avoid choking hazards and stomach issues.

  • ✅ Papaya

    Papaya is a less common fruit with extraordinary health benefits. Papaya is rich in nutrients like lutein which promotes cognitive abilities in senior dogs. Like other fruits, make sure your papaya is fresh and chopped into small pieces. Remove the skin and seeds and limit intake to ½ gram for every pound of body weight.

  • ⚠️ Pasta

    It can be tempting to share a few noodles with your pup while eating dinner. For the most part, giving your dog plain, cooked white rice or pasta is best. But, pasta doesn’t have much nutritional value and causes gas, weight gain, and heart disease.

  • ✅ Peaches (Nectarines)

    Peaches and nectarines are perfectly safe and healthy fruits for dogs. Like cherries, the pits contain cyanide which is toxic to dogs so remove it before sharing. Fresh or frozen peaches or nectarines are best. They have lots of fiber and phosphorus that can help fight infection.

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  • ✅ Peanut Butter

    Next to meat and dog biscuits, most dogs love unsalted peanut butter. But, too much peanut butter can cause weight gain, obesity, and pancreatitis. Opt for low-sugar, unsalted peanut butter and only feed on occasion. Limit your dog's peanut butter intake by trying chicken or turkey.

  • ✅ Pears

    Pears are a great source of copper, vitamin K, and fiber for dogs. Make sure you cut the pear into digestible pieces and remove pits and seeds to avoid toxicity. Fresh pears are best as canned pears can contain lots of sugar. Freeze pureed pears in the summer for a refreshingly sweet treat.

  • 🚫 Peppers

    Bell peppers are an excellent, crunchy snack for dogs. They contain vitamins A, B6, C, and E which promote a healthy immune system and gastrointestinal relief. But, not all peppers are created equal. Outside of bell peppers, if your dogs eat a spicy pepper contact your veterinarian immediately.

    • Banana pepper
    • Chili pepper
    • Ghost pepper
    • Habanero
    • Jalapeno
    • Pimento
    • Pepperoncini
    • Poblano
  • ✅ Pineapple

    Pineapples are a sweet fruit your dogs will love. They are safe for dogs to eat as long as you remove the peel and crown. Pineapples are rich in vitamins, minerals, and enzymes like bromelain that help your dog absorb proteins. Pineapples have a good amount of natural sugar so be sure to serve in moderation.

  • ✅ Plums (Prunes)

    Plums and prunes are good sources of fiber and vitamins E and C. Plums are antioxidants that can help improve energy levels and aging. Like other fruits, plums have pits that contain cyanide which is toxic to dogs. Remove any leaves, stems, and seeds before treating and feed in moderation.

  • 🚫 Pomegranate

    Pomegranates have become a popular treat for humans from their great source of fiber and antioxidant properties. While pomegranates aren’t toxic to dogs, they can cause digestive issues so it's best to avoid this fruit and stick to blueberries.

  • ✅ Pork

    Fresh pork is a comparable protein source to beef in that it is rich in protein, but it has a higher fat content. But, cured pork such as bacon or ham is bad for your dog. They have lots of sodium and usually contain preservatives that can be harmful to your pup.

  • ✅ Potatoes

    Potatoes are full of iron, potassium, and a variety of vitamins. Be sure to cook, bake, or boil raw potatoes before giving them to dogs. French fries are okay as long as they are plain and only given on occasion. Sweet potatoes are a better choice for pups because of their nutritional value.

  • ✅ Radishes

    Radishes are crunchy vegetables full of calcium which helps support your dog’s skin, coat, and teeth. Because of their unique taste and smell, your dog may need some encouragement to eat this treat. Remove the stems and chop them into small pieces to try.

  • ⚠️ Salty Foods

    While sitting on the couch it’s not uncommon for a dog to jump up and try to snag a salty snack. But, which ones are okay for your pup to consume?

