Some of the most frequent questions we’re asked have to do with dogs and what’s safe for them to eat. Fortunately, dogs are able to consume a fairly wide variety of food, and in many cases, what’s healthy for us is also healthy for them — but not always. Here are 10 foods you may not expect to be OK for dogs to eat, that actually are perfectly safe ... and even healthy!
CAN DOGS EAT CAROB?
Almost every dog owner knows that chocolate is poisonous to their pets. And yet there’s no reason why your pooch can’t enjoy the same ersatz chocolate that humans have always enjoyed as a chocolate substitute: carob. Not only does carob not contain caffeine or the theobromine that makes chocolate so deadly for dogs, but it actually has many healthy properties. Carob contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, plus fiber and pectin, too.
CAN DOGS EAT PEANUT BUTTER?
Whether dogs can eat peanut butter is a question on a lot of dog owners’ minds. Some may think it’s unsafe or unhealthy, but that isn’t the case. Dogs can eat peanut butter without worry — although to be healthy, it’s much better to feed a dog plain, natural peanut butter without added sugar, salt or preservatives. And a little goes a long way, because peanut butter is rich in fat and calories.
CAN DOGS EAT PEARS?
Dogs can eat pears safely, but there is one caveat. Although pears are a naturally healthy snack, the cores — specifically the seeds — can be toxic to canines. Therefore, you don’t want to simply toss a whole pear to a dog and watch him go to town, because he may get sick. It’s a better idea to cut a pear up and feed the pieces to your dog while throwing the core in the garbage can.
CAN DOGS EAT POPCORN?
When you sit down in your living room to watch a movie, it’s a good idea to have a bowl of popcorn in your lap. But when that smell fills the place, your dog is probably going to come begging. Is popcorn OK for dogs to eat? Popcorn is tricky. It can be a very healthy snack for both you and your dog — as long as it’s plain. Once you load it with butter and salt, it tastes a lot better, but it’s also a lot less healthy, for humans and canines alike. Feel free to toss a few kernels to Fido, but try to keep it sans salt and butter.
CAN DOGS EAT PRETZELS?
Mmm, pretzels. Almost as good a snack food as popcorn, or way better, depending on your tastes. If your dog has a taste for pretzels, too, feel free to share! They’re not unhealthy for dogs. They’re essentially just bread, after all. But keep in mind that, just like popcorn, unsalted pretzels are much better treats to toss your dog than salted pretzels. If you’re going to share this snack with man’s best friend, go with a no-salt or low-sodium variety.
CAN DOGS EAT FRUIT SALAD?
There are lots of fruits that are sweet, delicious and healthy for dogs to eat. Strawberries, blueberries, apples, cantaloupe, watermelon and bananas are all great choices. But don’t just throw a boring old banana in your dog’s bowl like a lazy jerk. Try mixing them all together in an aesthetically pleasing fruit salad instead. Just remember that certain fruits are not good for dogs. Leave the grapes out of your salad.
CAN DOGS EAT ZUCCHINI?
Grilling zucchini and other squashes makes for a delicious summer meal, but while you’re cooking them up, is it safe to toss some to your furry companion? Yup! Zucchini’s potassium, folate and vitamin content make it healthy for you and your dog, and no part of the vegetables is toxic to canines. Feed without fear.
CAN DOGS EAT TUNA?
Tuna is a classic cat snack. If you’ve ever owned a cat, chances are you’re familiar with the experience of cracking open a can of white albacore only for your feline friend to come running to the kitchen from wherever she was in the house. But despite stereotypes, tuna need not be a cat-only treat. Dogs can eat tuna, too! And it’s healthy, boasting protein, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
CAN DOGS EAT PASTA?
Dogs can eat pasta, which is really nothing more than flour and water, and sometimes eggs. All of these ingredients are safe for dogs, so any variety of pasta is safe for most dogs, although it’s probably best to hold the commercial pasta sauce, as these are usually acidic, and contain a lot of sugar and salt, all of which can upset your dog’s tummy. Also, keep in mind that some dogs are allergic to wheat. If your dog is one of these, leave pasta off the menu.
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CAN DOGS EAT PEPPERMINT?
Peppermint is strong but safe for dogs. Try using it as an ingredient if you bake your own homemade dog biscuits. It may help freshen up our pal’s nasty breath, and since peppermint has long been used to help settle upset tummies, you can even use it to help Rex feel better the next time he's a bit "barfy."
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