As a pet owner, it is natural to want to spoil your four-legged friend by sharing scraps from your table, or a favorite snack. After all, if the food is safe for you to eat, it should be okay for your pet as well, right? Well, not necessarily. Although most human foods, in particular fruit and veggies, are completely safe for your pet, some of them are not only unhealthy, but actually dangerous when given to dogs. This is because a dog’s digestive system works very differently to ours. Giving your dog the wrong foods could result in serious health problems or even death.
For your dog, this does not mean that all fruit and vegetables are off limits. Below are some of the human foods that are fine for canines to eat and those that should be avoided.
Fruits and Vegetables You Can Feed Your Dog:
Apples – Yes
Apples are a great source of fiber as well as vitamins A and C. Apples also have a low protein content and no fat, which means they are an excellent snack for older dogs. However, before treating your dog to a slice of apple, ensure that you have removed the core and seeds.
Bananas – Yes
Bananas when given in moderation provide an excellent low-calorie snack for your dog. They are highly nutritious as well, with lots of vitamins, fiber, potassium, biotin and copper. Bananas have low cholesterol and sodium content, but due to the high amount of sugar that they contain, they should only be given as an occasional treat.
Watermelon – Yes
Watermelon is perfectly safe, but before you feed your dog watermelon, ensure that you remove the seeds and rind to avoid intestinal blockage. The fruit contains potassium as well as vitamins A, B-6, and C. Melons contain 92 percent water by weight, which is a great way to keep your pet hydrated on hot days.
Strawberries – Yes
Strawberries have a high vitamin C and fiber content. They also have an enzyme to help whiten your dog’s teeth. However, they should be given to pets in moderation due to their extremely high sugar content.
Oranges – Yes
Smaller dogs can be given up to 1/3 of a large orange, while bigger pets can be fed a full orange. Although orange peel isn’t toxic to dogs, vets recommend getting rid of it and feeding the dogs only the inner, fleshy part without the seeds.
Pineapple – Yes
A few pieces of pineapple are a great treat for dogs as long as the prickly outside surface has been removed. This tropical fruit is packed full of vitamins and fiber and also contains an enzyme known as bromelain, which eases digestion in dogs.
Potatoes – Yes
It is perfectly fine for your dog to eat plain potatoes occasionally, but they must be cooked first. Raw potatoes can cause them to suffer an upset stomach. A clean, peeled, baked or boiled potato is a great source of iron for your pet.
Fruits and Vegetables You Must Not Feed Your Dog:
Grapes – No
Raisins and grapes have been shown to be extremely toxic when given to dogs of any age, sex or breed. In fact, grapes are so bad for your dog that they can cause sudden and acute kidney failure. This is one type of fruit you should definitely not give your dog.
Tomatoes – No
Although the ripe tomato fruit (the part normally eaten by humans) is safe for dogs to eat, the plant itself contains a dangerous toxin known as solanine. A dog would have to eat a very large amount of the green matter to get sick, so it is wise to skip tomatoes altogether.
Avocado – No
Although avocado is a healthy food for pet owners, it should never be offered to a dog, under any circumstances. The skin, leaves and pit of the avocado fruit contain a toxin known as persin, which causes diarrhea and vomiting in dogs. Although the fleshy part of the fruit does not have as much of the toxin, avocados are best avoided.
Mushrooms – No
Of the more than 50,000 mushroom species across the world, only about 100 are toxic. The ones that are dangerous, could lead to serious illness in your dog or even death. Clean mushrooms bought from the store may be fine for pets to eat, but it is wiser to skip the fungi altogether.
Onions – No
Chives, onions and leeks form a family of plants known as Allium, and are toxic to most pets. If your dog eats onions, its red blood cells could rupture. Eating allium also causes stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in dogs
Cherries – No
The fleshy part of the cherry fruit around the seed contains cyanide and is dangerous to dogs. The cyanide causes a disruption in oxygen transport in the blood and damage to the dog’s red blood cells. If your dog has eaten cherries, look out for difficulty in breathing, red gums and dilated pupils – classic signs of cyanide poisoning.
We love to share our food with our pets, especially since we believe that food that is good for us should be OK for our pets too. This is often the case, but if you are going to give your pup a snack, make sure you do not give him or her any of the ‘No’ items on this list.