Food is an absolute essential, giving our bodies the fuel it needs to function properly day in and day out. It’s not just a necessity, though. It’s also a pleasurable experience, a part of culture, a bonding opportunity, and just generally a cornerstone of our daily hooman lives. With it being such a critical part of our lives, it’s only natural we want to share in the fun, even with our favorite canine besties. The problem is that not all people food is safe for dogs. What tasty treats can we give them and what should be strictly off-limits? Here’s a quick introduction to some of the foods your pup can eat and some that they absolutely can’t.
Can Dogs Eat Bananas
As far as fruit goes, bananas are probably the ultimate treat. They’re a perfect grab-and-go snack, easy to carry around and not at all messy to eat. After all, they pretty much have a built-in wrapper. Bananas are also super sweet, soft, filling, and packed with incredible nutrients. That’s for us, however. What about for our four-legged friends? Well, good news! Dogs can have bananas. They’re not toxic in any way (peels included!), and they’re able to be digested. In fact, they’re actually a rather healthy and encouraged snack that can fit into most pooches’ diets.
This is attributed to bananas’ awesome vitamin and mineral makeup. As a natural source of Vitamin C, B6, potassium, magnesium, and fiber these yellow fruits are fantastic for supporting your dog’s immune system, digestion, glucose regulation, and nervous system function. Even better, these awesome benefits don’t come with a lot of trade-offs in the long run since bananas are low in sodium and cholesterol. The only true thing to watch out for is that you don’t give your buddy too many bananas as they’re still fairly high in natural sugars, which could contribute to weight gain or diabetes when given too frequently. Like any other treat, moderation is key!
How to Serve Them: Bananas are some of the most versatile fruits out there, which means you can play around with how you feed them to your pup. You can serve them room temp or frozen, mashed or in chunks, baked into treats, stirred into food, or given all on their own. It’s up to you. Just be sure to peel them before serving. The peels may not be toxic, but they’re still a little too rough for good digestion.
Bananas not really your bag? You’re not alone. While some of us are obsessed with the fruit, not everyone’s obsessed with its mushy texture or tendency to go brown before making it through the bunch. And some dogges can be just as picky, turning their nose up to it should you offer. Looking for a crisp, juicy alternative for you both? You might want to consider watermelon. Not only is it delicious for you, but it’s good for Sparky, as well. Super low-cal, with no cholesterol, no fat, a high-water content, and a wide range of nutritional benefits, it’s a no-guilt snack for humans and canines alike.
However, that does come with a huge, bolded asterisk attached. Watermelon is a safe and healthy treat, but it must be seedless. While they’re, once again, not actually toxic, they are incredibly harmful. One or two likely won’t cause any issues, especially for larger dogs, but too many can cause intestinal blockages that could prove fatal. It’s better to just be cautious and buy seedless or carefully pick out all the seeds by hand. The rind should also not be given to dogs because they too can result in blockages since they’re difficult to chew into small bites and equally as hard to digest.
How to Serve It: Once you remove the rind and take out all of the seeds, cut them into small cubes. This makes them super simple to chew and easy for you to portion out. How many you can hand out will depend on your dog’s size, weight, and breed, but it’s always better to start with one or two then go from there. Want to make this treat even more refreshing for your doggo friend? Put them in the freezer for a bit. Just make sure your dog’s teeth can handle the firmer texture, first.
Can Dogs Eat Blueberries
Watermelon, bananas, and other fruits make for fantastic pup-friendly snacks, but they’re not the only delicious fruits out there. Case and point? Blueberries. Juicy, bursting with flavor, versatile, and already conveniently bite-sized, these berries are ideal go-tos when you want to mix things up a little. They’re safe to eat, both sweet and tart, and bring a significant amount of healthy nutrition to a dog’s diet. Like many of the other fruits on the list, they contain high levels of Vitamin C and fiber, which help support your puppy’s gastrointestinal processes and immune function. But they’re also filled with antioxidants that help fight the free radicals linked to cellular and molecular aging, thus protecting your pup from cognitive decline and other age-related diseases. What’s better than that?
Despite all the great benefits of blueberries, you should still be cautious when introducing them into your dog’s diet. Because of their naturally small size, it’s ridiculously easy to give your furry companion way too many. One turns into two, two turns into five, and so on until you eventually realize your previously full package of berries is halfway gone. That’s no good, so keep a close eye on how many you’re feeding! A few is more than enough.
How to Serve Them: Much like bananas, there are endless ways for you to jazz them up for the good boy (or girl) in your life. You can feed them fresh out of the package, frozen, dried, mashed, pureed, or used in a recipe. All are completely valid ways. Try them all out and see what your buddy likes the most. Just remember to serve them without any extra sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavorings, etc. That means no giving in to the puppy dog eyes when eating blueberry muffins, scones, or other baked desserts. The added sugar is not healthy for them. Find out a few more foods to avoid!
