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Human Foods That Are Actually Good for Your Dog

If you want to indulge your pup, here are the foods that can actually be healthy for your spoiled canine friend.

White swiss Shepherd dog is playing with apple or is eating fruitZanna Pesnina/Shutterstock

Fruits your dog can eat

Human food dogs can eat include many fruits. Most dog owners know that grapes and raisins can make their dog sick, but they don’t know which fruits are actually beneficial. If one fruit is toxic to your dog, you may fear that all fruits are poisonous. Luckily, that’s not the case. “Fruit can be a nutritious and tasty treat for your dog,” says Kelly Ryan, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services for the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America. So what human food can dogs eat? Here are your dog’s best options.

Slices of fresh watermelon on wooden background.Bon Appetit/Shutterstock

Watermelon

“It is a health-food powerhouse, low in calories and packed with nutrients—vitamins A, B6, and C, and potassium,” according to The American Kennel Club. Watermelon is also a great snack to give your dog on a hot day, as it is mostly water. Pro tip: Freeze some watermelon cubes for your dog to make for an even better cool-down.

Blueberries in a bowlMaria Khalusova/Shutterstock

Blueberries

Blueberries are absolutely packed with antioxidants, making them extremely healthy for man’s best friend and one of the best human food dogs can eat. Depending on your dog’s size, however, choking might be a potential risk; try cutting up the berries for smaller dogs.

Ripe green and red apples in wooden box. Top viewEvgeny Karandaev/Shutterstock

Apples

Apples are light and delicious for both you and your dog. According to CesarsWay.com, they also provide fiber, vitamins A and C, omega-3, omega-6, antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols. “But make sure your dog doesn’t eat the apple seeds,” Dr. Ryan warns. “They are toxic!” Apple seeds actually contain small traces of cyanide. The human digestive system can easily filter this out, but the same is not true for canines. Look out for these signs your “healthy” dog is actually sick.

Cute dog eating foodAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Veggies your dog can eat

Even if you’re not keen on eating your vegetables, your dogs will be. This healthy human food dogs can eat provide nutrients with minimal calories. However—as with humans—dogs can have adverse reactions to certain foods, even if they are supposedly good for them. “It’s important to know that dogs can have food intolerances just like people, causing gastrointestinal upset or even an allergic reaction,” Dr. Ryan says. Be sure to monitor your dog and check with your vet if you’re questioning whether to introduce a food into her diet.

Close up of fresh carrot on rustic wooden background, top viewDmytro Gilitukha/Shutterstock

Carrots

Carrots are wonderful snacks for your pup. Purina says that dogs can eat carrots several ways: raw, cooked, or even with the green tops still on them. But remember, they’re just a small part of your pet’s complete diet. Read up on the most common health problems in 14 popular dog breeds.

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Green beans

Green beans are the full package, according to Rover.com: They’re a great source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and K, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium. In fact, green beans are so healthy for dogs that some people make a sizeable portion of their fur baby’s daily food regimen. Just remember not to add salt or seasoning.

Fresh green asparagus on a grey wooden table5 second Studio/Shutterstock

Asparagus

This vegetable has plenty of fiber, which can be good for a dog’s digestive health. As a snack, cooked asparagus is perfectly safe for dogs. Just don’t give Fido the raw version: It can be difficult for him to digest.

Fresh vegetables, green spinach on plate, healthy diet, vegetarian food conceptalicja neumiler/Shutterstock

Spinach

Spinach is rich in antioxidants, iron, and vitamin K. That’s what makes it so healthy for humans and a potentially beneficial part of your dog’s diet. According to Rover.com, spinach can boost your dog’s immune system and energy levels, making for an all-around healthier pet. Just watch out for the food that can give your pup heart disease.

Autumn pumpkins with leaves on wooden boardTierneyMJ/Shutterstock

Pumpkin

Vets often recommend pumpkin when a dog is constipated or has other digestive issues. Give your dog some canned pumpkin with their kibble to keep their digestive system running smoothly. Look the organic kind, recommends Dr. Ryan, and “be sure it’s not pumpkin pie mix to avoid the spices. Also check with your veterinarian to see how much pumpkin he or she recommends, as too much can cause diarrhea.”

Dog eating food from bowl. Puppy jackrussell terier with dogs foodGladskikh Tatiana/Shutterstock

Meats your dog can eat

One of the first ingredients that comes to mind when asking what human food can dogs eat is meat. And your dog may love most kinds of meat—just make sure whatever cut you give your pet doesn’t have much fat on it. Food with high-fat content can easily make your dog gain weight. As far as land animals go, chicken is always a safe bet, especially when your dog has an upset stomach. “Try bland foods like poached chicken and steamed white rice,” says Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, of New York City’s Animal Medical Center. “Veterinarians also recommend feeding cooked protein sources rather than raw protein sources,” she adds. “Protein like meat and eggs can carry diseases in microbes unless properly cooked.”

clear Chicken broth with pieces of rooster meat on bone and vegetables in a metal casserole on dark wooden table, view from abovefrom my point of view/Shutterstock

Chicken broth

It’s not just the meat of the chicken that is good for your dog to eat. “Bone broth, either homemade or storebought, can help a dog with an upset stomach,” advises Dr. Ryan. However, be extremely cautious about the actual bones. “If you are feeding your dog any type of meat, remove all bones before giving it to them. Ingesting the bones could cause a variety of problems for dogs like broken teeth, an injured mouth [or] an intestinal blockage that requires surgery.” Here are 8 more things vets want you to know about your dog’s food.

Grilled salmon with lemon, asparagus on the wooden background.Bon Appetit/Shutterstock

Fish

Fish is one human food dogs can eat—so long as it isn’t raw. And certain types of fish are healthier for your dog than others. Salmon, ocean whitefish, and herring, for example, are fish that live short lives, so they have lower levels of mercury compared to fish near the top of the food chain like, say, swordfish. Fish is also a great source of protein for your dog if he or she has allergic reactions to other types of meat.

Nice taste. Close up of beautiful dog eating from the bowlDmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

Foods you should never feed your dog

What human food can dogs eat is just as important to know as what not to feed fido. You know that grapes and raisins are off the menu, but so are onions, garlic, avocado, and anything containing the sugar substitute xylitol, warns both Dr. Ryan and Dr. Hohenhaus. Dogs may go nuts for peanut butter, but check the label—some brands are sweetened with xylitol. Both doctors also advise that human food that is not a specific part of your dog’s daily food regimen should not take up more than 10 percent of their daily diet. Make sure you know these 12 other common foods that can be toxic for dogs.

Taylor Markarian
Taylor Markarian is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest's Culture, Advice, Travel and Pets beats. She is also a music journalist who has contributed to Alternative Press, Loudwire, Revolver, Kerrang! and more. Markarian is the author of the book, 'From the Basement: A History of Emo Music and How It Changed Society', which analyzes the evolution of punk and mental health. She holds a degree in Writing, Literature & Publishing from Emerson College.