For many of us, our dogs are more than just pets – we see them as part of the family. If you only want what’s best for your dog, you might think that providing human food is a superior choice. However, dogs and humans have very different physiologies and nutritional requirements, meaning food that is healthy for humans is not always good for dogs. While there’s nothing wrong with treating your beloved furry friend like a human child, when it comes to food and diet, it’s not always a good idea. 

Providing a balanced diet is vital to ensure that your beloved dog is healthy, safe, and thriving. So, if you’re wondering what foods you can safely share with your pooch, the first step is finding out which common human foods are safe for dogs, and which are unsafe. 

Dog Safe Human Foods

Our dogs trust us to provide them with safe, healthy, and nutritious meals. As many owners know all too well, most dogs will eat whatever is put in front of them without a second thought! That’s why it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re providing a range of nourishing foods, while keeping anything that’s dangerous or toxic off-limits. 

Close Up Shot of a Dog Eating

Which Fruit and Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?

Did you know that because dogs evolved so closely with humans, they’re actually omnivores, just like us? So, while dogs don’t usually do as well on vegan and vegetarian diets as humans, you can absolutely include fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced dog diet to provide a rich variety of essential micronutrients.

Dog Safe Fruits

Some fruits that you can feed your dog include apples, bananas, blueberries, watermelon, mango, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple and raspberries. Just keep in mind that many fruits, including bananas and strawberries, are high in sugar, which isn’t so great for dogs, so fruit intake should be kept moderate. You should also make sure to peel and pit fruits, and cut them into bite-sized chunks, to avoid the risk of choking.

Assorted Sliced Fruits

Dog Safe Vegetables

Some safe vegetables to feed your dog include broccoli, carrots, celery, cooked sweet potato, and spinach. You should never feed your dog raw potato of any kind. As with fruits, it’s always a good idea to remove any seeds and skins, and cut veggies into manageable chunks.

Before trying your dog on any new food, it’s important to do your research. Even though eating plenty of fruit and veg is healthy for humans, not all of them are healthy for dogs! There are some fruits and veg that should never be consumed by dogs – more on that below.

You should always keep an eye on your pooch when you’re trying them on something new ­– start with small portions and build up to a moderate intake once you’re sure that your pup is not showing any signs of gastrointestinal distress. Just like humans, dogs can struggle with sudden increases in fibre, and changes to diet in general. 

What Meat and Protein Sources Can Dogs Eat?

Just like us, dogs need plenty of protein to stay healthy and strong. Requirements vary depending on your dog’s size, age, lifestyle, and health conditions, but on average protein should make up around 18-30% of your dog’s diet.

Lean Meat

Lean meat is an obvious source of complete protein for dogs. Cooked pork, lean beef, chicken, and turkey, prepared without oil or seasonings, are all great options. If you’re sharing your own meal with your pooch, be sure to avoid adding any ingredients that are toxic to dogs, like salt and onion. Note that processed meats – think ham, prosciutto, sausages, and corned beef ­– are a no-no for dogs, due to their high salt content.    

Ground Meat mince in Glass Bowl

Raw Meat (BARF)

A quick internet search will bring up increasingly vocal proponents of raw meat diets for dogs, but this advice is controversial. While some claim that raw meats are a natural and wholesome way to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements, most advisory bodies warn against feeding raw meat to your dog, due to the high risk of bacterial contamination. If you do want to feed your dog raw meat – such as a raw bone as an occasional treat, for example – be sure to choose human-grade meat and bones.


In moderation, seafood can be a good protein source for dogs too. Cooked or canned tuna is high in omega 3, which is great for dogs. Just be sure to avoid canned varieties that include oil and spices. Fish should always be cooked prior to serving, to kill any potentially harmful bacteria, and you’ll need to remove any bones, as they can cause choking or even internal damage. You should also be aware that some seafood contains high levels of mercury, which is highly toxic for dogs. Keeping seafood to a ‘sometimes food’ is the safest option.

Dairy Products

Dairy products are also a good source of protein for most dogs (provided they’re not lactose intolerant – more on that below). Plain yogurt and cottage cheese are both good options, as they’re relatively low in fat. Just be sure to steer clear of sweetened yogurts and ice cream, especially those with artificial sweeteners, which can be toxic and even fatal to dogs.

Vegetables, Grains, Pulses and Other Plant Based Foods

Since dogs are omnivores, they can get some protein from plant-based sources. Some dog-friendly protein-rich plants include beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, quinoa, buckwheat, whole grains, and protein-rich vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. If you’re focusing on vegan or vegetarian protein sources for your dog, you’ll want to make sure to do your own thorough research and consider talking to your vet to ensure your pooch is getting the nutrients it requires.

chickpeas in a bowl

Moderation and Lactose Intolerance Awareness

While we have listed several dairy products that can form a part of your dog’s balanced diet, there is a caveat – some dogs can suffer from lactose intolerance, making dairy a no-go. Lactose is a type of sugar found in dairy products, and just like humans, some dogs lack the enzymes required to digest it. If you notice your dog experiences gastrointestinal distress after eating dairy – think bloating, gas, or diarrhoea – you might have a case of lactose intolerance on your hands.

