There are many foods you enjoy that your dog will too. Learn what human foods are okay for your pet along with some recipes for healthy treats.
Picture this - you’re sitting down to a meal and you feel a wet nose resting on your leg. You look down to see your dog staring up at you with a look that says, “Can I have a bite?!”
It’s so tempting to give in, but there are some foods that can be harmful for your dog. Thankfully, there is also a long list of foods that both you and your pooch can enjoy together. The Vet Nutrition team at Tufts has put together a list of some caloric limits for fruits and vegetables for dogs as a guide for giving new treats.
Here we share 18 different human foods for dogs that you can give on their own or mixed into different treats (we’ve got recipes!) so read on and get your grocery list ready.
Vegetables for dogs
Nature’s perfect chew stick, carrots are a safe vegetable to give to your dog. They can be given to young dogs to help with teething, frozen in the summer for a cool treat, or used in small pieces for training.
If you’re a pet parent of an overweight dog, you may have heard that substituting some of their regular food for canned pumpkin (not the sugary pie filling kind) can help with weight management. Pumpkin is low in calories and can help ease stomach discomfort (like constipation or diarrhea). Just stick to the pure stuff, no Pumpkin Spice Lattes for your pooch.
Cucumber spa water, anyone? Cucumbers are well known for their ability to provide hydration, and they can do the same for your pooch. Cut the cucumber into manageable pieces for your dog and provide after a hot walk in the sun.
While the “green bean diet” isn’t recommended, giving dogs green beans as a snack is a great choice. Some vets do use green beans as a weight management tool for dogs, but they still need nutrients from other sources.
Peas can be incorporated in your dog’s diet, just choose the freshest kind available. Generally you should shell the pea, and avoid canned peas that have additives. Mix peas with the next veggie on the list - sweet potato - with flour and a flax egg for a delicious homemade dog biscuit.
Dried sweet potato treats have been popping up on shelves lately, and for good reason. They’re a tasty treat with a nutritional punch. So, while you’re making your latest batch of sweet potato toast, why not whip up some sweet potato dog treats too?
In a similar family to the pumpkin, zucchini squash can be safely fed to your dog. It’s recommended to be cooked (steaming is fine) which makes it easier to eat. Chop it into bit-sized pieces and add to your dog’s food.
Fruits for dogs
A peeled banana is a great kong/treat stuffer, and can be given fresh or frozen. As quoted on Paw Culture, Cathy Alinovi, DVM says, “From practical experience, some dogs love bananas and some hate bananas. As long as bananas are just a snack, not the whole meal, and the dog isn’t allergic to the banana, then there’s no reason not to feed them.”
Blueberries are already the perfect size for sharing with your dog as a treat. They have lots of antioxidants that can benefit your dog’s overall health. Give in moderation as a training reward, sit for a blueberry!
Avoid the seeds of an apple if your sharing with your pooch, but feel free to give them a slice every now and then. In addition to feeding in moderation, pick a fresh variety and don’t feed sugary applesauce.
The seeds of a pear contain a cyanide compound (just like apples) so it’s best to play it safe and give them only the flesh and skin the next time you are slicing up a juicy pear.
As hydrating as a cucumber, watermelon is another great treat for hot days. Remove the seeds and take off the rind, then your dog can chow down. You can also freeze bites of watermelon and share them with your furry friend too. Check out this frosty watermelon dog treat recipe for the summer.
Did you know that strawberries have more vitamin c than oranges? Share some of that goodness with your pup by giving fresh strawberries as a treat. Don’t use any fruit that has been soaking in sugar syrup. Eating strawberries can also help keep teeth clean (yours and fidos).
Other human food for dogs
Because it’s a particularly fatty food, give peanut butter in moderation. It’s been a tried and true filling of kong toys in shelters across the nation (fill it and freeze it for maximum fun) and a great way to sneak a pill if your dog needs some extra motivation. You could try out these peanut butter, oatmeal and banana dog treats too (and don’t be afraid to taste test!).
You can find oatmeal as an ingredient in many store-bought dog foods. According to Dr. Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD., they are quick-cooking and contain more protein per calorie than any other common grain with the added benefit of anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. According to Top Dog, High soluble fiber content makes oatmeal beneficial to the dog’s digestive system and high volumes of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, copper, and iron makes oatmeal very nutritious.
Peppermint can be used in homemade dog treats to keep your furry friend’s breath smelling fresh. Try out these Sweet Potato Mint doggie treats from blogger a Teaspoon of Sunshine and see what your dog thinks.
Just like mint, parsley has been found to improve the smell of a dog’s breath. Combine the two in a doggie breath mint you can make at home with other ingredients like applesauce.
While we might associate Garfield the cartoon cat as the most carb-loving animal, our flesh-and-blood canine friends also love to enjoy a noodle or two. Dogs have evolved to digest starches (unlike their wolf ancestors) so an occasional pasta treat is okay.
Introduce new foods slowly
Introducing whole foods as treats and making your own dog biscuits at home is a great way to bond with your dog. You can feel confident that they’re getting the best food available. However, a word to the wise: always introduce new foods slowly to your dog’s diet and talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions. Remember there are human foods that are not safe for dogs too.
Give treats in moderation, especially fruits that tend to be higher in sugar. If you don’t want your dog begging at the table, be sure to share human foods at appropriate moments. Introduce new foods when your dog is having a meal or you’re training and providing a reward.