We love our dogs. We’ve become a culture of people taking our pooches with us wherever we go. There are apps and websites dedicated to finding hotels that accept dogs and resorts that have doggie daycare. So it’s no surprise we want to give our dog a little piece of what we’re eating because—have you seen those eyes?! It’s important to know what dogs can and can't eat before you say yes.

We take dogs on road trips, to grandma’s house, and out on the town with us. It can save your loyal friend's life if you commit to memory or carry with you a list of what dogs can and can't eat.

What Dogs Can and Can't Eat

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There are things on this list that may surprise you. You might think because it’s healthy for you, it must be healthy for your dog. Not so. Some of the healthiest foods in the world can be deadly for our dogs. Dogs digest foods differently than we do; some foods that are great for us can lead to serious, long term or life-threatening issues for our loyal companions.

Once you’ve got this list of what dogs can and can't eat down pat, pass on this information to loved ones who watch your dog or have dogs of their own. We recommend keeping a list of the “NO” foods on the fridge, so you can quickly reference it should your little baby get into something he shouldn’t have.

When interviewing dog sitters, ask them how much they know about toxic foods for dogs. If you’re leaving your doggie with someone for an extended period, you need to know they can identify the danger that may lurk in the fridge and pantry by knowing what dogs can and can't eat.

Foods Safe for Dogs


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Luckily, most food is safe for dogs. A lot of what you eat can even be a healthy treat for your little guy. When you find out what dogs can and can't eat, know dogs should eat dog food. High-quality commercial dog food or homemade dog food should always be the staple in his diet. Use this guideline for treats and special occasions.

If your dog has any medical issues, please check with your veterinarian before giving them any food out of the ordinary. The list of what dogs can and can't eat can vary when a medical issue is involved.


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Dogs are carnivores and crave meat naturally so meat falls on the yes side of what dogs can and can't eat. Red meat, pork, poultry, eggs and fish are all fine for your dogs. Follow these guidelines for giving your dog meat:

  • No spices added
  • Fully cooked
  • No bones
  • Excess fat removed
  • Not as part of any stew, soup, casserole or chili
  • Not rancid



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Fruit can be a great treat for your dog and most get a yes on the what dogs can and can't eat. Give these fruits to your fur babies in moderation and always skip the seeds:













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There are many foods that dogs can and can’t eat in the vegetable world. If you have a favorite that your dog is always begging for, make sure it’s on the “yes” side of what dogs can and can't eat before letting him have a taste.


Brussels Sprout




Green Beans




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Well, some yes and some no. Any we’re saying yes to, we’re saying yes in moderation. They’re known to give dogs diarrhea and gas so go easy on giving them as treats. Here’s the skinny on nuts:

  • No spices added
  • Fully cooked
  • No bones
  • Excess fat removed
  • Not as part of any stew, soup, casserole or chili
  • Not rancid

Processed Food

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This is what we’re most likely to sneak to our dogs. It’s important to know what dogs can and can’t eat when we’re dipping into a bag of chips or basket of fries. Keep in mind anything high in salt, sugar or fat is not a good idea for your furry friends.

Milk and Dairy


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Dogs don’t produce a lot of lactase—the enzyme needed to break down lactose—some dairy can upset their stomachs. On the other hand, dairy like plain yogurt and Greek yogurt can settle a dog’s digestive tract. Never give your dog yogurt with added sugar or artificial sweetener.

Cheese can be a vet recommended way to slip your dog a pill or vitamin. Keep an eye on your dog to see what works for him but keep dairy limited.



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We’re not talking about movie theater popcorn here. Air popped, unsalted, not buttered popcorn is actually a healthy snack for your dog. Make sure the kernel is fully popped, so it doesn’t get stuck in your dog’s teeth or create a choking hazard.

Peanut Butter

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Yes—as long as you’re using natural peanut butter with no added sugar or salt. This is one of the time-tested ways to hide medication your dog needs to take and they love it.


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Yes. Make sure all bread is fully cooked and doesn’t contain any raisins, cinnamon, garlic or onions. Bread can be another delicious way to hide a pill.



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Plain, cooked oatmeal is perfectly healthy for your dog in moderation. It’s got lots of fiber and can help your buddy if he’s “backed up”.



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Yes. Plain, cooked, white rice is one of the best things, along with boiled chicken, to give to your dog if he’s got an upset stomach.

Foods Toxic to Dogs

This is the part of the what dogs can and can't eat list that should go on your fridge. Your dog should never be fed any of these foods. If he accidentally gets into food on this list, call your vet immediately. Make sure anyone sitting for your dog can find this part of the what dogs can and can't eat list.