Even if your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, it’s important to keep in mind that many dairy products are high in fat and calories. This isn’t going to be helpful if your dog struggles to keep their weight down! Excess fat in dogs’ diets is also linked to dangerous conditions like pancreatitis, which can be fatal. So, keep in mind that while dairy foods are perfectly fine for most dogs, they should still be served in moderation, as a small part of a balanced diet.

Human Foods Dogs Cannot Eat

Many foods that are perfectly safe and healthy for humans are toxic for dogs, so it’s important to do your research before feeding your pooch any food that hasn’t been specifically formulated for dogs. You might not realise that sharing your garlicy pasta sauce or your low-sugar treat could potentially be fatal for your four-legged friend!

What Foods are Toxic for Dogs?

Read on for some common foods that you might not know can be seriously dangerous for dogs…  


Chocolate is no good for dogs. This is because it contains high levels of theobromine – a chemical similar to caffeine that’s perfectly safe for humans, but which dogs are unable to metabolise. In general, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic. If your dog does eat chocolate, it’s important to get them to the vet as soon as possible. 

Milka chocolate bar (100g) with chunks broken off


Caffeine ­­– most commonly ingested as coffee – is an essential part of many humans’ diets, but it’s toxic to dogs. A sneaky lick of your unattended brew is unlikely to cause harm in most dogs, but if your dog ingests any more than that you should pay a visit to your vet. Caffeine poisoning can cause serious illness and even death.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes, and by extension raisins, are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure – a serious condition that can be fatal. The exact toxin in grapes that causes this reaction in dogs is debated, but it may be because of grapes’ high tartaric acid content.  


Onions, along with garlic, chives and leeks, are all toxic for dogs. These flavourful herbs, known as alliums, are common in a lot of tasty human recipes, so it’s important to be on high alert if you’re someone who likes to share leftovers with your pooch. Ingestion can cause depletion in red blood cells, which can ultimately lead to death.


Like onions, garlic is a member of the allium family, which is not good news for dogs. Consumption of garlic can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs and will ultimately lead to red blood cell depletion. Again, this can cause kidney damage and may be fatal.

onions and garlic


Humans should only consume salt in moderation, and the same goes for dogs. For dogs, the risk of salt toxicity is much higher, and they need to consume a lot less to induce negative results. Salt poisoning can cause vomiting, seizures, and in worst cases death, so be sure to see a vet if you’re worried.

Artificial Sweeteners

Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and should never be consumed in any amount – the consequences can be fatal. Other artificial sweeteners, like erythritol, stevia, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose, are not as highly toxic, but they may still cause gastrointestinal upset if consumed, and should therefore be avoided.

Potential Risks of Feeding Dogs Human Food

As we’ve mentioned, not all human foods are safe for dogs, and so it’s important to research new ingredients before adding them to your pet’s menu. The consequences of not doing your homework can be pretty serious.  

Digestive Upset and Pancreatitis

Unfortunately, pancreatitis affects many dogs. It’s a serious health condition that can be debilitating, and even fatal. While the precise cause is unknown, and there’s likely to be some underlying genetic predisposition, consumption of a large amount of fatty food in a single sitting can trigger the condition.  

Signs to look for include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. You might also notice your dog suddenly appears depressed.

This scary condition can result in sudden death, so it’s important that you get your pet to a vet as soon as you notice any potential pancreatitis symptoms. If treated early and aggressively, the condition can be treated. After making a recovery from an acute attack, your dog’s condition may require ongoing, lifelong management, such as following a special, tailored diet plan.

Nutritional Imbalances and Deficiencies

Another risk when feeding human foods to your dog is that you may inadvertently fail to cover your pooch’s nutritional requirements. To an extent, packaged dog foods do the hard work for you, since they are tailor-made to meet dogs’ requirements. However, there is still a risk that your dog’s individual requirements will not be met, even if you’re buying dog food from a specialist manufacturer.

Just like humans, dogs need the right quantity and balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals to lead a healthy, happy life. Insufficient overall food intake, lack of specific nutrients in your dogs’ diet, or an underlying digestive disease that prevents nutrient absorption can all put your dog at risk of malnutrition. Signs of nutritional deficiency or imbalances to look for include changes in your dog’s digestion and bowel movements, low mood and depression, hair loss or skin disorders, and overall lethargy.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s nutritional intake, it’s important that you speak to a vet and get your dog properly assessed. The solution may be as simple as adding some more nutritious meals into your dog’s rotation. Or, there may be an underlying health condition that is preventing proper absorption of the healthy food you’re serving, and it’s important that you get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later.

Allergies and Food Sensitivities

Just like humans, dogs can develop allergies or sensitivities to foods that would otherwise be fine to consume. For dogs, the most common foods that cause problems are proteins, including from dairy, meat, eggs, soy, or wheat gluten, although pretty much any food has the potential to cause issues for individuals.   

The most common signs that your dog is allergic or sensitive to a food are digestive abnormalities, like vomiting and diarrhoea, and itchy skin. Some more subtle signs to watch for include weight loss and behavioural changes. It’s important that you take your pooch to see a vet if you suspect a food allergy, as they can lead to more serious issues, like malnutrition, if left untreated.

