What Can Dogs Eat?

What Can Dogs Eat

What can dogs eat? This is one question that almost all dog owners find themselves asking.

You desire a long, healthy, and happy life with your canine friend, right?

Then, you know that the right diet in the right amounts can help you achieve this desire.

A proper diet is essential for dogs’ good health and proper functioning. That’s why you, as a pet parent, strive to provide the best in terms of nutrition to your dog. 

Dogs can eat anything and everything that comes their way. However, not all foods that you, as the dog owner, enjoy can be shared with your furry companion.

While some human foods are safe and even beneficial to dogs, some others are highly toxic and dangerous for them to consume. Giving these toxic foods to your dog can lead to fatal consequences.

It’s thus essential for any dog owner to be fully aware of the foods that dogs can eat and those that could potentially harm your dog.

So, what are the safe foods that you can feed your dog?

Well, in this article, we give a list of the foods that dogs can safely eat without negatively affecting their health.

Read on for this and much more.

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1. Fruits 

Fruits are not only delicious but also full of essential nutrients. Fruits are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. This makes them healthy choices of snacks for humans, but is it the same for your beloved canine? Well, this depends. While some fruits are safe for dogs, others are highly toxic and should never be fed to dogs.

Can Dogs eat fruits safely?

Yes, dogs can eat certain fruits safely as long as they are fed in moderation and only as occasional treats. 

Most dogs enjoy taking fruits for snacks in between meals. However, you should never allow your dog to overindulge in fruits, despite being healthy. Feeding fruits in large amounts and as frequent treats can lead to gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Many fruits are also high in natural sugars, which, although it makes a good source of energy, can lead to obesity, tooth decay, and pancreatitis in dogs if fed in large amounts.

The seeds and skins of most fruits contain cyanide, which can cause poisoning in dogs if ingested. Fruit skins are hard for dogs to digest and can cause gastrointestinal upset if eaten. 

The benefits of fruits for dogs include:

  • They’re rich in antioxidants which can help in boosting immunity, combat free radicals that cause cellular damage fight diseases, and slow down the aging process in senior dogs.
  • Fruits contain various essential vitamins, including vitamins C, E, and K, which help improve skin and coat health, blood clotting, and bone strength and density.
  • They’re rich in fiber, which aids digestion
  • Some fruits have anti-inflammatory properties, which help in reducing inflammations and pain. 

Some of the safe fruits that dogs can eat include

However, fruits like lemons, cherries, grapes, plums, and dates are harmful or toxic and should thus not be fed to dogs. 

2. Vegetables 

While a dog’s diet should primarily consist of meat proteins, supplementing it with some vegetables can help supply the nutrients lacking in meat. However, you’ll need to exercise caution while feeding these to dogs. While some vegetables are safe and beneficial for dogs, others contain chemical substances that are either toxic or harmful to dogs. 

Can dogs eat vegetables safely?

Yes, dogs can eat certain vegetables without any adverse effects on their health. However, vegetables should be fed to dogs in moderation. Being treats, vegetables should not make up more than 10% of a dog’s diet.

Vegetables are chock-full of various nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber which can contribute to dogs’ health.

Feeding vegetables to dogs can help

  • Improve their digestion due to their high fiber content 
  • Keep dogs hydrated as they have high amounts of water
  • Boost immune health with their high antioxidant content
  • Improve oral health
  • Enhance organ functioning and health

The following are some of the dog-friendly vegetables that dogs can eat;

Carrots: These vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins B, C, E, D, K, and antioxidants. They are low in calories, making them great for weight management. Moreover, carrots can help clean your dog’s teeth and maintain good oral health.

  • Broccoli: Broccoli is safe for dogs to eat in moderation. It’s full of vitamins A, C, K, fiber, and minerals. However, the florets contain isothiocyanate, which is potentially harmful to dogs. Broccoli stalks pose a choking risk to dogs and thus should be chopped into smaller parts to minimize this risk.
  • Cauliflower: This vegetable contains omega-3 fats, biotin, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins B, C, and K. it’s best to steam cauliflower before feeding as it can be difficult for dogs to digest in its raw form. can dogs eat cauliflower safely?
  • Celery: Celery is a low-calorie vegetable and makes an excellent natural breath freshener. It’s rich in vitamin A which helps improve vision, plus vitamins B, C, and K, and minerals like potassium and manganese, which contribute to a dog’s overall health. Being a natural diuretic, celery should be fed in moderation as it can lead to frequent urination. can dogs eat celery safely?
  • Pumpkin: Cooked natural pumpkin makes a healthy addition to a dog’s diet. It’s rich in fiber, which improves digestion. It’s also packed with essential minerals and vitamins that are good for a dog’s health. can dogs eat pumpkins safely?

