I couldn’t believe this question! I heard it from a newbie down at the dog park. She was a little… well, chunky, and she was telling me that she’d been losing weight eating pickles, and wanted to know if pickles were OK for dogs as well. I asked her if she wasn’t worried about all the sodium in pickles, and she said “Oh, no, you just pee it all out.”
Well, I managed to bite my tongue and not say “Oh, so that’s why your doctor doesn’t tell you to worry about too much salt – because you just pee it all out!”
It got me wondering, though. Are pickles OK for dogs? So I came home and started Googling. A while back, I did a post called Your Dog is Not a Human, So Don’t Feed Him Like One. My research back then led me to identify several foods that are not good for dogs. The deeper I went into the topic, though, after getting the pickle question, the more foods I discovered that are very, very bad for dogs.
So, I think it’s time for a longer post. I’ll repeat myself a bit here in case you’re a new reader, but I’ll also be adding in more foods that are harmful to dogs, as well as some human foods that are very good for dogs, so even if you’ve read the original post, you’ll learn more here.
Are Bananas Bad for Dogs?
No. Your dog can eat bananas. They’re full of Vitamins B and C as well as potassium, and are very good for dogs.
Can My Dog Eat Apples?
Yes. If you want to give your dog a few slices of apple, that’s fine. Just make sure that there are no seeds, though. The seeds, and the core, can contain cyanide. The amounts are low enough that your dog likely won’t die from eating them, but he could get sick.
What About Avocado?
Giving your dog avocado is not a good idea. It won’t kill him, but he could end up with a very upset stomach. Also, if your dog eats the avocado pit, he could end up with a blockage in his intestine.
Can My Dog Eat Carrots?
Yes! Most dogs just love cooked carrots, and they are very good for dogs in the same way that they are good for humans. The only consideration here might be if your dog has diabetes – carrots are high in sugar and should only be fed in moderation to a diabetic dog.
No. You know better than to eat the un-popped kernels, but your dog doesn’t, and if he ingests them he could end up with an upset stomach. The other thing is that popcorn has virtually no nutritional value. You and your dog are both just engaging in recreational eating.
NEVER. Never, ever, ever. No one really knows why it happens, but the fact is that even a single grape can send a dog into kidney failure.
I know, you’re going to tell me about a dog who practically lives on grapes, and I’m not saying that this doesn’t happen. Maybe it’s luck. Maybe it’s a combination of other nutritional factors. For that matter, maybe it’s just God saying “It’s not this dog’s time just yet.” Whatever it is, you need to know that sometimes all it takes is ONE GRAPE. One single grape. Are you really willing to take that chance with your dog’s life?
I won’t even allow grapes or raisins (which are dried grapes) in my house. I am not prepared to take that kind of chance with my dogs. Even if your dog has eaten grapes in the past and had no ill effects, that’s no guarantee that his next grape won’t kill him. So NO GRAPES. Ever.
What About My Dog’s Nuts?
Well, unless you’re planning to breed your dog, he really doesn’t need his—
Oh, wait. You’re talking about other nuts! Silly me. J
This takes me back to my first Boxer, Gloria. I always used to put out a bowl of nuts at Christmas. Gloria loved the filberts. She’d go over to the bowl, take out a filbert, lie down on the couch, crack it and eat the contents. Then a few minutes later, back to the bowl for one filbert, foregoing all the Brazil nuts, almonds, etc. She only wanted the filberts. And she was so slow and non-compulsive about it – “I believe I will have a nut right about now.” And then, “Well, it’s been ten minutes, and I think I would like to have another nut.” I debated buying a bag of filberts just for her, but it was so much fun watching her fish them out from the rest of the mixed nuts!
Was I doing her any favors? Probably not. A dog’s digestive system is not equipped to deal with nuts, and some (macadamias in particular) can actually be toxic. At best, macadamias can cause diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal distress. You can feed some nuts, but watch your dog carefully, and keep the macadamias out of the mix.
Can My Dog Have Mushrooms?
Your dog can have the same mushrooms that you can have – the ones that you buy in the grocery store. You’re not going to wander about the woods, chowing down on whatever mushrooms you find, unless you want to die. So if you would eat certain mushrooms, you can give the same ones to your dog. If you wouldn’t eat them yourself, then don’t give them to your dog.
Can My Dog Have Peanut Butter?
What do you suppose people fill those Kong toys with? Duh! Sure, he can have peanut butter.
Can My Dog Have Celery?
He can, but sometimes celery is hard to pass through the intestinal tract. Celery also doesn’t contain a lot of nutrients, so there are probably better treats that you could give your dog.
How About Cranberries?
Cranberries are every bit as good for dogs as they are for people. They help with urinary tract issues and they’re loaded with antioxidants.