Healthy Treat Options for Dogs

What dog doesn’t love – or even live for – a tasty treat? The great news is that many human foods make great, healthy, and safe treats for dogs.  

Yorkshire Terrier Eating Treats in Bed

Commercially Available Treats

Health-conscious pet owners rejoice – the market is increasingly catering to your needs. The benefit of choosing a commercially available treat is that you can be sure that its ingredients are dog-safe. In the UK, pet food manufacturing is heavily regulated, with legislation in place to ensure that consumers are provided with safe and nutritious options for their pets.

You can purchase dog treats from your local vet, pet shop, or even supermarket, or you can browse the plethora of choices online. We love Scrumbles, which is a super sustainable, certified B Corp that even offers vegetarian treats, and Mr Bug, which has a scrumptious range of – you guessed it – insect-based dog treats!

Homemade Treats

If you’re more of a DIY type and don’t mind getting stuck in to the kitchen, making your own healthy dog treats is a great way to go. Homemade treats often work out cheaper than buying premade treats, and they create less packaging waste too! Plus, you know exactly what’s going into them, which makes them a great option if your pooch has food sensitivities or dietary needs that you’re catering to.

A quick internet search will reveal thousands of great treat recipes for you to try, but to get started why not try these super simple, four ingredient pumpkin dog treats, or these tasty liver training treats.

Perhaps the easiest homemade treat of all is cutting up some fresh dog-safe fruits or vegetables. Trialling your dog on different human foods can be a fun bonding experience too, and you’ll quickly get to know which foods they’re into and which ones they could do without.

Can dogs eat…

Can dogs eat pancakes?

Yes – there’s nothing in plain pancake batter that is toxic to dogs, meaning dogs can eat pancakes! But keep in mind that pancakes tend to be high in fat and sugar, so they should only be given to your dog as an occasional treat. Be careful with common toppings, like chocolate and raisins, which are toxic to dogs.

Can dogs eat raspberries?

Yes – dogs can eat raspberries in moderation. Raspberries are high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which makes them good for humans and dogs! Too many can cause intestinal discomfort for your pup, so stick to one or two at a time.

Can dogs eat strawberries?

Yes! Good news for strawberry lovers – dogs can eat strawberries! Keep in mind that, like all sweet fruits, strawberries are high in sugar, so limit serves to one or two berries per day. Strawberry-flavoured products may include additives that are toxic to dogs, so stick to the real deal. Try them pureed or frozen for a fun summer treat!

Can dogs eat lettuce?

Yes – lettuce is not toxic to dogs, so you can include lettuce in your dog’s diet. Since it’s not very nutrient dense, you’ll need to serve it alongside other foods to ensure your pooch is getting enough fat and protein to stay fit and healthy!

Can dogs eat cucumbers?

Yes – cucumbers are a healthy, low-calorie, fun-to-crunch, hydrating treat for most dogs. If your pooch is very small or tends to wolf down their food, we recommend chopping cucumbers into manageable chunks to minimise choking risk. Also, stick to plain cucumbers and skip the pickles and dressed salads, since they often include ingredients that don’t mix well with dogs!

Can dogs eat porridge?

Yes! Cooked oats are a healthy addition to most dogs’ diets. While creamy porridge with all the toppings might make a healthy breakfast for humans, dogs do better with small quantities of plain porridge cooked with water, served alongside their regular food. Avoid artificially sweetened porridge, which can be toxic, and never serve raw oats, as they’re harder to digest.

Can dogs eat kiwi?

Yes – you can share your kiwi fruit with your pooch. As with all fruits, moderation is key – serve kiwis as an occasional treat to avoid over-eating and upset stomachs. The size of kiwis make them a choking risk for larger breeds, so always chop them up into manageable chunks before serving.

Can dogs eat beetroot?

Yes! Dogs can eat beetroots – if your dog enjoys beets, they make a great, nutrient-dense, high-fibre treat. Keep serving sizes small (under one beet) to avoid overdoing the fibre and sugar, which can lead to digestive upsets. Consider shredding, chopping or parboiling to reduce choking hazards and make beets easier to digest. 

Can dogs eat chocolate?

No! Chocolate is toxic to dogs, because of a substance it contains called theobromine – safe for humans, terrible for pooches. Never feed chocolate to dogs and always keep your own stash safely out of reach. If your dog eats chocolate, take it to the vet immediately – consumption may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, and, in worst cases, even death.

Brown Dog Eating from a bowl

Your dog might be a part of your family, but when it comes to diet, you shouldn’t treat your pooch exactly like you’d treat your human child! You might think you’re doing your dog a favour by sharing your food with them when they beg, but if you haven’t done your research, you might be doing more harm than good. Many foods that are perfectly healthy for humans are in fact toxic to dogs, and can lead to severe health consequences, and even death.

Having said that, there are many human foods that are perfectly safe for dogs, and including these safe options in your dog’s diet can be a fun and low-cost way to boost variety and nutrition. Once you know which human foods are safe for dogs, you’ll have a range of treats and dietary staples to add to the menu!