    Yes!No
    Popcorn is an okay snack to share if you've popped all the kernels.Avoid chips and pretzels because of their high sodium content.
    Crackers are okay in moderation as long as they are plain.Pizza isn’t a good idea because it often contains onion, garlic, and mushrooms.
  • 🚫 Sauces

    Sauces and condiments aren’t a good idea to share with your pup. Ketchup is high in sugar and made from tomatoes which can be toxic for dogs. Mustard and mayonnaise also contain preservatives and spices that can be dangerous. Most foods are best served plain to avoid an upset stomach.

  • ⚠️ Sausage

    Sausage, pepperoni, salami, and hot dogs are all mouth-watering foods for dogs. Besides the protein content, these meats aren’t super healthy options because they have lots of fat and sodium. Before treating your pup to a sausage link, cook it unseasoned and cut it into small pieces for easy eating.

  • ⚠️ Seeds

    Seeds have a variety of benefits from healthy skin to fighting infection. But, not all seeds are good for dogs. Chia, flaxseed, hemp, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds are great options for dogs often used in commercial dog foods. Avoid poppy seeds and apple seeds as both are toxic to dogs.

  • ⚠️ Shellfish

    For the most part plain, cooked shellfish without shells are okay for dogs. Clams, crab, lobster, oysters, and shrimp are all low in calories and fat and high in protein. But, each of these has its qualms and isn’t good to feed to your dog in large quantities.

  • 🚫 Spices

    Spices are on the “no” list when it comes to things you can feed your dog. Outside of a few spices used for more holistic medicine, it's best to avoid most spices.

    “Yes!No
    AniseAllspice
    BasilBay leaf
    ChamomileCayenne
    CilantroChili powder
    CinnamonCloves
    CorianderGarlic
    DillMustard powder
    GingerNutmeg
    MintOnion powder
    ParsleyOregano
    RosemaryPaprika
    TurmericSalt
  • ✅ Squash

    There are many types of squash that can benefit your dog’s health. They are full of vitamins and minerals that support your dog’s muscle development, kidneys, and skin hydration. Some great options include:

    • Acorn squash
    • Butternut squash
    • Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
    • Spaghetti squash
    • Zucchini
  • 🚫 Sweets

    Common household foods like cookies and ice cream are bad for your dog. Most baked goods and sweet treats contain lots of additives and xylitol which is toxic to dogs. Avoid these sugar-filled human foods:

    • Cakes
    • Cookies
    • Donuts
    • Gelatin (Jell-o)
    • Gummy bears
    • Honey
    • Ice cream
    • Marshmallows
    • Whipped cream
  • ⚠️ Tomatoes

    If you’re looking for a healthy vegetable for your dog, there are better options than tomatoes. While they contain good nutrients like vitamin B6 they also contain toxins that can cause tomatine poisoning. Wash your tomatoes, remove stems and leaves, and cut them into small pieces for your dog.

  • ✅ Turkey

    Plain turkey is another great protein source for your dog. But, make sure you don't serve your dog raw meat to avoid salmonella. It’s also a good alternative for dogs with food allergies and supports your dog’s nervous system.

  • ✅ Yogurt

    Certain types of plain yogurt are good sources of calcium and probiotics that support your dog’s skin, coat, and gut health. Stay away from flavored varieties and choose plain yogurt without additives and extra sugar. Give your pup a sweet occasional treat by freezing plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, and pumpkin on a lick mat.


What Dogs Can't Eat

There are lots of people foods dogs eat. And while most common household foods are safe for dogs, it's important to know which foods are healthy and which are dangerous.

This article is educational and serves as a guide for navigating your dog's diet. If you're unsure about your dog's regular food or diet:

  • Consult with a vet for nutrition advice
  • Consider a dog multivitamin for general health
  • Avoid more serious health issues by investing in pet insurance

Author

Meet Jocelyn Stange

As a Content Marketing Manager, Jocelyn is committed to creating expert content to help pets stay healthy and keep their humans happy. She received her MA in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When she's not zeroed in on content strategy you can find her attempting to teach her goldendoodle Murray a new trick.