3. Meat

A dog’s diet should contain plenty of meat as the primary ingredient. Meat makes a good protein source that supplies the amino acids that dogs need. Amino acids are the building blocks of life for dogs. They aid in energy generation. Muscle building and repair, production of enzymes and hormones. 

Can dogs eat meat safely?

Yes, meat is not only healthy but also necessary for the optimal health and functioning of dogs. It’s an important and better source of proteins than plants, as it contains more levels of the essential amino acids that can’t be produced by the dog’s body. 

Dogs can eat both raw and cooked meat safely. Dogs require 22 amino acids for optimal health. A dog’s body can produce 12 out of the 22 leaving 10 which must be supplied from food. These are called the essential amino acids which include arginine, tryptophan, threonine, phenylalanine, methionine, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Meat supplies these amino acids, which help to:

  • Build healthy muscles, tissues, cells, and organs
  • Improve the immune system
  • Repair damaged tissues

Other benefits of feeding meat to dogs include;

  • Weight management: A high meat diet can help keep dogs feeling fuller for longer, which is important for dogs struggling with obesity. It can also help in stimulating the burning of extra calories and shedding excess fats.
  • Better skin and coat health: Animal meat contains the essential fats that help in improving the condition of a dog’s coat and healthy.

The most popular sources of meat include:

  • Beef: This comes from cows and goats. It’s the most popular meat type which is loaded with amino acids, zinc, selenium, iron, and B vitamins which are essential for the health and vitality of dogs.
  • Lamb: this is a novel protein source that makes an excellent choice for dogs with beef allergies.
  • Chicken: Chicken is a good source of easily digestible proteins. It’s high in omega-6 fatty acids that support skin and coat health
  • Fish: this is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are great for the skin, coat, and cognitive health of dogs. read more about can dogs eat fish?
  • Pork: This is fattier than the other types of meat. read more about can dogs eat pork?

4. Grains

Grains, despite popular belief, make a great addition to a dog’s diet. Since dogs are considered omnivorous, their digestive systems are capable of metabolizing grains. 

Can dogs eat grains?

Yes, dogs can eat grains provided they have no allergies to them. They form important sources of carbohydrates that dogs require for energy. Grains also contain fats, antioxidants, and other necessary nutrients that dogs need for optimal growth.

Feeding grains to dogs can help support healthy skin, immune system, and hair. Grains come in two types; whole grains and processed grains. Grains also provide additional sources of protein and can thus aid in building and maintaining healthy muscles, tissues, and cells. Grains are also rich in fiber, which aids digestion and improves bowel movement. 

Grains come in two types; whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains are those that have not undergone any processing and are thus considered more nutritious and healthier. These are however difficult for dogs to digest. 

Refined grains on the other hand are easily digestible but contain lesser nutrients as some are lost through processing. They have a higher glycemic index and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels if fed in large amounts. These include white rice, bread, cornflakes, etc

Grains should be fed in moderation, as they are high in carbs and thus packed with calories. Too many carbs can lead to unhealthy weight gain, obesity, heart, and joint issues. 

How much food does your dog require? 

It’s important to give your dog the right amount of food that will supply the nutrients they need to live a healthy and happy life. While feeding too much will lead to obesity and bowel issues, too little will lead to nutrient deficiency and stunted growth for your dog.

The amount of food that you should feed your dog depends on its size, age, weight, health condition, and activity level. Small dogs have smaller stomachs and hence should eat a lesser amount of food than a large dog.

The dietary needs of puppies are different from those of adult dogs, and so is the amount of food and frequency of feeding. 

Puppies have lots of energy and burn calories throughout the day. As such, they need enough food to supply all the nutrients they require to support their fast growth. They should, therefore, be fed high-quality dog food formulated for their life stage. This should be divided into 3-5 meals per day. 

Adult dogs should be fed two times a day, preferably in the morning and evening. Highly active dogs require more food than the less active potato-couch dogs.

The table below shows the appropriate amount of food for dogs depending on their size, weight, breed, and activity level.

Dog size

Weight

(lbs)

6-12 weeks

(cups)

3-4 months

(cups)

5-7 months

(cups)

8-12 months

(cups)

Adult

(cups)

Toy

3-5 

1 ¼ -1 ½ 

¾ -1 ½ 

⅔ -1 ½ 

½ -¾ 

½ -¾ 

 

5-10 

1 ½-2 ⅔ 

1 ¼ -2 ¼ 

1-1 ⅔ 

¾ 1 ¼ 

¾ 1 ¼ 

Small

10-20

2 ⅔ -4 ⅓ 

2 ¼- 3 ⅓ 

1 ⅔  -2 ¾  

  1 ¼ -2 ¼

1 ¼ -1 ¾ 

 

