How many of us share our table scraps and favourite snacks with our doggies? While it's nice to occasionally treat your pup, what's safe for us to consume is not always the case for our four-legged friends. Dogs digest differently than humans, and eating the wrong foods can lead to long-term health problems and, in extreme cases, even death. As carnivores, they have no need for fruits and vegetables as part of their diet, but an occasional fruit or veggie as a treat is OK.
Here are the fruits and vegetables OK for sharing in moderation:
Apples: Yes, dogs can eat apples. Apples are a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as fibre. They are low in protein and fat, making them the perfect snack for senior dogs. Just be sure to remove the seeds and core first.
Bananas: Yes, dogs can eat bananas. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. They’re high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fibre, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog’s regular diet.
Blueberries: Yes, dogs can eat blueberries. Blueberries are a superfood rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage in humans and canines alike. They’re packed with fibre and phytochemicals as well.
Broccoli: Yes, broccoli is safe for dogs to eat in very small quantities and is best served as an occasional treat. It is high in fibre and vitamin C and low in fat. However, Broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs. Furthermore, broccoli stalks have been known to cause obstruction in the esophagus.
Cantaloupe: Yes, cantaloupe is OK for dogs. Cantaloupe is packed with nutrients, low in calories, and a great source of water and fiber. It is, however, high in sugar, so should be shared in moderation, especially for dogs who are overweight or have diabetes.
Carrots: Yes, dogs can eat carrots. Carrots are an excellent low-calorie snack that is high in fiber and beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A. Plus, crunching on this orange veggie is great for your dog’s teeth.
Celery: Yes, celery is OK for dogs to eat. In addition to vitamins A, B, and C, this crunchy green snack contains the nutrients needed to promote a healthy heart and even fight cancer. As if that wasn’t enough, celery is also known to freshen doggy breath.
Cranberries: Yes, cranberries are OK for dogs to eat. Both cranberries and dried cranberries are safe to feed to dogs in small quantities. Whether your dog will like this tart treat is another question. Either way, moderation is important when feeding cranberries to dogs, as with any treat, as too many cranberries can lead to an upset stomach.
Cucumbers: Yes, dogs can eat cucumbers. Cucumbers are especially good for overweight dogs, as they hold little to no carbohydrates, fats, or oils and they can even boost energy levels. They’re loaded with vitamins K, C, and B1, as well as potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin.
Green beans: Yes, dogs can eat green beans. Chopped, steamed, raw, or canned –- all types of green beans are safe for dogs to eat, as long as they are plain. Green beans are full of important vitamins and minerals and they're also full of fibre and low in calories.
Mango: Yes, dogs can eat mangoes. This sweet summer treat is packed with four, yes four different vitamins: vitamins A, B6, C, and E. They also have potassium and both beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. Just remember, as with most fruits, remove the hard pit first, as it contains small amounts of cyanide and can become a choking hazard.
Pineapple: Yes, pineapples are OK for dogs to eat. A few chunks of pineapple is a great sweet treat for dogs, as long as the prickly outside is removed first. The tropical fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. It also contains bromelain, an enzyme that makes it easier for dogs to absorb proteins.
Potatoes: Yes, dogs can eat potatoes. It’s fine to give your dog plain potatoes every once and a while, but only if they’re cooked, as raw potatoes can be rough on the stomach. A washed, peeled, plain boiled, or baked potato contains lots of iron for your dog. Avoid mashed potatoes because they often contain butter, milk, or seasonings.
Raspberries: Yes, dogs can eat raspberries. Raspberries are fine in moderation. They contain antioxidants that are great for dogs. They’re low in sugar and calories, but high in fibre, manganese, and vitamin C. Raspberries are especially good for senior dogs because they have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help take pain and pressure from joints. However, they do contain slight amounts of the toxin Xylitol, so limit your dog to less than a cup of raspberries at a time.
Strawberries: Yes, it is OK for dogs to eat strawberries. Strawberries are full of fibre and vitamin C. Along with that, they also contain an enzyme that can help whiten your dog’s teeth as he or she eats them. They are high in sugar though, so be sure to give them in moderation.
Spinach: Yes, dogs can eat spinach, but it's not one of the top vegetables you'll want to be sharing with you pup. Spinach is very high in oxalic acid, which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage. While your dog would probably have to eat a very large amount of spinach to have this problem, it might be best to go with another vegetable.
