Feeding Fido: The Best and the Worst Things to Give Your Dog

Don’t pretend like you’re innocent. We’ve all snuck what is often dubbed “human food” under the table, whether that was because we hated it ourselves or because we had irresistible eyes begging it from us. Fido has sampled from your dinner table at least once, and we all know it. What Fido doesn’t know, however, is that much of the food humans eat is completely unsuitable for dogs– and we’re pretty certain we humans often aren’t aware of it, either. You might be surprised at the foods that are actually very toxic for your canine companion. So what’s safe for your beloved Fido, and what isn’t?


Human Food No-Nos

Leftovers in general are a big no-no for dogs, as they often mash a variety of ingredients together that may or may not be suitable for their delicate bellies. However, there are some foods that are poisonous for your pets, and which should never be given to them. Here are the worst foods to give your dog.

  • Chocolate – Chocolate contains three toxic ingredients for dogs: caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. Too much chocolate can cause damage to a dog’s heart and nervous system, among other symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Coffee & Alcohol­ – The caffeine in coffee is poisonous to dogs, and alcohol affects them negatively much as it does humans. As a general rule, if it’s not water, don’t give it to your dog to drink. That includes tea and otherwise.
  • Grapes & Raisins – These contain a toxin that can cause kidney failure and severe liver damage to your Fido. Don’t give them to your dog under any circumstances.
  • Macadamia Nuts – Weakness, swollen limbs, tremors, and panting are just the temporary side-effects of macadamia nuts on your dog- long-term damage can be seen in the digestive, nervous, and muscle systems.
  • Onions, Chives, & Garlic– Containing disulfides and sulfoxides that cause anemia and damage to red blood cells, onions, chives, and garlic should never be given to your dog in any form.
  • Xylitol – Xylitol is a sugar alcohol often found in sugar-substituted foods like gum, candy, and baked goods. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar, liver failure, and seizures for dogs.
  • Seeds & Pits – Peaches, pears, plums, persimmons, and other pit-growing fruits pose a serious danger for your dog. Often the seeds include traces of arsenic and physically cause intestinal obstruction.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an all-inclusive list. Runner-ups for the worst human food for your dog include avocadoes, dairy products, fat trimmings, sugar, yeast dough, and salt. In other words, you should probably just stick to giving Fido his dog-specific food and dog-specific snacks from now on.


Human Food Okayed

Don’t worry- there is good news to all of this. Not everything from your table is lethal to your dog, and in fact some of it is quite good as snacks or dietary supplements. Here are some of the best foods to give to your dog.

  • Peanut Butter – Non-sugar-free peanut butter has the green-light from veterinarians. It is a good source of protein, healthy fats, vitamin B, and so on. Raw, unsalted peanut butter is best for your pup.
  • Baby Carrots – We knew you weren’t going to eat them, so lucky you- you can give them to Fido. Carrots are high in fiber and vitamin A, and also happen to be good for your dog’s dental hygiene.
  • Pumpkin & Sweet Potatoes – Much like carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber and vitamin A. They also help with digestive issues.
  • Apple Slices – High in vitamin A, C, and fiber, apples add nutrition to your dog’s diet as well as freshen their breath by helping clean residue off of their teeth.
  • Cooked Eggs – Fully-cooked eggs add an excellent source of protein to your dog’s diet and have the added benefit of aiding an upset stomach.
  • Plain Yogurt – If you can find a yogurt without added sugars and artificial sweeteners, plop it into Fido’s food bowl. Plain yogurt is rich with calcium and protein and helps boost your dog’s digestive system with probiotics.
  • Oatmeal – Vitamins, minerals, and fiber can be found in oatmeal, which is often already an additive in store-bought dog food.

As with our list of the most toxic foods for dogs, our best foods for dogs list isn’t all-inclusive. Runner-ups include cooked salmon, green beans, bread, blueberries, and bananas.


Fido’s Diet Is Your Responsibility

Overfeeding your goldfish is a little different from overfeeding your dog (sorry, Goldie). Make sure you know what you’re giving Fido, and that you do so responsibly. Pair the right amount of feeding with the right food, and pair that with the right amount of exercise. Each dog has different needs depending on its unique body chemistry and its breed. Be choosy with your dog foods, and be even choosier with the human food that you give your dog. Some of it is great, but, as we’ve learned, some of it is extremely toxic. Fido’s health is in your hands.