Common Foods that are Unsafe for Dogs (and What to Give Them Instead)

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If you've ever been sucked in by those sad little puppy eyes and shared your dinner with your dog, you're not alone. Unfortunately, you might actually be putting their health at risk by doing this, as there are many common human foods that really aren't safe for our furry friends.

The good news, however, is that although a lot of what we eat isn't healthy for the four-legged members of our families, there are also plenty of human foods that you can safely slip your pup while you're having dinner.

To help you work out what's safe, and what isn't, we've put together this list of foods that are unsafe for dogs, and added a suggestion for a pup-friendly alternative in each section, so you can share your lunch without having to worry about whether you'll hurt the health of your pet.

Chocolate

Pretty much everyone knows that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, but what you may not know is that there is actually specially-created dog chocolate (also known as carob) that is perfectly safe for your furry friend.

Your dog cannot process chocolate in the way that humans can, and the darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is, but that doesn't mean they have to miss out.

You can buy carob from most pet stores, as well as the pet supply aisle in your local supermarket. So if you want your four-legged family member to be able to enjoy a sweet treat with the rest of the family, they can as long as you're careful not to get the two mixed up.

Dog-safe alternative
Carob buttons
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Alcohol

Alcohol poisoning in dogs presents much the same way as it does in humans, with symptoms including nausea and vomiting, lethargy and trouble breathing. This condition is potentially fatal, so it's important to keep your adult drinks far away from your fur baby.

If you're feeling fancy, it is possible to get non-alcoholic beers and wines designed for dogs, but if you just want a quick fix so your pooch can have a special drink too, we suggest bone broth or unsalted meat broth. You can also try these dog-friendly smoothie recipes if you're looking to share your drink with your doggo.

Avocado

Although incredibly healthy for humans, avocados can be quite dangerous for your furry family member. Symptoms of avocado consumption can include tummy upsets and associated issues which can be uncomfortable at best and life-threatening at worst. Because of this, it's a good idea to keep this particular fruit on your toast and away from your four-legged friend.

If you're looking for a fruit with a creamy texture that your pooch can eat, banana is the best substitute for avocados. If it's healthy fats you're after, however, we suggest feeding your dog eggs.

Both options are safe and healthy for your pet and are delicious for breakfast, so you can still share if you'd like to eat the same thing.

Anything super salty or spicy

Our pups' digestive systems don't work like ours, so super salty or spicy foods can wreak havoc on their insides. While it can be tempting to share chips, bacon or even marinated chicken, these foods can do a lot more harm than good due to their sodium content.

Instead, consider sharing unsalted snacks, such as popcorn or peanuts that haven't been dressed with salt or flavours. They'll particularly love a bit of peanut butter if you pop it on a cracker, piece of carrot or celery (or on the wall next to your bath if they're the type who don't like to get clean) so this is a great option.

Onions and garlic

Anything in the onion family (including garlic) can cause anaemia and other health issues in your dog, as they break down red blood cells, and even small quantities can lead to poisoning and/or death.

We suggest swapping onions for other, healthier vegetables. Your dog will absolutely love a dish that includes a tasty protein such as chicken, beef or turkey, mixed with rice and ingredients like broccoli, green beans, spinach and peas.

Grapes

The consumption of grapes or products made from grapes (wine, sultanas, raisins, etc.) can cause loss of appetite in mild cases. In more dangerous cases, however, symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea and even kidney failure. Science doesn't exactly know why grapes are such a problem for dogs, but even a small amount can cause these symptoms, so it's best to avoid them.

The good news is that there are plenty of other fruits that your dog can enjoy, so if you're wanting to make them a tasty fruit salad to help refresh them on hot days, consider chopping up some mango, watermelon, orange and apple for a tasty treat.

Blueberries are also an ideal substitute if you're looking to load up toys with yummy surprises to keep your pooch entertained or freeze fruits to keep your pet cool.

Final word

Pets are part of the family, and travelling with dogs, dressing them up in cute outfits and sharing dinner with them are common activities for owners.

While there's nothing wrong with this, it is important that you take steps to ensure that your pet stays healthy and safe, so next time you're considering sharing one of the foods on this list, swap it out instead. Your dog will thank you, and so will your back pocket since vet bills aren't cheap.

If you're looking for more ways to help ensure your pet stays happy and healthy in the home, be sure to read our guides on Common Plants That Are Toxic to Pets and How to Puppy Proof Your Home, Inside and Out


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Jessica Jones
Written by
Jessica Jones
Jess has been writing educational content for almost ten years with a focus on lifestyle content. She loves coffee, dogs and all things fitness, and can often be found with her nose buried in a book and her music blaring through her earphones.

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