Dogs can share many wonderful foods with us. Other foods that we love, though, are toxic.
For example, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, even in small amounts. And we all know about the dangers of chocolate.
But some foods get a bad rap, even though they’re not (totally) toxic to dogs.
Here’s what you should know about foods that you may have been told that your dog can’t have, even though that may be partially or even totally untrue.
As with any snack, be careful before proceeding. You should know exactly how to feed them and why they are considered to be toxic – while feeding a variety of fresh, healthy foods!
Any new food, especially fed in high amounts, can give your dog a tummyache.
If in doubt, don’t feed anything you don’t feel comfortable about, or just talk to your vet.
Table of Contents
1 – “People” Food.
Have you ever been told that you should never give your dog people food – and to only give them food and treats from the pet store that have a picture of the dog on the front?Your dog is special, but she’s not so special that she can only eat such a limited variety of foods.
The fact is, there’s no such thing as “people food.” Food is food.
Well, if anything is people food, it would be cooked, processed foods such as McDonald’s, lasagna, gummy bears… things that no animal should be eating, and that aren’t super good for people, either.
But food is food. You can give your dog fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, eggs and even nuts and seeds.
But, it’s imperative that you know what you’re doing. Know that grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions, and macadamia nuts ARE toxic to dogs. When in doubt, do your research or just let your dog go without.
For some ideas for fresh foods to give your dog, check out our list of “People Food” that you can give your dog.
Have you ever read that avocados are toxic to dogs?
You may have seen it on one of those “toxic foods for dogs” infographics on Pinterest or around the web. Avocados were once believed to be toxic to dogs because they contain persin, a fungicidal toxic found in the flesh, leaves, pit, and bark of the avocado and the avocado tree.
Sounds horrible right? But this toxin is only present in tiny amounts in the flesh of the fruit, the part we actually eat. In 1994, there was a very small study on two dogs who died from eating large amounts of avocado, including all parts of the plant.
A more recent study from Proctor and Gamble showed that dogs can safely eat avocado with no adverse effects. Also, there’s a dog food called AvoDerm that contains avocado. We haven’t tried it, but since all of their small breed recipes contain chicken fat, I won’t be able to use it, as Cow has a poultry allergy.
So, feel free to give your dog avocado. It’s very good for them! Keep in mind that they’re high in fat, so while they’ll help skin and coat health, they can cause tummy upset in large amounts.
Matilda and Cow always get a bite of avocado when I’m eating one, but they’re too expensive to give often. That’s the biggest risk of feeding your dog avocado – they might get hooked to this very expensive, yet very yummy food.
First of all, feeding raw eggs and meat to dogs is typically safe… if you know what you’re doing. If you’re unsure, cooked is fine, too.
But some people believe that feeding raw eggs increases your dog’s risk of a biotin deficiency. This is because avidin, a protein found in egg whites, binds to biotin so your dog’s body cannot absorb it.
From ScienceDirect: “Practically speaking, potential risk for biotin deficiency will only occur if an owner supplements the pet’s food with only the white of the raw egg.”
Feed both the white AND the yolk, and your dog will be fine.
Some people choose to feed egg shells to supplement calcium in their dog’s diet. This can mean feeding the egg as-is, with a slightly cracked shell, or by grinding the shell.
In the United States, eggs are washed and “sprayed with a chlorine mist,” after they’re laid to reduce salmonella contamination from the exterior. But this breaks down the egg’s natural barrier, allowing bacteria to actually penetrate the shell.
This is why we have to refrigerate our eggs, but those who live in other countries do not.
Can you feed USA egg shells that have gone through that chlorine mist? Many people do, and I’ve yet to hear of it causing any issues, but I’d still rinse off the eggs if I decided to start feeding the shells.
Garlic and onion and other related plants are toxic to dogs in varying amounts, so they don’t quite belong on this list. But…
Fresh garlic may have health benefits for dogs, such as fighting bacteria and virus, and some people actually feed it to prevent fleas, though I personally don’t feel there is enough research to feed it daily or depend on it as a sole method for controlling fleas.
Your dog would have to eat an abnormal amount of garlic or onion to experience acute symptoms. We don’t know how the effects of feeding small amounts can build up over time.
I use a very small amount of garlic powder in my homemade dehydrated treats to fight bacteria so they will stay fresh longer. Garlic is also a common ingredient in some dog foods and treats.
As for onions, leeks, and chives, you probably don’t need to worry if your dog sipped on some broth that contained them, but there’s no reason to feed them, either.
This is another tricky one.
Once cooked, bones become hard, brittle, and splintery. Giving your dog cooked bones from your dinner leftovers is extremely risky.
Smoked bones found at most pet stores are typically a little safer if they’re cooked at lower temperatures, but they can be dangerous, too.
Raw bones, though, especially when they’re from a chicken, quail, or duck, are soft and not too hard for your dog’s stomach acid to break them down.
But, even raw bones can be risky. If your dog eats them too quickly, she can swallow large pieces that could cause a gastric obstruction.
Bones can also fracture your dog’s teeth. Ouch!
My dogs get bird bones as part of their raw diet, and some of their raw food includes ground up bone, which is a safe way to supplement calcium in a raw diet.
But all bones, whether they’re commercially available chews, smoked, or raw, should be fed under supervision at all times.