Grapes and Raisins

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Grapes and raisins contain toxic compounds that can lead to rapid kidney failure and death. Even the smallest amounts are not to be taken lightly. Don’t let your dog eat anything that has raisins in it. Be sure to pick up that stray grape you dropped.



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Grapes and raisins contain toxic compounds that can lead to rapid kidney failure and death. Even the smallest amounts are not to be taken lightly. Don’t let your dog eat anything that has raisins in it. Be sure to pick up that stray grape you dropped.

The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is.

Macadamia Nuts

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There’s an unknown toxin in macadamia nuts that can cause vomiting, weakness, tremors, and hypothermia in dogs. Be aware of anything that’s made with macadamia nuts and don’t share it with your dog.

Onions and Garlic

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Both are toxic to dogs. They contain toxins that damage red blood cells in dogs, reducing their ability to carry oxygen through the body resulting in anemia.

Dogs with anemia can be lethargic, weak, stop eating and have fainting spells. All forms of onions and garlic are toxic to dogs including:

  • Leaves
  • Juice
  • Powder
  • Dried


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Never let your dog have avocado—they contain persin. Persin can lead to fluid buildup in dogs’ lungs and chest causing breathing difficulties and even death. All parts of the avocado are dangerous for your dog.



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Cherries are in the stone fruit family and their pits contain cyanide. Most dogs will chew a cherry just a little and swallow the pit—that’s where the toxin is. Keep these away from your dog.

Coffee and Tea


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Both contain caffeine and your dog can’t process it the way we can. Both can stimulate the dog’s nervous system and cause hyperactivity, vomiting, and diarrhea. Too much caffeine has been linked to lung failure and abnormal heart rhythm in dogs and can lead to death.



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Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to ethanol poisoning in your dog. Symptoms can range from vomiting and lethargy to a heart attack and death. Keep your dog away from mouthwash, extracts and other items containing a lot of alcohol.

Raw Yeast Dough

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This is a concern because once consumed, yeast cells produce alcohol as they ferment and can lead to alcohol poisoning and death. The dough also expands in your dog’s stomach, causing bloating, difficulty breathing and weakness.

Raw Potatoes


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While limited amounts of cooked potatoes are fine for your dogs, raw potatoes are toxic. Potatoes contain solanine, a toxin that can cause heart problems, difficulty breathing and digestive issues in your pal. Cooking removes most of the solanine in potatoes.



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Cinnamon contains an oil that is irritating to dogs’ mouths, throats, and stomachs. It can also drop your dog’s blood sugar too much leading to a decreased heart rate, diarrhea, vomiting and, in extreme cases, liver disease.

Be careful about things bakes or made with cinnamon as the same reaction can happen from these items too.

Artificial Sweeteners

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Xylitol is used as a sweetener used in everything from toothpaste to baked goods. It causes insulin to be released into the body which can lead to liver failure. An increase in insulin can also lead to hypoglycemia causing vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and loss of coordination.

We're on the Fence about the Next Few

We’re on the fence about a few foods. These all belong on both sides of your what dogs can and can’t eat list. That generally means just avoiding it is your best bet but we want you to decide for yourself.


winter spinach

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For the sake of not freaking out, yes, your dog can have spinach. A lot of spinach can cause kidney damage so it’s best to go for a different vegetable.



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Yes, your dog can have small pieces of orange. In large amounts, all parts of any citrus fruit can cause stomach upset and even central nervous system damage. Vets recommend removing the peel and all seeds because both are hard on dogs’ digestive systems. It might be best to skip this one.



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Red tomatoes are considered safe for your dog to eat. Any green part of a tomato contains solanine—the same toxin you find in raw potatoes. Cooked tomatoes are typically paired with garlic or onions—both toxic to dogs.



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The mushrooms you can get in a grocery store are generally fine for your dog to eat. Like tomatoes, these are usually accompanied by onion, garlic or salt which you want your dog to stay away from.

Never let your dog eat a mushroom in the wild. There are many species of mushrooms toxic to dogs so it’s best to stay away.

Coconut, Coconut Oil and Coconut Water


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Coconut water is too high in potassium for dogs to process and may lead to hypokalemia—a serious condition of too much potassium in the blood.

The meat of the coconut in small amounts should be fine. In larger amounts, the oils found in coconut can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort.


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So now you know what your dogs can and can't eat. You want to spoil your dog, but now you know a safer way to spoil them with the right kinds of treats. You want to feed your dog in a way that keeps them at a healthy weight and be with you for as many years as possible.

Pass this list of what dogs can and can't eat along to anyone you know with dogs, it could save their furry friend’s life. If you think your dog has gotten into any toxic food, call your vet right away or call the ASPCA animal poison control center at (888)-426-4435.

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