When your dog is begging for the delicious food in your hand, it’s always tempting to give in—especially when the scraps will otherwise go to waste. But think twice about serving human food to your pup. Plenty of common foods, seasonings, and additives are actually toxic for dogs to consume. Other treats should be avoided because of high fat or sodium content, both of which cause more issues for pets than for people.
Think your pet may have eaten something they shouldn’t have, or too much human food in one go? Watch for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or fatigue. And if you know they’ve eaten something poisonous to pups, seek veterinary care immediately.
1. Peanut Butter with Xylitol
Many brands of peanut butter are perfectly safe. However, you should always check ingredients before feeding this tasty treat to your pet. Xylitol, a commonly used artificial sweetener, is fatally toxic to dogs. Look for creamy peanut butter without xylitol—or better yet, with no added sweeteners.
Dogs love peanut butter; make sure the one you choose loves your dog back!
2. Chicken Wings
It’s always tempting to give table scraps to your dog, but cooked bones are extremely hazardous. They can splinter, causing severe internal damage. And even boneless wings shouldn’t be fed to your pet: fried foods aren’t good for a dog’s system. Plus, the seasonings on your wings could contain traces of onion or garlic, which dogs can’t eat. It’s best to avoid feeding chicken wings to your dog altogether.
Extremely fatty foods like bacon should be doled out sparingly. Dogs can’t process fat as easily as humans can, so servings should be limited to occasional treats. And don’t let your dog lick the grease off the plate! You won’t enjoy cleaning up after their next bathroom break.
Dogs don’t need dairy as part of a healthy diet. Yogurt may contain xylitol, a sweetener poisonous to your pet. Read ingredients carefully, and keep flavored or sweetened yogurt away from your pet. While an occasional spoonful of plain yogurt is unlikely to cause harm, don’t allow your dog to lap up your leftovers: many dogs are lactose-intolerant.
5. Chocolate-Covered Treats
How could a thin layer of chocolate coating harm your dog? Watch out: Tiny doses of chocolate can actually be fatal. Chocolate-covered nuts, pretzels, or candies should be safely stored out of your pet’s reach. Even white chocolate contains compounds toxic to dogs. Any foods that list chocolate, cocoa, cocoa butter, or cacao must be avoided completely.
High levels of sodium are dangerous for dogs, and vinegar can be hard on their stomachs. What’s more, many pickles include spices like onion and garlic that are poisonous to canines. And whole pickles are a choking hazard.
Read ingredients carefully, and stick to a slice or two at most—as an occasional treat. Even better, dogs love fresh cucumber. It’s healthy and delicious!
7. Black Licorice
Dogs don’t need candy anyway, but black licorice is especially harmful. Licorice root can raise your dog’s blood pressure, and cause muscle weakness and vomiting. Keep anything that contains licorice away from your pet, and contact your vet if your dog does ingest black licorice.
To preserve freshness, nuts should be stored in the freezer. Moldy nuts can cause severe neurological damage to your pet. In addition, certain nuts—like macadamia—are toxic to dogs even when fresh. Nuts offer little nutritional value to dogs, so there’s no reason to include them as a snack for your pet.
When you’re walking your dog, watch out for nut trees. Dogs enjoy eating fallen nuts, which are frequently moldy and extremely dangerous. Don’t allow your pet to graze off the ground in the vicinity of a nut tree.
9. Chips & Dip
Seasoned chips and flavored dips often contain onion powder, garlic, or both. They’re also high in sodium content. Preserve your pet’s health by avoiding these snacks. Plain, unflavored tortilla chips (without added salt) may be an occasional treat if your dog tolerates them.
However, remember that dogs don’t chew their food as finely as we do before swallowing—so always keep an eye on your pet while they’re eating chips.
The Bottom Line
Any food that will make your dog sick is better tossed in the trash than fed to Fido. Instead of handing off your leftovers to your dog, look for high-quality pet treats. You can even make your own!
Alternately, many vegetables like sweet potatoes and celery make great snacks. You can even make healthy, homemade dog food quite easily at home. Keeping your pet healthy and happy may take a little extra work—but it’s always worth it.