Onions and Garlic?
No, and no. You may have heard that garlic can prevent fleas, but there is actually no research that proves this to be true. In fact, in large quantities, garlic can damage your dog’s red blood cells, so it’s best avoided.
Onions are somewhat less toxic, although the results are the same. That said, you would probably have to feed a lot more onion than you would garlic to cause a problem. It’s probably best not to take the chance, though – your dog does not need onions, so do not feed them.
Can My Dog Have Rice?
Definitely! In fact, you’ll find rice in a lot of very good dog foods. And if your dog has diarrhea, a mix of white rice and a bit of stewed tomatoes can correct the problem. Rice is also great for stomach upsets. Of course it has to be cooked – don’t ever give your dog raw rice.
Sure! Fish is really good for dogs. It’s nice and lean, and lean protein should make up most of your dog’s diet. The omega fatty acids in fish like salmon, tuna and herring also deliver all kinds of energy to your dog.
Well, bread isn’t the most nutritious thing that you can give your dog, but I have had dogs that thought bread was nature’s most perfect food. My Gloria would have foregone a steak in favor of a heel of bread.
There’s no harm in giving bread to your dog if he loves it as a treat. Just don’t give uncooked bread dough, because it will expand in the gut and cause a lot of discomfort at best, comas and seizures at worst.
Can My Dog Have Pumpkin?
Yes. Pumpkin is very nutritious and easy on the gut.
In moderation. Most berries are just full of antioxidants and vitamins. Too many strawberries can cause diarrhea, though.
My Dog Wants Cheese!
Okay, everyone wants cheese. What’s not to love about cheese? Dogs love it as much as we do. If your dog wants cheese, let him have it, but in moderation the same as you would any other food.
If you actually have a dog that likes lettuce, then by all means give it to him. Personally, I’ve never encountered a lettuce-eating dog, but if you have one, then you can safely give it as a treat, and your dog will benefit from a high dose of vitamins A, C and K.
No. Never. It’s not digestible.
Mild ones like green peppers are fine. I am deeply troubled, though, by people who tell me “My dog was counter surfing, so I left a hot pepper up there.”
I’m sorry, but that’s abuse, pure and simple. Hot peppers can burn your dog’s mouth and result in horrible gastric discomfort. If you think leaving a hot pepper on the countertop is a good way to stop your dog from counter surfing, you are an asshole.
Can My Dog Have a Pear?
Yes, he can. But you should treat it pretty much the same way as you do apples. Don’t let him have the core or the seeds.
Can My Dog Have Corn?
If you read the ingredient list on your bag of dog food, you might find that corn is an ingredient. Of course this is corn that has been processed in such a way that it is safe for your dog to eat. If you are considering feeding your dog unprocessed corn, you should be careful. Don’t make it a big part of your dog’s diet. It won’t hurt your dog, but it’s not going to provide optimum nutrition either.
Hot Dogs! Yay, Hot Dogs!
This is probably your dog’s reaction when you offer him a hot dog. Dogs love hot dogs. So do most humans, for that matter.
So, can your dog have hot dogs?
There’s probably no reason that he can’t, although as with many other foods, you have to make sure that they are offered in moderation. They’re not usually made from high-quality meat, and they can contain preservatives. So, a few bites are okay, but hot dogs should not form the basis of your dog’s diet.
What About Pomegranate?
It’s best not offered to your dog. Pomegranate is wonderful for humans. It’s so rich in antioxidants, and it’s even believed to help with issues like asthma. When it comes to dogs, though, pomegranate is best avoided. This is simply because most of the pomegranate consists of seeds, and they can be very difficult for dogs to digest. Your dog could develop a very upset stomach if he ingests pomegranate seeds. They won’t kill him, but he will probably vomit and feel unwell for several hour.
Can My Dog Have Cantaloupe?
Yes.Cantaloupe is loaded with a number of nutrients that are very good for dogs.
If you’re not sure if your dog will tolerate any of the approved foods on this list, just give him a little bit to start with. Sometimes, even if a food is good for dogs in general, it might not be right for your dog. So go with small portions before you decide to let your dog have a full portion. Are pickles OK for dogs? Probably not. Give him a cucumber instead. You should always avoid preservatives, and pickles are high in preservatives.
The Final Word
There are so many foods that your dog might love, but that might not be good for him. If you are in doubt at all, don’t feed the questionable food to your dog. Ask your vet what is ok, and if the answer to the question “Are pickles OK for dogs,” or is something else okay for dogs, is “No,” or even “I’m not sure,” don’t give it to your dog. Some foods can cause gastric distress. Others can be lethal.
Your dog will eat what you give him most of the time, because he doesn’t know any better. It is your job to know better and protect your dog from foods that could harm him.