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Can Your Dog Eat What You Eat?

by Scott Marshall March 14, 2024 6 min read

Can Your Dog Eat What You Eat?

Can Your Dog Eat What You Eat?

Transitioning to incorporating human foods into your dog's diet is the same as navigating a complex dietary landscape, where the right choices can enhance your pet's health, and missteps can do the opposite. 

This dietary shift, often motivated by the desire to share a more varied and potentially palatable meal with our canine companions, requires a careful consideration of what is safe and beneficial for them to consume. 

Why owners feed dogs human food

Owners often opt to feed their dogs human food for several compelling reasons. 

Taste preferences

Dogs are like humans in some cases and exhibit distinct taste preferences. Introducing human foods into their diet can diversify their palate, offering a spectrum of flavors and textures far richer than the uniformity of standard dog food. 

This not only caters to their sensory enjoyment but can also promote healthier eating habits, particularly in finicky eaters. 

However, it's paramount to ensure these human foods are both safe and nutritionally appropriate for canine consumption, aiming to enrich their diet without jeopardizing their health.

Bonding experience

The act of sharing meals transcends species, symbolizing trust and companionship. For dogs and their owners, feeding human food can create an amazing bonding experience.

This mealtime provides valuable time, where you and your dog can both become that little bit closer, and the bond tighter. 

Are all human foods safe for dogs?

Incorporating human foods into a dog's diet can add variety and enjoyment, but it's vital to understand that not all human foods are safe for dogs. 

Some foods, while nutritious and harmless for humans, can be dangerous or even fatal to our canine friends. This necessitates a careful distinction between foods that are safe and those that are unsafe for dogs.

Safe human foods

Incorporating human foods into your dog's diet can be beneficial, provided you choose safe and nutritious options. These include:

  • Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, and beef, are excellent protein sources that can support your dog's health. Remember not to include any salt or spices to ensure they are safe for canine consumption

  • Certain fruits and vegetables offer a variety of vitamins and minerals beneficial to dogs. Safe options include apples (seeds removed), bananas, and watermelons, which should be given in moderation to avoid digestive upset. Low glycemic green veggies like kale and spinach are also good options. These should all be fed in moderation.

Unsafe human foods

However, it is critical to be aware of human foods that are dangerous for dogs, as they can pose significant health risks:

  • Both chocolate and caffeine contain substances toxic to dogs, which can lead to severe health complications, including heart issues and seizures. These should be strictly avoided

  • Even small amounts of grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, making them highly unsafe and to be avoided at all costs

  • Onions and garlic can cause gastrointestinal irritation and potentially lead to red blood cell damage in dogs. This includes all forms, whether raw, cooked, or in powdered form. There are some documented benefits to small amounts of garlic but no amount of garlic should be fed without extensive research beforehand.

  • Products containing xylitol, (often called wood sugar, birch sugar, and birch bark extract) such as certain sugar-free gums and candies, can trigger a rapid release of insulin in dogs, leading to hypoglycemia and possible liver failure NEVER feed items containing this ingredient.

By understanding which human foods are safe and which are unsafe, dog owners can ensure their pets enjoy a balanced, nutritious, and safe diet, contributing to their overall well-being.

Impact of human foods on dog health

Introducing human foods into a dog's diet can significantly influence their health, both positively and negatively

While some human foods can add valuable nutrients and diversity to a dog's meals, others can lead to nutritional imbalances and toxic reactions, potentially causing life-threatening conditions

It's critical for dog owners to discern the nutritional benefits and risks associated with the human foods they share with their pets.

Safe human foods can enhance a dog's diet, offering moderation and balance, and contributing to their overall health and vitality. 

On the flip side, unsafe human foods can trigger a spectrum of adverse effects, ranging from mild digestive issues to severe toxicity, contingent on the type and quantity consumed.

Awareness of the signs of intolerance or toxicity in dogs, including symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and more severe reactions, is of the utmost importance for timely intervention and care. 

By judiciously selecting suitable foods and comprehending their health impacts, dog owners can safeguard their pets, ensuring they reap the benefits of a diverse diet without compromising their health and well-being.

