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Understanding the Answers About What is Safe to Feed Dogs

People often have the tendency of wanting to give their pet dogs scraps from the table as treats. Unfortunately, there are many human foods that are not only unsuitable for feeding to dogs, they can actually be dangerous or deadly.

To raise awareness, a quiz was written titled, “What You Can and Should Not Feed Your Dog“. It is only fair to explain the answers here.

1. Chocolate

This is an easy one. Most people know that they should not feed their dogs chocolate. Chocolate contains theophylline and theobromine, both of which are toxic to dogs (and cats). These substances can cause damage to a dog’s nervous system and heart.

2. Hamburger buns

Hamburger buns are safe to feed dogs, provided that they don’t eat too much. The cooked hamburger is safe, too, so a hamburger on a bun really would be a treat.

3. Grapes

Grapes and raisins contain a substance that can lead to rapid kidney failure in dogs and dogs have died from eating only a few grapes. It is decidedly unsafe to feed grapes to dogs, though some may eat them because of the sweet taste.

4. Onions

Onions, garlic, chives, leek, and other alliums contain thiosulphate and disulfides that are extremely harmful to the digestive system of dogs. They can do more than causing an upset tummy; they can actually cause ulcerations, resulting in internal bleeding and anemia.

These substances are what gives alliums their characteristic aroma and all forms, including fresh and dried, are harmful. Raw garlic is an age-old treatment for worms in dogs, but this is primarily because it causes such irritation of the entire digestive tract.

5. Peanut butter

Peanut butter is usually harmful, though it might not be in all situations and in small quantities. Most (not all) peanut butter contains aflatoxins, which are strongly carcinogenic. The aflatoxins come from a natural fungus that is common in peanuts.

Additionally, some brands of peanut butter contain a sweetener called Xylitol. This sweetener, also very commonly found in chewing gum and yogurt, is extremely toxic to dogs.

6. Raw eggs

Most raw eggs contain salmonella, which is destroyed when eggs are cooked. In fact, cooked eggs are good for dogs. Raw eggs also have substances that block the absorption of B vitamins in dogs. Dogs should not be given raw eggs.

7. Cooked white rice

Cooked white rice and cooked brown rice are safe for dogs and can even help ease stomach upset and diarrhea. Dogs are not strictly carnivores like cats are, so the rice can be digested.

8. Coffee

Coffee is unsafe for dogs for the same reason that too much coffee is unsafe for people. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and it affects dogs even more than it affects people. Coffee can cause a dog’s heart to palpitate and can cause the animal to shake. Normally, coffee isn’t deadly to dogs in small amounts, but it can still cause problems.

9. Cow’s milk

Virtually all adult dogs are lactose intolerant. Cow’s milk can cause stomach upset, runny stool, dehydration, and other symptoms that aren’t unlike what people experience with lactose intolerance.

10. Corn on the cob

Dogs can digest small amounts of corn. Too much corn can upset the dog’s stomach, but corn is still digestible. The same can’t be said for the cob. If a dog eats the corn cob, the cob nearly always blocks the intestines. The only option at that point is for the dog to have surgery. Otherwise, the blockage is fatal. It is best to not feed the dog corn on the cob at all.

It is a good idea to do a little research before feeding a pet dog scraps from the table. Some human foods are safe enough for dogs to eat, but some are toxic and many can be deadly. A few are even cumulative, meaning that they don’t cause a problem initially, but over time, they certainly can.


What do you think?

11 Points

Written by Rex Trulove


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  1. Like with humans and our diet, it is all about moderation. Knowing what you pooch can, and cannot eat is an important part of being a good friend.

    Now if I can just figure out how to stop eating chocolate myself!

  2. I really like this post for I see people who feed their dogs everything. Then I see other dog owners who are meticulous just to feed their dogs top tested dog food. Chocolate is a no for both cats and dogs. The point being that dog and cat parents to be really up on these things. I have my own cat who owns me and she is a legal ESA for me. Then I work with rescue kittens and cats who I help find forever homes for. I love them all unconditionally.

    • Working for the kitties and cats who are rescues is a noble endeavor. I applaud you for that. Half of our cats are rescues; “throw-away pets”. Our vet even called at one time to ask us to adopt another cat. The young cat was brought in and neutered, then before the owner could come and pick up the cat, the lady got sick and died. The vet didn’t want to take the cat to the no-kill center and knew how we take care of our pets, so she called us. Of course, we said yes. (It was a black cat and I love black cats.)

  3. I am surprised at your statement that “most raw eggs contain salmonella”. Maybe they do in the US, but in the UK – about 30 years ago – a government minster lost her job for saying something similar! I agree that there is a risk of salmonella in eggs, but could it be that food hygiene standards are higher in Europe than America?!

    • I’m not sure if it has much to do with food hygiene because the bacteria (e. Coli as well) are found inside the shell before the egg has been handled. There is some disagreement about this one, but it is still safest to cook the egg. I use raw eggs (from my own chickens) when I make dog treats, but they are baked after the dough has been made. The notion is to not feed them raw eggs. I will mention that this one can be taken with a grain of salt, though, because I do make eggnog from raw eggs and it isn’t heated. So far, I’ve not had salmonella poisoning or problems with e. Coli.

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