At one time or another, it’s something we’ve all asked ourselves as dog owners – “is that item of food safe for my dog?”.
We all know there are some foods your dogs must never eat – common sense items like alcohol and chocolate must obviously be avoided, but even items like grapes and garlic should be off the menu.
It goes without saying that it is vitally important to know the foods your dog can’t eat. With this in mind, we’ve created this definitive guide for the foods which are safe for your dog – and those which should be avoided.
You can either look for your food item in our searchable database below, or you can scroll through the article to review the list of foods dogs can’t eat.
This article is regularly updated, so bookmark it for future reference!
Our infographic below is a great way to share information about some of the foods which are safe for your pup!
What dogs can eat v. What dogs should eat
There is obviously a distinction between foods your dog can eat and foods your dog should eat – in the same way as a human can eat a whole cheesecake in one sitting, they probably shouldn’t.
In this guide, we’ve tried to provide context and inform you of the nutritional content where necessary, so you can make an informed decision and know which foods should be served in moderation.
Additionally, this article is for guidance purposes only and does not replace the advice of a veterinarian. Our dogs are all different, with their own set of allergies and intolerances. If you do have any doubts about a particular food item or are worried about how your dog may react to a specific type of food, please consult your veterinarian for individual guidance for your pup.
Choose Your Food Group
Apples are actually a great source of vitamins A and C for your dog, in addition to fiber. Dogs can eat the fruit and peel without any problems, but make sure to remove the core and seeds first, as these are choking hazards.
Verdict: Apples are safe for dogs to eat.
Dogs can eat bananas, although they should only be offered in moderation due to their high sugar content. Bananas are high in potassium, magnesium, vitamin B and fiber.
Verdict: Bananas are safe for dogs to eat.
Although oranges aren’t toxic for dogs, they do contain lots of natural sugar. This means they should be avoided if your dog is overweight and especially if they are diabetic, as the level of sugar can cause an insulin spike.
Verdict: Oranges are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Peaches are safe for dogs to consume. A peach should be washed and the stem, leaves and stone removed before feeding to your dog. With a relatively high sugar content, it is best to serve peaches in moderation.
Verdict: Peaches are safe for dogs to eat.
Pears are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A and fiber. The flesh of pears is safe for your dog to eat, although do not feed them the core – the seeds contain traces of cyanide and could be a choking hazard.
Verdict: Pears are safe for dogs to eat.
Even a single grape could be toxic for your dog. Although it isn’t clear why grapes cause such an adverse reaction to dogs, they are poisonous and can result in acute kidney failure. Never, under any circumstances, feed your dog a grape.
Verdict: Grapes are not safe for dogs to eat.
A watermelon is a nutrient-dense, low-calorie option for your pup. Containing mostly water, the flesh is an ideal snack; however, make sure the seeds and rind are out of your dog’s reach. The seeds can cause an intestinal blockage and the rind can cause an upset stomach.
Verdict: Watermelon is safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
As with watermelon, cantaloupe is packed full of nutrients. Remember that the riper the cantaloupe, the more sugar it contains, so portion control for your dog is essential. Additionally, the seeds and rind should be removed before serving.
Verdict: Cantaloupe is safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
A holiday favorite, the pomegranate is rich in antioxidants and nutritional value. However, some dogs may experience an upset stomach if they consume too much pomegranate, due to the tannins in pomegranate seeds and flesh. Pomegranate extract or dog treats containing pomegranate are a safer option to feed your dog.
Verdict: Pomegranate is safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Strawberries are safe to feed your dog, containing a healthy dose of vitamin C and fiber. An enzyme found in strawberries also helps to keep your dog’s teeth looking sparkly white. As with other fruits, take care with the amount of strawberries you feed your pup – they do contain sugar.
Verdict: Strawberries are safe for dogs to eat.
Pineapples are another excellent choice for a snack for your dog. Just be careful not to feed them the spiky skin or tough core.
Verdict: Pineapples are safe for dogs to eat.