All these sweet fruits are all well and good, but what about something a little more citrusy? Well, it depends on the canine in question. Dogs can eat oranges. They’re not toxic and they have plenty of good stuff in them to warrant feeding a few slices here and there, but not all Lassies out there are down for their taste. While some totally flip out for their flavor, there’s just as many – if not more – who hate the slightly sour, tart profile that is common to oranges, especially when they’re not perfectly ripe or in season. The best thing to do is to start your furry friend out slow. Give them a nibble when you’re snacking on one and see if they like it before doing anything else.
Is your pup in the pro-orange camp? The fruit has more than enough health-promoting nutrients in it to warrant giving some to your dog once in a while. However, do be sure to limit them to take up no more than ten percent of your dog’s caloric intake, and make sure to get all the peel off before giving them a couple of tasty slices. Much like with bananas and watermelon, the peel can get stuck in the digestive tract, only able to be removed with expensive, painful surgery. It’s better to simply avoid this than pay the price later on.
How to Serve Them: Out of everything on this list so far, oranges are perhaps the most straightforward to serve. All you need to do is remove all the thick, outside peel and separate the orange slices like you normally would. You can then use them in baking or hand them to your dog this way. You can also cut them into even smaller bites should you have a particularly small breed. One or two slices every couple of days is a decent rule of thumb, but it’s always a smart idea to consult your vet if you’re unsure.
Up to this point, all the foods mentioned have been perfectly safe (and even good) to give to your beloved pooch. However, this one is going to break that trend. Dogs can eat a lot of fruits, but grapes are not one of them. And this includes all varieties, whether seeded, unseeded, or peeled. This is because grapes are actually highly toxic to our furry pals, although the specific mechanism or substances behind it is still largely unknown. Even small amounts are extremely dangerous and could ultimately prove fatal, usually resulting in acute kidney failure.
Worried that your dog has gotten into some grapes on their own, or want to be prepared so you can recognize it should the situation ever arise? According to the American Kennel Club, there are a few common symptoms that might indicate toxic ingestion. These include:
- Lethargy and weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal upset
- Stomach tenderness
- Dehydration, increased thirst, and decreased urine production
- Kidney failure
If you see your dog or someone else’s suddenly begins to exhibit these signs, you should immediately call the vet. You’ll likely be told to induce vomiting or encourage you to go to an emergency clinic. Time is vital after a pup’s eaten something toxic, and there’s no time to lose.
Can Dogs Eat Avocado
Avocados have certainly had a spot in the limelight over the last few years and it doesn’t look like it’s about to let up anytime soon. Considering how tasty they are, we’re a-okay with that. However, it’s led a considerable amount of people to wonder if their dog can partake now and again, too. Well, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might expect. Avo’s are nutrient-dense and could be incredibly beneficial for filling in the occasional deficiency, but they’re not exactly the safest option out in the food-focused ether.
You can thank a pesky compound called “persin” for this. Persin is a fungicidal toxin found throughout the entire avocado: from the leaves to the pit to the actual flesh of the fruit. This can be potentially poisonous to dogs, but the amount it would take to truly prove lethal is debatable. It would most likely take large amounts for true toxicity, but there’s still valid concern and trepidation considering we don’t know any exact numbers. If you’re wanting to be on the cautious side, it’s best to skip out on giving your dog any avocado. Otherwise, small amounts are the way to go.
Everyone knows that dogs love peanut butter. They go absolutely nuts (pun intended) for it, and almond butter is in this same category. Luckily, that’s not a problem as almond butter isn’t toxic – supposing that there are no potentially dangerous additives mixed in. Just the plain nut butter can be a rather safe and tasty treat for all our four-legged friends, with it serving as a great source of protein, healthy fats, vitamin B and E, folic acid, niacin, and more. It’s also exceptionally flexible, able to be given as a treat all on its own or used in pet-approved baking.
A word of caution, however. Be careful to not give Spot too much almond butter. Since it’s not quite as solid as the other foods on our list, portion control takes a little more focus, and you’ll need to keep a tight reign on that because of all the sugar, calories, and fat content. Too much and your puppy dog will have an upset belly in no time. Considering we’d rather him enjoy his snack than immediately get sick, you should stay vigilant.
How to Serve It: Almond butter is delicious no matter how you dish it up. You can obviously let your dog lick a spoon or give them a little on a plate, but you can also get more creative with it. Shove some in a Kong toy to entertain feisty, energetic pups or use it to make almond butter doggie treats should you have a dogge that’s a little more decadent.