Tantalizing Table Scraps: 29 Human Foods Dogs Can Eat

Morning with my pet in our kitchen


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Morning with my pet in our kitchen

What Human Foods Can Dogs Eat?

Dogs have a cartoonish obsession with food. Even if you drop, say, a boring stick of celery, most dogs will skitter across the floor, racing to inhale the flavorless, fibrous treat. But some human foods are harmful to dogs, sending them to the vet’s office — or worse. To keep the (potentially fatal) guesswork out of the occasional human treat, we consulted expert sources to identify 29 common human foods dogs can eat.

The Broccoli Tree
The Broccoli Tree by Timothy Valentine (CC BY-NC-SA)

1. Broccoli

According to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a few heads of broccoli can be a boon for your pet’s diet given the vegetable’s superfood-worthy nutrition profile. But the cruciferous veggie shouldn’t exceed more than 10% of a dog’s diet, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association explains. And you may not want to feed Fido broccoli for another reason: They can turn your pup into a fart factory.

Raw Organic  Baby Carrots

2. Carrots

Dog food producers regularly include carrots in their recipes, in part because they’re a healthy source of fiber and vitamin A. Purina even recommends using carrots as dog treats, noting that they’re a low-calorie snack that can be served cooked or raw.

Cottage cheese and milk

3. Cheese

Dairy products are the leading source of food intolerance among dogs, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). But if your dog tolerates dairy products, then you can feed your pet small amounts of cheese, the organization says. Besides the possibility of lactose intolerance, the only worry is that your dog could gain weight or develop pancreatitis because of cheese’s high fat content. That’s why it’s important to only feed dogs small amounts of low-fat, low-salt cheeses like cottage cheese.

Coconuts drying in the sun

4. Coconut

Like most human foods, your dog should only eat coconut in moderation, according to The Spruce Pets. That said, most coconut products — meat, flour, sugar, and flakes — are safe in small amounts and contain nutrients like manganese. However, pet owners should avoid giving their dogs sweetened coconut (too much sugar), the fruit’s husk and shell (inedible), and coconut water (too much potassium).

canned corn

5. Corn

While corn on the cob is a choking hazard for dogs, PetMD explains that raw and cooked corn kernels are a great source of protein, antioxidants, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Even popcorn is safe for dogs, according to the AKC, which adds that the treats should always be served plain — without toppings like butter or salt.

Brown Eggs

6. Eggs

Dogs can safely eat a side of scrambled eggs, according to PetMD, which adds that even the shell can be perfectly safe for canines. But just as you shouldn’t eat raw eggs — yes, even if it’s in cookie dough — dogs shouldn’t either be given the risk for salmonella.

Salmon by Andrea Pokrzywinski (CC BY)

7. Fish

With its healthy omega-3 fatty acids and collagen, fish can provide dogs with health benefits, such as a healthy coat and skin. But there are a few caveats, PetMD warns. Species that are larger and more prone to containing mercury — shark, tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel, and albacore tuna — are off the table, as are farm-raised fish. And while you might enjoy the occasional sushi dinner, your dog will have to pass on the omakase. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, all raw and undercooked animal proteins could infect your pet with harmful pathogens.

The concept of healthy eating. Whole grains of oats and oat spikelets.
Tatyana Berkovich/istockphoto

8. Grains

Despite the popularity of boutique, exotic-ingredient, or grain-free (BEG) diets, experts say that grains are generally safe for dogs. Writing for Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, veterinary nutritionist and professor Lisa M. Freeman says that there is no proof that grain-free diets are better. “The fact is that food allergies are very uncommon, so there’s no benefit of feeding pet foods containing exotic ingredients,” she writes. “And while grains have been accused on the internet of causing nearly every disease known to dogs, grains do not contribute to any health problems and are used in pet food as a nutritious source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.”

Green beans
Green beans by Lin dafni (CC BY-SA)

9. Green Beans

When it comes to adding green beans to your pet’s diet, anything goes, according to the AKC. “Green beans themselves are not only safe for dogs, but veterinarians also recommend them as a healthy treat,” the organization writes. The sole consideration is how you prepare your vegetables, which should always be plain and unseasoned, as ingredients like garlic powder can be toxic to dogs.

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Raw Honey
Crunchy Peanut Butter

11. Peanuts and Peanut Butter

While the occasional spoonful of unsalted peanut butter or shelled, dry-roasted peanut is fine, too much of either can lead to weight gain and pancreatitis. Stick to unsalted, unsweetened, dog-specific peanuts or peanut butter formulas — and don’t go overboard. Experts also emphasize that some nuts, namely macadamia nuts, are on the list of things dogs can’t eat

Related: 36 Popular Dog Breeds That Don't Shed

Raw pork pieces isolated on a white background.
Nikolay Zaiarnyi/istockphoto

13. Pumpkin

WebMD gives dog owners the OK when it comes to adding pumpkin to your pet’s diet, calling it a “superfood” that contains micronutrients and fiber. The publication adds that it’s also useful if your dog is constipated or has runny stool, as the fruit can soothe a pet’s upset stomach.

Related: Dogs That Don’t Bark (Much)

Sliced roasted turkey breast with herbs and salad
Africa Studio/shutterstock

Other Human Foods Dogs Can Eat

We can’t possibly list all the human foods that pups can eat. But with the above 14 selections — along with 15 more common foods below — this roundup should provide pet owners with a guide to foods that are safe for dogs. And remember: The majority of your dog’s diet should be made up of complete, balanced, AAFCO-compliant dog food (in other words, not human food).

Half-cuban teenage girl and her cute pug at home.

The Bottom Line

Figuring out what to feed your dog is pretty simple. Dogs should eat dog food. Humans should eat human food. And when you do give your pet a stray piece of turkey or fish, you should keep the portions small, unseasoned, and properly cooked. Otherwise, you could end up with an expensive vet bill on your hands.