Guidelines for feeding dogs human food

Incorporating human food into your dog's diet can be a rewarding experience, enhancing their meals with variety and flavor. However, it's essential to follow specific guidelines to ensure this practice benefits their health rather than causing harm.

Portion control

Implementing portion control is critical when incorporating human food into your dog's diet. Accurate measurement is key to preventing overfeeding, which can lead to obesity and other health complications.

Size and weight considerations

The size and weight of your dog are decisive factors in determining the safe quantity of human food they can consume. Smaller breeds require lesser amounts, whereas larger dogs might manage slightly more, always within reason. Regardless of your dog’s size, you should always start with small amounts to gauge their reaction to any new food items. 


Moderation in raw diets of the frequency of human food treats is essential. These should be viewed as occasional indulgences rather than a staple of their diet, ensuring a balanced nutritional intake.

Treats vs. meal replacements

Human foods are best utilized as treats rather than meal replacements. This approach guarantees that dogs primarily benefit from the comprehensive nutrition their daily meals provides, with human food serving as a supplementary treat.

Preparation methods

Choosing the right preparation methods is crucial. High quality, fresh raw foods or simple cooking without complex ingredients ensures the food is safe and healthy for canine consumption.

No added salt or spices

When preparing human food for dogs, it's important to omit added salt or spices. These additives can be detrimental to a dog's health, leading to potential issues.

Signs of poor tolerance to human food

Identifying signs of poor tolerance to human food in dogs is essential for maintaining their health and well-being, as changes in diets is not always easy. 

Symptoms can vary in severity but typically include digestive issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea, which are clear indicators that a dog's system may not agree with something they've eaten. 

Additionally, some dogs might experience allergic reactions, manifesting as skin irritations or breathing difficulties. These reactions signal that the food is not compatible with their dietary needs and requires immediate attention. 

Promptly addressing these signs by adjusting the diet and consulting with a veterinarian when necessary ensures that feeding human food remains a safe and enjoyable practice for your pet.

Digestive issues

Digestive issues often surface as the first sign of intolerance to human food in dogs. Symptoms can include discomfort, bloating, or a sudden change in appetite, suggesting the food may not be compatible with the dog's digestive system.


Vomiting serves as a clear signal that a dog's body is attempting to expel something harmful or unsuitable. This reaction can occur shortly after consumption, highlighting the need for dietary reassessment. With that being said, vomiting can also occur while a dog adjusts to a new food. If it happens every time you feed a particular food, then it’s probably not a good fit for them.


Diarrhea is another significant indicator of dietary intolerance or the ingestion of unsuitable substances. Persistent or severe diarrhea warrants a thorough review of the dog's recent diet and, if necessary, veterinary consultation.

Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions to certain human foods can manifest in various ways in dogs, including through gastrointestinal upset or skin conditions, indicating an intolerance or allergy to specific ingredients.

Skin irritations

Skin irritations, such as rashes, excessive itching, or swelling, are indicative of allergic reactions to ingested foods. 

These symptoms show that the dog's body is negatively responding to something they have eaten.

Breathing difficulties

Breathing difficulties, including wheezing, coughing, or labored breathing, can be severe symptoms of an allergic reaction to food. 

Such conditions require immediate attention from a veterinarian, as they can signify a critical reaction.

The Takeaway

Wanting to share your food with a dog is something that most people understand, whether that be in public or at home with your pet. 

However, knowing what is safe and what is not - is key information. Always make sure the food your dog is getting is what is right for them. 

The information on Raw Feeding 101’s website and other media outlets is designed ONLY for educational and informational purposes. It is essential that you understand the statements and information provided on this website and its other outlets do not aim to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any diseases or illnesses. Raw Feeding 101 strongly insists that you consult with your veterinarian to discuss your dog's medical care thoroughly.

Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott has been feeding a raw dog food diet for over 13 years. He lives in Utah with his wife Arianne, his 11.5 year old german shepherd Wolken, and his 2.5 year old labradoodle Montu. Scott has been teaching others about raw feeding since 2013, started Raw Feeding 101 in 2017, and has been solely focused on simplifying the process of pet parents meeting their dogs’ daily nutrient requirements since 2018.

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