20-30

4 ⅓ -6

3 ½ -4 ¾ 

2 ¾ -3 ¾ 

2 ½ -2 ⅔ 

1 ⅓ -2 ⅔ 

Medium

30-40

6-7 ⅓ 

4 ⅓ -6

3 ¾ -4 ¾ 

2 ¾ -3 ½ 

2 ⅓ -3

 

40-60

7 ½ -10 ¼ 

6-8 ¼ 

4 ¾ -6 ⅓ 

3 ⅓ -4 ¾ 

3-4

Large 

60-80

7 ⅓ -10 ¼ 

8 ¼-10

6 ⅓- 8

4 ¾-6

4-5

 

80-100

7 ⅓ -10 ¼ 

8 ¼-10

8-9 ⅓ 

6-7 ¼ 

5-5 ¾ 

What are the nutritional needs of a Dog? 

Dogs require a nutritionally complete and balanced diet for optimal functioning and health. This should consist of all the nutrients that dogs need to thrive. The following are some of the important nutrients that dog food should contain.

  • Protein: This is the most fundamental dietary requirement for any dog food. Proteins are necessary as they provide the essential amino acids that help to build, repair, and maintain healthy tissues, muscles, and cells. Proteins are also important for providing the energy that keeps dogs moving.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are an important part of a dog’s diet, as they make excellent sources of energy. This helps to fuel the activities of dogs and keep them going. However, carbohydrates should be given in moderation as they can pile up unnecessary calories, leading to obesity and other health problems.
  • Vitamins: Vitamins play critical roles in the bodies of dogs. Vitamins like A, B, C, D, E, and K should be included in a dog’s diet. These can help improve skin and coat health, boost immunity, and enhance metabolism, among other important bodily functions.
  • Minerals: Minerals, just like vitamins, play several important roles in a dog’s diet. While different minerals have different functions, some common ones are bone and cartilage formation, hormone regulation, and nerve and muscle function. Minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc are some of the important minerals that dogs need.
  • Fats: These are necessary for protecting internal organs, regulating body temperature, and improving skin, coat, cognitive and nervous system health.
  • Water: Dogs need water to keep them well hydrated. Water also aids in dissolving and transporting nutrients to cells, regulating body temperature, digesting food, and flushing away toxins.

What is the ideal food ratio for dogs? 

Ideal food for dogs should be completely balanced with all the necessary nutrients that dogs need and in the right proportions. It should contain the right proportions of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

The ideal diet is made up of 30-35 % protein and 25-30% fats, with the rest being fiber.  A protein content of up to 45%  is considered okay for most dogs. 

Generally, the best food for dogs should be

  • High in good quality meat-based protein
  • High in natural fats and oils
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Made from clearly named animal sources
  • Complete in all essential vitamins and minerals
  • Free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

What are the foods Dogs can’t eat? 

Not all foods are safe for dogs to consume. Some are highly toxic, while others are harmful. The following are some of the foods that dogs can’t and should not eat.

  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains toxic methylxanthines, theobromine, and caffeine, which are stimulants. Dogs are incapable of metabolizing these compounds effectively, which causes them to build up in their bodies, leading to poisoning. In large amounts, chocolate can lead to dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea in dogs. In severe cases, it can cause seizures and sudden death in dogs. read more about why dogs can’t eat chocolates?
  • Grapes and raisins: Although the exact compounds that cause toxicity in these foods are unknown, grapes and raisins are among the highly toxic foods that dogs should never eat. Feeding these to dogs can cause rapid kidney failure or even death. Symptoms of grape poisoning include lethargy, vomiting, tremors, and dehydration. read more about why dogs can’t eat Grapes and Raisins?
  • Alcohol: Alcohol not only causes intoxication but can also lead to potentially fatal ethanol poisoning. It should not thus be given to dogs, even in small amounts. Consuming alcohol may lead to incoordination, diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures in dogs.
  • Onions, chives, and garlic: These belong to the allium class of plants and contain a toxic substance called N-propyl disulfide. This compound causes red cell breakdown by attaching itself to the oxygen-carrying molecules, which interfere with the cell’s ability to transport oxygen, leading to hemolytic anemia in dogs. read more about why dogs can’t eat Onions, chives & Garlic?
  • Macadamia nuts: These contain a toxin that affects a dog’s muscles and nervous system, causing tremors, muscle weakness, vomiting, and hyperthermia if fed to dogs. They also pose a choking risk to dogs due to their size.
  • Avocado: Avocados contain persin, a toxic substance that causes fluid accumulation in a dog’s chest and lungs. This can lead to oxygen deprivation, breathing difficulties, and even death in large amounts. read more about why dogs can’t eat avocados?
  • Tea and coffee: These contain high doses of caffeine, which dogs are unable to metabolize. Caffeine interferes with the nervous systems of dogs, causing rapid heart rates, seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea.
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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.