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11 Human Foods That Dogs Can Eat Too

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

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What human foods can dogs eat?

It’s no secret that dogs love food. They sometimes eat strange things (for instance, why do dogs eat dirt?), and they will happily scarf down human food. But most dog owners know that there are plenty of human foods dogs can’t eat—not just because they can be unhealthy but because they can be toxic. And beyond that, 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,” says Kelly Ryan, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services for the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America. Be sure to monitor your dog and check with your vet if you’re questioning whether to introduce a new food. Dr. Ryan also notes 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 his caloric intake; that’s an important guideline when devising the very best diet for your dog. But if you want to feed your pup human food in a responsible way, you’re probably wondering what human foods your dog can eat. Here are the best options.

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Watermelon

Most dog owners know that grapes and raisins can make their dog sick, but they don’t know which fruits are actually beneficial. Plenty are, including 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 an even better doggy cool-down.

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Blueberries

Blueberries are 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.

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Apples

Apples are light and delicious for both you and your dog. They also provide fiber, vitamins A and C, omega-3, omega-6, antioxidants, flavonoids, and polyphenols. “But make sure your dog doesn’t eat the apple seeds,” warns Dr. Ryan. “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.

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Carrots

What human foods can dogs eat when it comes to veggies? Carrots, for one, are wonderful snacks for your pup. 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.

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Green beans

Green beans are the full package: 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 them a sizable portion of their pup’s daily food regimen. Just don’t add salt or seasoning.

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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. But don’t give Fido the raw version: It can be difficult for him to digest.

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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. Spinach can boost your dog’s immune system and energy levels, making for an all-around healthier pet.

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Pumpkin

Vets often recommend pumpkin when a dog is constipated or has other digestive issues. Give your dog some canned pumpkin with his kibble to keep his digestive system running smoothly. Look for 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.”

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Two grilled chicken legs, green onion, dill and lime on wooden board viewed from aboveistetiana/Getty Images

Chicken

One of the first ingredients that comes to mind when asking “what human foods can dogs eat” is meat. But while your dog may love most kinds of meat, make sure whatever cut you give him doesn’t have much fat on it. Food with a 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’s good for your dog to eat. “Bone broth, either homemade or store-bought, 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.”

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

Fish

Fish is one human food dogs can eat—as 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. Now that you know what human foods dogs can eat, find out potential reasons for a dog not eating.

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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.