Containing vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin E, in addition to fiber and antioxidants, a few cubes of mango are a refreshing snack for your pup. However, make sure to remove the peel and the pit/seeds to eliminate the likelihood of your dog choking. Also, due to the high sugar and fiber content, regularly feeding your dog this tropical fruit can lead to an upset stomach or diarrhea, so be vigilant about the amount of mango you provide.
Verdict: Mangoes are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause acute kidney failure. As with grapes, not enough information is available to determine precisely why raisins react so badly with dogs – all we know is that your dog should definitely avoid them.
Verdict: Raisins are not safe for dogs to eat.
The grapefruit is another unsafe food for your dog to consume. The bitter taste of the grapefruit isn’t likely to be attractive to your pup anyway, but the peel, seeds and pith contain a compound called psoralen which is toxic for your dog.
Verdict: Grapefruit is not safe for dogs to eat.
Although dogs can technically eat the flesh of cherries without any problems, the stems, leave and pits do contain traces of cyanide. Consumed in enough quantity, this can poison your dog. The pits are also a choking hazard and can cause intestinal blockages.
Verdict: Cherries are not safe for dogs to eat.
Avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin, which is present in the fruit, skin and pit. Keep the skin and pit away from your dog, as this is where the greatest level of persin is found. In very small amounts, the flesh is safe.
Verdict: Avocados are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
The flesh of a coconut is safe to feed to your dog in moderation, but overfeeding can lead to bloating and stomach upsets. Coconut oil has several health benefits – it can improve your dog’s digestion, coat and skin.
Verdict: Coconuts are safe for dogs to eat.
Technically, your dog can consume most fruit juices without any problems. However, due to their high sugar content, there really is no justifiable reason for feeding it to your pup on a regular basis. Clean, filtered water should be sufficient.
Verdict: Fruit juice is safe for dogs to drink, but caution should be taken.
Onions are a huge no-no. Part of the allium family, they contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs. Even onion powder can be dangerous. According to the AKC, dogs only need to eat 100 grams of onion per 20 kilograms of their weight for the toxicity to become dangerous.
Verdict: Onions are not safe for dogs to eat.
Despite offering health benefits for humans, garlic is an ingredient your dog must avoid. It contains the same harmful thiosulfate properties of other members of the allium family. This includes garlic bread (which would have no nutritional value in any case) and supplements which may contain garlic.
Verdict: Garlic is not safe for dogs to eat.
In small amounts – less than 5% of their diet – broccoli can offer great health benefits for your dog. However, the vegetable should always be given in small quantities – broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause gastric irritation in dogs.
Verdict: Broccoli is safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
This leafy vegetable is full of vitamins and minerals for your pup. It is recommended to lightly cook collard greens, as eating them raw could result in an upset stomach.
Verdict: Collard greens are safe for dogs to eat.
Spinach contains lots of useful nutrition, being extremely high in vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin K. One thing to consider is that spinach is very high in oxalic acid, which can cause kidney damage – although research suggests your dog would need to eat an enormous amount of spinach to cause problems.
Verdict: Spinach is safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Romaine lettuce is a safe food for your dog (as are other types of lettuce). Lettuce has a high water content and several beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Verdict: Romaine lettuce is safe for dogs to eat.
This vibrant orange vegetable is one of the best choices for a nutritious treat for your pup. Raw or cooked, there’s no doubt about it – carrots are a safe bet.
Verdict: Carrots are safe for dogs to eat.
Bell peppers are a healthy snack to feed your dog. The color doesn’t matter – although the red variety contains the highest amounts of vitamins and antioxidants.
Verdict: Peppers are safe for dogs to eat.
In general, tomatoes are safe. They can be highly acidic, which may upset your dog’s stomach. Additionally, tomato stems and vines contain a toxin called solanine, which can cause digestive issues when eaten in large quantities.
Verdict: Tomatoes are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
This root vegetable is packed with nutrients for your dog. Dehydrated sweet potatoes can be used as an alternative to a rawhide chew or frozen inside a bone for your dog to lick. Sweet potatoes should always be cooked, and never fed to your dog raw – this can be hard for them to digest.