Sweet potatoes: Yes, dogs can eat sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients, including fiber, beta carotene, and vitamins B-6 and C. Just like with regular potatoes, only give your dog washed, peeled, cooked, and unseasoned sweet potatoes that have cooled down, and definitely avoid sugary sweet potato pies and casseroles.
Oranges: Yes, dogs can eat oranges. Oranges are fine for dogs to eat, according to veterinarians. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, and in small quantities can serve as tasty treats for your dog. Vets do, however, recommend tossing the peel and just giving your dog the inside of the orange, minus the seeds, as the peel is much more rough on their digestive systems.
Peaches: Yes, peaches are OK for dogs to eat. Small amounts of cut-up peaches are a great source of fiber and vitamin A, and can even help fight infections, but just like cherries, the pit contains cyanide. As long as you completely cut around the pit first, fresh peaches can be a great summer treat – just not canned peaches, as they usually contain high amounts of sugary syrups.
Pears: Yes, dogs can eat pears. Pears are a great snack because they’re high in copper, vitamins C and K, and fiber. It’s been suggested that eating the fruit can reduce the risk of having a stroke by 50 percent. Just be sure to cut pears into bite-size chunks and remove the pit and seeds first, as the seeds contain traces of cyanide.
Peas: Yes, dogs can eat pears. Green peas, specifically: snow peas, sugar snap peas, and garden or English peas are all OK for dogs. Peas have several vitamins, minerals, and are rich in protein and high in fiber. You can feed your dog fresh, frozen, or thawed peas, but do not give him canned peas, which have a lot of added sodium.
Watermelon: Yes, watermelon is OK for dogs to eat. It’s important to remove the rind and seeds first, as they can cause intestinal blockage, but watermelon is otherwise safe for dogs. It’s full of vitamin A, B-6, and C, as well as potassium. Watermelon is 92 percent water, so it’s a great way to keep your dog hydrated on hot summer days.
Fruits and Veggies to Avoid:
Asparagus: No, dogs shouldn't eat asparagus. While asparagus isn’t necessarily unsafe for dogs, there’s really no point in giving it to them. It’s too tough to be eaten raw, and by the time you cook it down so it’s soft enough for dogs to eat, asparagus loses the nutrients it contains. If you really want to share a veggie, something more beneficial is probably best.
Avocado: No, dogs should not eat avocado. While avocado may be a healthy snack for dog owners, it should not be given to dogs at all. The pit, skin, and leaves of avocados contain persin, a toxin that often causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The fleshy inside of the fruit doesn’t have as much persin as the rest of the plant, but it is still too much for dogs to handle.
Cherries: No, dogs shouldn't eat cherries. With the exception of the fleshy part around the seed, cherry plants contain cyanide and are toxic to dogs. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport, which means that your dog’s blood cells can’t get enough oxygen. If your dog eats cherries, be on the lookout for dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and red gums, as these may be signs of cyanide poisoning.
Grapes: No, dogs should not eat grapes. Grapes and raisins have both proved to be very toxic for dogs no matter the dog’s breed, sex, or age. In fact, grapes are so toxic that they can lead to acute sudden kidney failure. Definitely skip this dangerous treat.
Mushrooms: No, dogs should avoid mushrooms. Wild mushrooms can be toxic for dogs. While only 50 to 100 of the 50,000 mushroom species worldwide are known to be toxic, the ones that are can really hurt your dog or even lead to death. Washed mushrooms from the supermarket could be OK, but it’s better to be safe than sorry; skip out on the fungi all together.
Onions: No, dogs should not eat onions. Onions, leeks, and chives are part of a family of plants called Allium that is poisonous to most pets, especially cats. Eating onions can cause your dog’s red blood cells to rupture, and can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea. Poisoning from onions is more serious in Japanese breeds of dogs such as Akitas and Shiba Inus, but all dogs are very susceptible to it.
Tomatoes: No, dogs should probably avoid tomatoes. While the ripened fruit of the tomato plant (the red part humans normally eat) is generally considered safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant contain a toxic substance called solanine. While a dog would need to eat a large amount for it to make him or her sick, it’s better to skip tomatoes all together just to be safe.