16 Human Foods Your Dog Will Love (and are Totally Safe)

Are you curious about sharing your dinner plate with your four-legged friend but worried about what’s safe? Many dog owners are in the same boat, looking for ways to spice up their pet’s meals without compromising their health.

It turns out, there’s a whole menu of human foods that are not only safe for dogs but can also enhance their nutrition.

Here’s 16 tasty treats you can safely slip under the table!

1. Carrots

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Carrots are a crunchy, nutritious snack that dogs tend to love. Rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, carrots can contribute to good vision, skin, and coat health.

Moreover, chewing on raw carrots can act as a natural dental brush, helping to keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy (ref).

Always cut carrots into bite-size pieces to prevent choking, and monitor your dog while they’re enjoying this healthy treat.

2. Apples

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Apples are another excellent snack for dogs, providing a source of vitamins A and C and fiber, which can aid digestion. Remember to remove the seeds and core before offering them to your dog, as apple seeds contain cyanide, which is harmful in large quantities.

They can help freshen a dog’s breath and provide a low-protein snack for older dogs or those with kidney issues.

3. Chicken

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Cooked chicken is a fantastic source of lean protein for dogs, helping to build muscle and provide energy. It’s also a great meal addition or temporary meal replacement if you’re out of dog food.

Ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly and avoid adding any seasoning, as certain spices and ingredients like onion and garlic are toxic to dogs (ref).

4. Pumpkin

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Plain, cooked pumpkin is a superfood for dogs, rich in fiber and vitamins A, C, and E. Pumpkin can help with your dog’s digestion. Its high fiber content can be particularly beneficial for managing diarrhea and constipation (I always have this on standby after we board our pup when on vacation… as the stress disrupts his stomach).

Always opt for plain pumpkin and avoid pumpkin pie fillings, which contain added sugars and spices that are not dog-friendly.

5. Peanut Butter

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Unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter is a favorite treat of many dogs and can provide good fats and proteins. When selecting peanut butter, make sure it does not contain xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs (ref).

Peanut butter can be used to stuff toys or hide medication, making it a versatile and beneficial treat.

6. Blueberries

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Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins C and K. These nutrients support the immune system and contribute to overall health.

Additionally, their small size makes blueberries an excellent low-calorie treat for dogs. They can also be a fun frozen snack during the summer months.

7. Sweet Potatoes

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Cooked sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. Fiber is particularly beneficial for digestion, making sweet potatoes an excellent choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Ensure the sweet potatoes are cooked without any added seasonings or sweeteners.

8. Rice

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Plain, cooked white or brown rice can be a good option for dogs, especially those experiencing stomach upset.

Rice is easy on the stomach and can help bind stool in cases of diarrhea. However, it should be offered in moderation, as excessive consumption can lead to weight gain due to its high carbohydrate content.

9. Eggs

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Cooked eggs are a great source of protein and contain essential amino acids and fatty acids that can benefit your dog’s coat and skin health. They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, riboflavin, and selenium.

Ensure eggs are cooked without oil or butter, and avoid raw eggs to prevent the risk of salmonella.

10. Oatmeal

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Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, which can be particularly beneficial for senior dogs with bowel irregularity issues. It’s also an excellent grain choice for dogs allergic to wheat.

Always cook oatmeal without sugar or flavor additives and serve it in moderation, especially for dogs who are overweight or have diabetes.

11. Salmon

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Cooked salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve your dog’s coat health and reduce inflammation.

It’s also a high-quality protein source. However, never feed your dog raw or undercooked salmon due to the risk of salmon poisoning disease, which can be fatal to dogs (ref).

12. Green Beans

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All types of green beans are safe for dogs to eat, provided they are plain. Green beans are full of important vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K.

They’re also low in calories, which makes them a great treat for overweight dogs.

13. Yogurt

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Plain yogurt is a good source of calcium and protein, but it should only be chosen if it contains no added sugars or artificial sweeteners like xylitol.

Yogurt with live active cultures can act as a probiotic, which is good for your dog’s digestive system. However, be mindful if your dog is lactose intolerant.

14. Cottage Cheese

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This is another dairy product that is safe for dogs in moderation, particularly because it’s high in protein and calcium. Opt for low-fat versions and consider your dog’s ability to digest dairy.

Cottage cheese can be a good option for dogs with sensitive stomachs, given its soft texture and probiotic elements.

15. Spinach

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Spinach is loaded with vitamins A, B, C, and K and iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and roughage, which can stimulate the digestive tract. However, spinach should be given in small amounts because it contains oxalic acid, which can block calcium absorption and lead to kidney damage in large quantities.

16. Quinoa

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Quinoa is a high-protein, gluten-free alternative to grains like wheat, corn, and soy, which are common dog allergens. It contains essential amino acids and is rich in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin E.

Always serve quinoa cooked and plain, without any added spices or oils.

Tips for Safely Introducing New Foods

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Expanding your dog’s dietary horizons can be both exciting and beneficial, offering them a wider range of nutrients and the enjoyment of new flavors. However, doing so requires careful consideration to ensure their health and safety.

Start Small

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The “less is more” principle is key when introducing new foods to your dog. A small piece of carrot, a slice of apple, or a single blueberry are examples of appropriate starting portions. This cautious approach allows you to monitor your pet for any adverse reactions, such as gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions, which can occur within the first 24 to 48 hours.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) (ref) suggests that new foods should initially make up a tiny portion of your dog’s diet, primarily if they are used to a consistent meal plan.

Introduce One Food at a Time

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Introduce only one new food at a time (ref) to accurately determine how your dog responds to it. This methodical approach, recommended by veterinarians, enables you to pinpoint any allergies or sensitivities your dog may have to specific foods.

For instance, if your dog shows signs of discomfort or an allergic reaction, you’ll know exactly which food caused it. Keeping a diary of what foods have been introduced and any reactions noted can be helpful.

Observe Your Dog Closely

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Close observation of your pet after introducing a new food is crucial. Look out for signs of an allergic reaction, such as itching, hives, or swelling, as well as digestive distress signals like vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.

Pet owners must be vigilant and responsive to these signs, recommending immediate discontinuation of the new food and consultation with a veterinarian if any adverse reactions are observed.

Consult with Your Veterinarian

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Before making significant changes to your dog’s diet, a consultation with your veterinarian is advisable. They can provide guidance tailored to your dog’s specific nutritional needs, health status, and any existing medical conditions.

Veterinarians can also offer advice on the best types of foods to introduce and in what quantities, ensuring the dietary changes support your dog’s health.

Moderation is Key

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While sharing more of our foods with our pets can be tempting, moderation is crucial. Treats and snacks, including those that are human-grade and deemed safe for dogs, should not constitute more than 10% of a dog’s total daily calorie intake.

This guideline helps prevent obesity and ensures that the primary diet remains nutritionally complete and balanced.

Incorporating new foods into your dog’s diet can enrich their nutritional intake and add enjoyment to their meal times, but it should always be done with caution and care.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure a safe and healthy dietary expansion for your furry friend.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.