Verdict: Sweet potatoes are safe for dogs to eat.
Dogs can eat potatoes, although they must be cooked prior to serving. Potatoes contain the same compound – solanine – as found in tomatoes, which can be toxic for some dogs. French fries or potato chips are usually fried in oil and are not a healthy choice.
Verdict: Potatoes are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
A staple of many commercial dog foods, corn is fine for your dog to consume, unless they have an allergy. It has a balanced nutrition profile of protein, carbohydrates and antioxidants.
Verdict: Corn is safe for dogs to eat.
There is some contention surrounding the safety of mushrooms. Whilst it is believed that many store-bought varieties are safe (without oil or seasonings – and how often do we cook mushrooms without those?), there are so many varieties of fungi – especially in the wild – that it is difficult to ascertain if they are truly safe. Some wild mushrooms can cause extremely adverse reactions in dogs. As mushrooms aren’t an essential part of a dog’s diet, it is best to skip them altogether.
Verdict: Mushrooms are not safe for dogs to eat.
All varieties of squash are safe to feed to your dog. Pumpkin puree can help dogs who are suffering from diarrhea. It is best to only feed the flesh of the squash to your dog – avoid feeding them the seeds or the skin.
Verdict: All varieties of squash safe for dogs to eat.
Beans, Legumes & Peas
Kidney beans are a great source of antioxidants to maintain cholesterol levels and keep your pup healthy. However, it is vital to cook them first – raw kidney beans will be almost indigestible for your dog.
Verdict: Kidney beans are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Black beans are also safe for your dog – as with kidney beans, they just need to be cooked first. In fact, dogs can eat a wide variety of beans, including lima beans, pinto beans, garbanzos, edamame and soybeans.
Verdict: Black beans are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Peas are often found in commercial dog food, and they are totally safe for dogs to consume. Most types of peas can be fed to your pup – as for the pods, the rule of thumb is that if humans can eat the pod, so can dogs.
Verdict: Peas are safe for dogs to eat.
High in fiber and low in calories, lentils help dogs to feel fuller whilst eating and prevents blood sugars from spiking. Don’t feed them to your dog without cooking them first.
Verdict: Lentils are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
As an occasional treat, bread isn’t a problem for dogs to eat. Of course, bread isn’t usually the most nutritional food – and remember to avoid feeding anything with potentially toxic mix-ins like chocolate chips or nuts.
Verdict: Bread is safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Cooked rice is safe for dogs, and white rice is often suggested as a remedy for a pup with an upset stomach. Brown rice is nutritionally dense and contains more vitamins and minerals than white rice due to the way it is processed.
Verdict: Rice is safe for dogs to eat.
Plain, popped corn is fine for your dog to consume in moderation. Avoid feeding popcorn to them if it contains butter, oil or salt – and especially if it contains toxic additions like chocolate chips or chopped nuts.
Verdict: Popcorn is safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Oatmeal can be offered to your dog as a snack or occasional meal-topper – although you should avoid adding the brown sugar and maple syrup you might put on top of your own bowl of oats.
Verdict: Oatmeal is safe for dogs to eat.
Not necessarily harmful, the odd pretzel here and there isn’t going to impact your dog too much, even if the nutritional value is low. Remember that pretzels often have a high salt content, and the chocolate coated varieties are obviously a no-no.
Verdict: Pretzels are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Corn tortillas are unlikely to pose a huge risk to your dog unless they have a sensitivity to eating grains, but in any event, they contain little nutritional value – so they may benefit from a healthier snack.
Verdict: Corn tortillas are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
A small amount of plain grits (without butter, sugar, cheese or salt) should not pose any problems to your dog.
Verdict: Grits are safe for dogs to eat.
A great comfort food for humans, plain pasta is okay for your dog to eat in moderation. Remember to steer clear of butter and oil, and pasta sauces which contain onions and garlic.
Verdict: Pasta is safe for dogs to eat.
