Is food your dog’s love language?
We share love with our fur-babies in many ways. We often get questions from pet parents about sharing human food with their dogs. It’s important to note that dogs metabolize food differently than people, so your pup can’t eat everything you can - some human foods can cause digestive upset, vomiting, diarrhea or worse. But there are many human foods that are healthy for your pup to enjoy!
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in feeding human foods to your dog.
Know which human foods are safe for your dog to eat – and which aren’t!
While some human foods can be a nutritious, delicious snack for your pup, others are poisonous to dogs and may be dangerous if ingested. Check out our free guide on Human Foods Your Dog Can and Cannot Eat – post it on your fridge or keep it somewhere handy as a helpful reminder! Have questions about a food you don’t see on the guide? Stop into our Retail Store to chat with our nutrition experts. We are here to help pet parents navigate all things food!
Below are a few important food categories to know about.
Some fruits are nutritious and healthy for dogs, while others are not safe for them to digest. Avoid grapes, raisins, and pitted fruits (such as plums, peaches, and avocado), as these can be toxic. Certain citrus fruits (such as grapefruit) are also not healthy for your fur-baby to consume. Many other fruits – including apples, blueberries, bananas, and watermelon – can make for a healthy and yummy treat for your pup. When feeding any fruit, be sure to remove seeds, cores, stems, peels, and rinds. The fleshy inside of the fruit is the part your dog can enjoy safely.
While some pups love cheese as a sporadic treat, most dairy products are difficult for a dog’s digestive system. It’s best to avoid milk, ice cream, and heavy dairy products. Some dogs are intolerant to all dairy, including cheese, so monitor your fur-baby for signs of bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
Xylitol (Birch Sugar)
Xylitol, also called birch sugar, is a sweetener that is safe for people to eat, but poisonous to dogs. Birch sugar is found in common foods such as peanut butter, ketchup, teriyaki sauces, non-fat yogurts, and many baked goods. Always check the ingredients list before sharing food with your pup.
When to feed your dog human food
Human foods should be used as treats, snacks, or to complement your dog’s meal. If your dog gets particularly excited about certain foods, like cheese or peanut butter, these can be great “high value” treats for training. Save them as special treats to use only when teaching your dog new behaviors, to help build your dog build a positive association with training!
Human food should not be given as a standalone meal. Replacing pet food with human food for meals may leave your dock lacking in important vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. High quality pet foods are specifically designed to provide the right balance of nutrients that a dog’s body needs (which is different from what our bodies need!).
Tips for feeding your dog human food
Cut into small pieces
Always cut food into bite-sized pieces. Many dogs swallow treats and food without chewing, so small foods like blueberries can be a choking hazard.
Keep it plain, Jane
Think twice before scraping off your dinner plate into your pup’s dish. Many of the yummy things we add to these foods are not healthy for dogs to include – such as butter, extra salt, seasonings, or loaded toppings on potatoes. When feeding your pup human foods like eggs, sweet potato, or white rice, cook it plain!
Buy fresh or frozen - not canned
When feeding fruits and veggies to your pup, always opt for fresh or frozen. Avoid canned fruits and vegetables, which have a high sodium content (yes, even the ones that are labeled low sodium!) as a result of the process used to preserve canned foods.
Paws off table scraps
Feeding your dog scraps off the dinner table encourages pestering and begging behaviors. Once your pup learns that the dining table is a source of foods, they are likely to seek out those foods through whining, pawing, licking, or barking when people are eating at the table.
Enjoy in moderation!
While sharing a delicious morsel with your pup can be a fun way to bond and show love, don’t share every snack with your pooch. A dog’s nutritional needs are different from a human's, and too much human food can cause digestive upset or other GI issues for your fur-baby. Our nutrition experts are here to help you build the right diet to support your pet’s needs – from meals to treats and everything in between! Stop into our Retail Store anytime to chat with our nutrition specialists about your pet’s diet.