Human Food for Dogs – The Good, Bad & Ugly of Fruits and Vegetables for Dogs

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If you’ve ever sat down to dinner with your doggo drooling uncontrollably at your feet (or worse, had your delicious steak pinched off the bench while your back is turned) you know that doggos rarely say no to sharing human food. A range of fruit and vegetables commonly found in the kitchen can serve as valuable supplements for dog health. However, some of the treats that we like to enjoy can have negative impacts on canine health and some fruits and vegetables can even be deadly for dogs. In this article we discuss human food for dogs – which fruit and vegetables to feed for optimum health as well as those to avoid.

In the wild dogs hunted for their food and typically ate a basic of prey animal meat, fur and bones (also called the Prey Model Raw Diet). While this is a fantastic diet for domesticated dogs, feeding a biologically appropriate ratio of meat and fur it isn’t always so simple (read a little more on animal fur for dogs at ‘Hairy scary furry bits – animal fur dog treats and digestive health’). Many of the store-bought dog foods that we feed – such as processed meats and dog kibble – are lacking in many key nutrients that would be found in a primal diet. Therefore, supplementation with other foods and additional nutrients is required.

While there are a range of specific supplements that can assist in your doggo’s complete diet of nutrients (read more at ‘All about supplements for dogs – joint health and another benefits’) some fruits and vegetables commonly consumed by humans can assist to fill the gap of these missing nutritional requirements.

Above: Bach and his Wabbit Foot – part of a complete diet for dogs.

Which human foods are good for dogs? Fruit and vegetables for dogs.

Just like humans, fruits and vegetables deliver a range of vitamins, minerals and essential fibres to a dog’s diet. However, there are some that dogs cannot digest and can even be fatal if consumed in large amounts.

The following fruits and vegetables can be consumed by dogs as a supplement to a meat diet and provide some key health benefits (American Kennel Club 2021);

  • Apples – Yes, dogs can eat apples and they provide a good source of vitamins A and C as well as being a low protein and fat source of digestive fibre. As for humans, it’s important to remove the core and seeds. These parts of the fruit contain a toxin, however this does only exist in small amounts.
  • Carrots – Once they learn what do with them, dogs love to eat carrots. If your doggo isn’t keen on munching on a whole carrot, you can try some grated carrot added to a raw meat meal. Feeding carrot to dogs provides fibre, beta-carotene and vitamin A to the diet while chewing on whole carrots is also great for dogs’ dental health and can assist in cleaning teeth. For these reasons, carrots are one of the best vegetables for dogs.
  • Bananas – Yes, dogs can eat bananas! However, this fruit is high in sugar and therefore should only be fed in small amounts. Bananas are naturally high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fibre and copper as well as being low in cholesterol and sodium. Try a small amount of mashed banana in a raw meal or a small piece of banana on its own as a treat.
  • Blueberries – Blueberries are a natural superfood for dogs and can be fed in small quantities. These little dog treats are rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage in humans and canines alike – the perfect healthy treat for teaching your dog to catch!
  • Watermelon – Can dogs eat watermelon? Yes – watermelon is a great summer treat for dogs as it has a very high water content to promote hydration on hot days. It’s important to remove the rind and seeds first, however watermelon flesh is perfectly safe for dogs and it contains high levels of vitamin A, B-6, and C, as well as potassium.
  • Cucumbers – Cucumbers can be fed to dogs and are especially good for overweight dogs as they contain little to no carbohydrates, fats, or oils and can boost energy levels. Cucumbers are loaded with vitamins K, C, and B1, as well as potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin – nutrients which are all very good for dogs.
  • Mango – Mangoes make a great summer treat for dogs. Like bananas, they are high in sugar and so should be fed in small quantities. This fruit has four key vitamins for dogs – vitamins A, B6, C, and E. Mangoes also contain potassium and both beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. Just remember, as with most fruits, remove the hard pit first, as it contains small amounts of cyanide and can become a choking hazard.
  • Pears – Can dogs eat pears? Yes, pears are a great treat for dogs because they are high in copper, vitamins C and K and fibre. Like apples, be sure to cut pears into bite-size chunks and remove the pit and seeds first. Fresh pears are preferable over canned pears, which are often preserved in sugary syrups that are bad for dogs.
  • Pineapple – A small amount of pineapple but into chunks of pineapple makes a delicious sweet treat for dogs. This tropical fruit is full of fibre, vitamins, minerals and also contains bromelain, an enzyme that makes it easier for dogs to absorb proteins. For palatability, ensure that the prickly outside peel and crown are removed first.

Fruits and vegetables that are bad for dogs

  • Grapes – Gogs should never be fed grapes. Grapes in both fresh and dried form (sultanas and raisins) have proven to be very toxic for dogs and can lead to acute sudden kidney failure. Always be mindful of this dangerous fruit for dogs and keep fresh grapes (or dried forms such as in fruit cakes) well out of reach.
  • Onions – Bogs should never eat onions or other vegetables in this family including garlic, leeks and chives. Plants in this family called Allium are poisonous to most pets including dogs, but are especially toxic to cats. Eating onions can cause your dog’s red blood cells to rupture and can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and nausea. This poisoning is more serious in some breeds than others, however you should never feed your dog onion.
  • Avocado – Can dogs eat avocado? While avocado is a very nutritious food for humans, it cannot be fed to dogs. The pit, skin, and leaves of avocados contain persin, a toxin that often causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. While the fleshy inside of the fruit doesn’t have as much persin as the rest of the plant it is still unable to be digested by dogs.
  • Tomatoes – While the ripe fruit of tomatoes are not toxic for dogs, the green parts of the plant and unripe tomatoes contain a toxic substance called solanine. While a dog would need to eat a large amount of the tomato plant to make them sick, tomatoes are best avoided in your dog’s diet.
  • Cherries – With the exception of the fleshy part around the seed, your dog should not eat cherries. Cherry plants (including the pip) contain cyanide which is toxic to dogs. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport, which means that your dog’s blood cells can’t get enough oxygen. If your dog eats cherries, be on the lookout for dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and red gums, as these may be signs of cyanide poisoning.
  • Spinach – While spinach is fine to feed your dog in small amounts, there are more suitable vegetables for your pooch. Spinach is high in oxalic acid, which blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney damage. While your dog would have to eat a large amount of spinach to have this problem, it is best avoided.

How to feed dogs vegetables and fruits

In summary, it’s important to remember that all foods must be fed in balance. While fruit and vegetables are useful to supplement the diet, dogs are naturally carnivores. Therefore, fruit and vegetables should not replace meat in a canine diet. For a complete balanced diet for dogs, feed a combination of raw meat, bones and fur supplemented with the fruits and vegetables recommended in this article. These fruits and vegetables can be fed as a treat on their own or can be fed by mixing into daily meals, all in moderation.

Above: Fruit and vegetables can be added as a supplement to raw daily meals.

Gully Road for Dogs

Gully Road enables our friends to buy dog treats online, fresh from our farm to your doggo’s treat jar. We source all of our natural dog treats carefully to ensure that they are produced with the highest standards of animal welfare as the highest priority. We stock a range of grass fed beef dog treats, seafood treats, dog supplements and wild rabbit which are all biologically appropriate food for dogs. In addition, Gully Road Raw provides a range of highest-welfare raw beef products ideal for a Prey Model Raw diet for dogs. Gully Road proudly delivers ethical dog treats Australia-wide from our little farm in Western Victoria.

References

American Kennel Club 2021, Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can or Can’t Eat, viewed 4 January 2022, <https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/fruits-vegetables-dogs-can-and-cant-eat/>

 

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