Fish & Shellfish
Found in many commercial dog foods, dogs can eat the vast majority of fish – they are nutritionally diverse, providing a healthy source of protein and and omega-3 fatty acids.
There are a few things to consider, though. Make sure the fish is fully cooked without seasonings to kill any bacteria. Ensure that any bones are removed as these can pose a choking hazard. Finally, avoid any species high in mercury (e.g. tuna).
Verdict: Fish is safe for dogs to eat.
It might seem luxurious to feed shellfish to your dog, but it is safe and highly nutritious. Mussels, shrimp, lobster, crab and oysters can all be fed to your dog. Make sure the shellfish is shelled and cooked before serving, as raw shellfish can carry intestinal parasites.
Verdict: Shellfish is safe for dogs to eat.
Meat & Eggs
Good quality, grass-fed beef provides a range of essential vitamins and minerals for your dog, in addition to giving their diet a huge protein boost. Try to avoid cuts which are high in fat as these can be hard for your dog to digest.
Verdict: Beef is safe for dogs to eat.
A staple of many canine diets, chicken and turkey can definitely be fed to dogs. It provides a healthy amount of lean protein. Avoid feeding cooked chicken or turkey bones as these can splinter and rupture their stomach or intestines.
Verdict: Poultry is safe for dogs to eat.
In minimal amounts, and as long as it is cooked without seasoning or oil, pork shouldn’t cause any issues for your dog. However, pork is often cured with copious amounts of salt and can contain excess fat, so use it sparingly.
Verdict: Pork is safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Eggs are almost a superfood for your pup! They can help alleviate upset stomachs and provide a range of nutritious benefits for your dog. Although you can feed your dog a raw egg, remember the risk of your dog contracting Salmonella.
Verdict: Eggs are safe for dogs to eat.
Nuts & Seeds
There are some nuts which are particularly toxic for dogs. For example, macadamia nuts cause vomiting, diarrhea and general weakness – but even many other nut varieties should be avoided. Nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios are often high in calories and fat. Their awkward size, shape and texture – combined with the fact that many dogs don’t chew their food properly – makes them a choking hazard.
Verdict: Nuts are not safe for dogs to eat.
It’s common for pet owners to hide pills or medication inside a spoonful of peanut butter. In moderation, peanut butter or almond butter is safe for your dog to consume – just check the ingredient list to make sure the nut butter doesn’t contain xylitol, which is toxic for dogs.
Verdict: Nut butters are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Most varieties of seeds – from sunflower to sesame, and pumpkin to chia – can actually be a healthy snack for your dog on occasion. They need to be raw, unsalted and shelled. You can also grind the seeds into a fine powder and use them to top your dog’s regular meals. Feed them in moderation due to their higher caloric content.
Verdict: Seeds are safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
Unless your dog is lactose intolerant or has an allergy, small quantities of cow’s milk or goat’s milk can be consumed. Beware of feeding higher fat milks like whole milk to your pup on a regular basis, as this can lead to pancreatitis.
Verdict: Milk is safe for dogs to drink.
Yogurt contains calcium and protein, and can make a tasty treat for your dog. Unflavored, plain yogurt should be your choice here – stay away from sweetened varieties which may contain artificial preservatives or sweeteners such as xylitol.
Verdict: Plain, unsweetened yogurt is safe for dogs to eat.
Sometimes offered as a high-value reward in dog training activities, dogs can consume most varieties of cheese. However, it is sensible to monitor your pup’s cheese consumption, as most cheese is high in fat and calories, which can lead to obesity.
Verdict: Cheese is safe for dogs to eat, but caution should be taken.
It is probably best to avoid feeding butter to your dog. With little in the way of health benefits and the fact that it is mostly saturated fat, there are far better alternatives to offer to your pup.
Verdict: Butter is not safe for dogs to eat.
In moderation, olive oil is safe for your dog. It helps to keep your pup’s skin moisturized. Due to the high fat content and calorie count of olive oil, only feed it to your dog in moderation.
Verdict: Olive oil is safe for dogs to consume.