Whether we want to admit it or not, many of us give our fur babies human food. Whether we’re snacking and just want to give them with a treat or if we’ve just finished dinner and there’s one bite left on the plate, there are always plenty of opportunities for our pups to get an extra “treat” during the day.
So which foods are safe for dogs and which foods are not? Before giving your dog that special snack, read on and learn which common foods are safe and which ones can lead to health issues.
CHERRIES – Overall, cherries are not safe for dogs. The main danger of cherries is that the stems, leaves, and pits all contain cyanide. Although one cherry pit won’t cause cyanide poisoning, it can pose a choking hazard, as they can get lodged in the digestive tract and cause intestinal blockages. What about maraschino cherries which have already had the pit removed? Maraschino cherries may not have pits, but they are loaded with extra sugar, which is also unhealthy for your dog.
CUCUMBERS – Cucumbers are safe for dogs to eat and many dogs love them as a low-calorie snack. The average dog biscuit contains 40 calories, whereas a half cup of cucumber slices only contains eight calories and is very low in fat and sodium. The only issues to watch for with cucumbers are choking and over-eating. To prevent choking hazards, always cut food down into manageable sized pieces, especially with smaller dogs. Also, over-eating can be an issue with any food since it can cause gastrointestinal issues. Always feed in moderation.
BREAD – In general, yes…bread is safe for dogs. Bread is perfectly safe as long as it’s in moderation. Feeding your dog bread as a treat is fine now and then, as long as he is also fed a complete and balanced diet and gets plenty of exercise. Bread is a “filler food” as it is loaded with carbohydrates. Too many snacks loaded with carbs, like bread, can put your pup on the road to obesity if you are not careful. Also, it is important to avoid bread other than plain white or wheat. Many breads contain extra ingredients like raisins, nuts, and seeds…many of which are unsafe for dogs.
MUSHROOMS – Mushrooms are a complicated food. They are a staple in many dishes, but I’m sure you’ve heard stories about mushroom foraging gone wrong. Most mushrooms are edible, but the few varieties that are toxic are VERY toxic. As far as store-bought mushrooms, they are completely safe. But in most instances, we prepare them with different oils and spices which can be very upsetting for a dog’s digestive system. Although plain, raw mushrooms are safe for dogs, they aren’t a necessary or beneficial part of their diet. Instead, consider a healthier snack like a carrot stick or apple slice.
PEANUT BUTTER – You already know that peanut butter drives dogs crazy. Most dogs love this nutty treat. In moderation, peanut butter is not only safe for dogs but provides protein, healthy fat, and a number of vitamins and minerals. But it’s important to purchase all-natural peanut butter that doesn’t have added sodium and sugar…or make it yourself at home. Added sodium and sugar can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Some peanut butter also contains an artificial sweetener called Xylitol which is very toxic to dogs.
PICKLES – Are pickles safe for dogs? The short answer is yes. But there are considerations to be taken when it comes to pickles. As we know, pickles are just preserved cucumbers. And although cucumbers are a healthy snack, pickles are very high in sodium. Also, depending on what ingredients they are pickled with, could contain ingredients such as garlic and onions which could upset your dog’s digestive tract. Although technically, pickles are safe for dogs in moderation, it’s advisable to shy away from them and choose a healthier option instead.
CORN – Corn is not only safe for dogs but (depending on the type of corn) can be nutritionally beneficial as it contains protein, fiber, vitamins, linoleic acid, and antioxidants. If you give your dog corn, remember two things. First, feed corn in moderation. Just like any food that’s high in starch/carbohydrates, over-eating can lead to health issues. Second, NEVER feed your pup corn on the cob. The cob can cause serious internal blockages if ingested.
ALMONDS – Tree nuts are an “iffy” food when it comes to dogs. Many nuts are safe, but many are not. If in doubt, it’s always best to just avoid them entirely. Dogs don’t digest almonds very well. This can lead to gastrointestinal distress. Almonds also pose the risk of obstruction. Because they can't be chewed as easily as softer nuts, they can cause blockages in the esophagus, intestines, or even the windpipe. If your dog happens to ingest an almond or two, it’s probably not a huge issue. You’ll just need to monitor him for signs of distress. If your dog were to eat an entire package, on the other hand, you should seek professional advice from your vet.
AVOCADO – Avocados contain persin, which can cause, heart failure or even death. Although persin is most highly concentrated in the leaves of the plant, it is also present in the pit, stem and in the fruit itself. All parts of the plant can cause vomiting and diarrhea at the least. As with any foods that are toxic to dogs, one bite will probably not cause them harm. If your dog has ingested any avocado make sure to monitor his health closely. Another huge danger concerning avocados is the pit. The pit can be swallowed and cause internal blockages. It’s wise to not only avoid feeding avocado to your dog but also keep them out of their reach.
Although there are many human foods that are toxic to dogs, there are also many that are not only healthy but can be part of a balanced, raw food diet. Whether it’s part of a meal or just as a treat, we want to make sure that the foods we feed our dogs are not only safe but of the highest nutritional value possible.
My dogs have given me an entirely new spiritual perspective on life. I now have a genuine understanding of unconditional love and provision.