June 29, 2018

Can my dog eat that?

We want dogs to have the best diet possible and we love it when pet parents add some fresh food to their dog’s bowl, as long as its safe and balanced. Dogs are pretty good at sneaking snacks they perhaps shouldn’t, particularly from guests, children and from food left out so we’ve put together a guide on what’s safe for your dog to eat and not.

Think you already know what’s safe for your dog and what’s not? Test you knowledge with our quick quiz now.

Foods to keep dogs away from


It’s pretty widely known that chocolate is toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is a cardiac stimulant. In small doses it typically triggers vomiting and/or diarrhoea but in larger doses can lead to significant problems with the lungs, kidney, heart and nerves and can even cause death. Of particular danger are dark chocolates which contain much more theobromine.

Grapes and raisins

Grape skins can contain a toxin created by a fungus that can cause severe liver damage and kidney failure, even from just a handful of grapes or raisins. Therefore make sure they’re out of the reach of dogs.

Some types of nut

While lots of dogs love a peanut butter treat (go easy on them they are not a healthy treat!) there’s quite a few nuts that are choke hazards (walnuts and pecans for example) and others that can cause upset stomachs like pistachios, macadamias and almonds.

Garlic and onions

Onions contain thiosulphate, which is highly poisonous to dogs and causes haemolytic anaemia – the destruction of red blood cells, leading to weakness, vomiting, blood in urine and breathlessness. They’re particularly dangerous when raw. Note garlic also contains thiosuplhate but in smaller amounts so is safe in moderate quantities, particularly when dried, and does have health benefits.

Alcohol and hops

It’s obvious to most that dogs and alcohol don’t mix well given they have much lower tolerance to alcohol than humans. Symptoms are what you’d expect: vomiting, thirst and urination, lethargy, disorientation, but can lead to more severe problems like muscle tremors, paralysis, extremely slow and shallow breathing. Hops can also cause panting, an increased heart rate, fever, seizures and even death.


Dogs are more sensitive to caffeine than humans – ingestion of a moderate amount can cause damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and central nervous system and trigger hyperactivity, vomiting, staggering gait, muscle tremors and convulsions.

Some common plants

Lots of common plants are toxic to dogs in varying severity including rhododendron, hydrageneas, monstera and quite a few indoor plants so consider this when planning your garden and keep indoor plants out of their reach.

Foods to Be Cautious About

The following foods aren’t necessarily toxic but can lead to health complaints in some dogs or many dogs if fed often and in large amounts. If your dog suffers from allergies or has a sensitive stomach these might be best avoided.

Sweet treats

As with humans, too much sugar leads to dental issues, obesity and even diabetes.

Dairy and cheese

While there’s lots of health benefits to dairy products many dogs are lactose intolerant and so dairy consumption can lead to some smelly farts and diarrhoea.


Similarly grains do have lots of health benefits for dogs, especially when fed in a semi-fermented state. However some dogs have grain and gluten intolerances and can become unwell on grain diets.

Lots of starches and carbs

While some carbohydrates form part of a natural dog’s diet they should only form a relatively small proportion of their diet. High carb diets, particularly from starches and low quality carbohydrates, aren’t easily digested and can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, inflammatory responses and depletions of B vitamins. A low carb diet with quality fruits and vegetables is best.

Foods that are good for your dog

While it seems from the lists above there’s lots of things to avoid, there’s also lots of great healthy foods out there that your dog will love too.

Meat, organs and bone

Dogs have principally survived on high meat diets and it should be the number one ingredient you feed your dog. Organ meat provides a rich source of vitamins also and bone is a great source of calcium, boron, glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate.


Eggs are one of the best sources of protein plus they’ve full of amino acids, iron, selenium and Vitamins A, B2 and B12.


Probiotics help populate the gut with healthy bacteria and are as great for dogs as they are for humans. Adding a small amount of yoghurt, kefir or kombucha to your dog’s diet can provide a great boost to their overall digestive and immune system. Just be careful with yoghurt and avoid high-sugar varieties, ones that contain Xylitol or dairy yoghurts if your dog is lactose intolerant.

Lots of fruits and veggies

Lots of fruits and vegetables are great for dogs and we include 4 great superfoods in our air dried raw food. Alfalfa is rich in antioxidants, calcium and magnesium, coconut is high in powerful fatty acids and a good source of roughage and fibre, kelp contains amino acids and iodine and cranberries are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Can my dog eat that? - Balanced Life