The Ultimate Guide to Safe & Unsafe Produce for Dogs
November 13, 2018
Cooking for your family can be a lot of work! You have to pick out your recipes, check your ingredients list and make sure you have all the necessary tools to perfect your meal. Meanwhile, you want to prepare something that is both tasty as well as nutritious. Adding fruits and vegetables is the best way to support a healthy family. As you stroll through the produce aisle in the grocery store, you also may be tempted to grab some of your produce as a snack for your four-legged family member, your dog. Before you do, make sure to check our list of fruits and vegetables to see if they are pup-approved or human only.
Together with the Pet Poison Helpline, we’ve created a detailed list of safe and unsafe produce so you can feel confident giving your dog an extra treat. As always, don’t overdo it on these special treats as moderation is the key!
Melons – Such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew melon are great choices for your pup because they contain a lot of water and help keep dogs hydrated.
Berries – Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries are pup approved so adding a few into their bowl is a great way to switch up their mealtime routine.
Bananas – Bananas can be a fun thing to incorporate into your dog’s diet. You can mash some up with their food, freeze little slices to give your dog as a snack, or even stuff them in Kong toys and then freeze them. While the banana peel is not toxic for dogs, it should not be fed to them due to the chance of a blockage occurring.
Oranges and other citrus fruits – Remove the peel and your dog can safely enjoy a few bites of oranges, clementines, grapefruit, and even lemons. Just make sure to remove the seeds as best as you can.
Cut pieces of Mango – Mango is high in fiber as well as Vitamins A, B6, C and E. Of course, remove the pit before feeding mango to your dogs. A small portion of mango can be great for a dog’s snack but as with all sweet and yummy fruits, try not to overfeed.
Pieces of pineapple (skin and core removed) – Fresh, raw pineapple is fine for your pup, just stay away from the pineapple that comes in a can as the syrup in canned fruits contains too much sugar for most dogs.
Apples, Pears and Stone Fruits – Chopped pieces of apple, pear, peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, cherries (seeds and pits removed) are all a-okay.
Grapes, raisins, dried currants, sultanas (golden raisins) – Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure if ingested by dogs and should be avoided. Dried currants and sultanas are from the Vitus or grape family and are types of raisins. Black, red, and white currant berries are from the Ribes or gooseberry family and are not considered toxic to dogs. Vomiting is an early symptom of grape toxicity that usually develops within 24 hours of ingestion. Untreated, grape toxicity can progress to kidney failure, but fortunately, early treatment is usually effective at preventing kidney damage from occurring.
Avocado – Avocado is not highly toxic to dogs, but the pit can cause a GI obstruction if ingested. Avocados are also high in fat, which can cause GI to upset and possibly cause pancreatitis in some dogs. This fruit is most dangerous to birds.
Apple seeds and peach, nectarine, plum, apricot, and cherry pits – The fruit is safe, but the pits and seeds of these fruits contain toxins called cyanogenic glycosides. If large numbers of pits or seeds are chewed and ingested, rapid onset of symptoms from cyanide poisoning can occur, which may include bright red mucous membranes, nausea and vomiting, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, weakness, seizures, and difficulty breathing. Fortunately, this toxicity occurs rarely in dogs, and accidental ingestion of a few seeds or a pit by a dog is unlikely to cause toxicity. Large fruit pits can sometimes have difficulty passing through a dog’s GI tract and might cause an obstruction.
Starfruit – Grocery store or “sweet star fruit” are not considered toxic when fed in small amounts, though stomach upset might occur in some pets. Small or “sour star fruit” are NOT sold in stores but are harvested for the juice which is sold in many health food stores. The juice may be toxic, especially in animals with kidney disease or who are dehydrated. Toxicity from sour star fruit can result in vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, lethargy or agitation, seizures, and kidney damage.
Baby carrots or pieces of chopped carrot – Your dog will love chomping on a piece of carrot. This vegetable is low in calories and high in fiber so is a great choice for your dog’s snack or to use small pieces as training treats.
Green beans – Green beans contain many vitamins, such as Vitamin A, C, and K, minerals, and fiber. You can even slice the green bean up into little pieces and freeze them for your dog as a fun treat.
Cucumber – Cucumbers are a great snack for your dog especially on a hot day. Next time you are taking a walk with your dog, bring along a few slices of cucumber to give them a boost of hydration.
Zucchini – Zucchini is a very healthy choice to feed your dog as a snack.
Peas – Peas can be enjoyed by our four-legged friends.
Asparagus – Chopped up pieces of asparagus are perfectly fine to give to your dog.
Bell peppers – The red-colored bell peppers are the healthiest for dogs. This is because they have the highest levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and beta-carotene. That doesn’t mean you can’t let your dog nibble on the green, orange, or yellow ones! You can feed them raw or cooked, but do not use any seasoning.
Lima beans – Lima beans are fine for your pup!
Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower – These are fine to feed your furry friend in small amounts. Make sure not to feed your dog too much as it can produce gastric irritations in some dogs.
Radish – Radishes can be given to your dog in moderation. They actually have anti-inflammatory properties in them and are low in calories.
Lettuce, Bok Choy, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts – These leafy greens are healthy for your dog and are full of fiber and nutrients like Vitamin K and C.
Celery – Celery is fine for dogs as long as you cut them into small, chewable pieces so they aren’t too stringy for your dog’s digestion. Go ahead and take the leaves off before feeding your pup.
Pumpkin and other squashes – Pumpkin and squash can be great to give to your dog either mashed up or cubed. This can be mixed with their food or fed as a snack.
Potatoes & sweet potato fall into the same category as pumpkin!
Store bought mushrooms such as white, button, portobello, or cremini mushrooms are okay to feed occasionally!
Onion, garlic, chives, shallots, scallions, and leeks – These members of the Allium family can cause damage to a dog’s red blood cells and can lead to anemia if ingested in sufficient quantity. The occasional ingestion of a small amount of onion or garlic is not typically enough to cause toxicity to most dogs, but large ingestions should be avoided. Cats and Japanese breeds of dogs (Akita, Shiba inu, Japanese chin) are considered more sensitive.
Wild mushrooms – Store-bought mushrooms, like white button mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, or cremini mushrooms, are not dangerous to dogs, but dogs should avoid eating wild mushrooms, which can be difficult to identify accurately and can be toxic to dogs. Depending on the type of mushroom, toxicity can lead to signs including vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, seizures, and hallucinations.
Rhubarb – Rhubarb stalks are edible for dogs, but the leaves of the plant contain soluble calcium oxalates that can cause oral irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingested. Very large ingestion of rhubarb leaves by dogs potentially could also cause lowering of blood calcium levels, twitching, and damage to the kidneys, though rare.
Moldy foods and compost – Moldy fruits and vegetables and compost may contain substances called tremorgenic mycotoxins. Tremorgenic mycotoxins can cause vomiting, diarrhea, whole body tremors, and seizures when ingested by dogs.
Large amounts of unripe/green tomatoes and potatoes – Tomatoes and potatoes are in the nightshade family, and unripe or green tomatoes and potatoes contain a substance called solanine. The amount of solanine in the plant decreases as it ripens, so ripe tomatoes and potatoes are safe for dogs. Ingestion of a small amount of green tomato or green potato is unlikely to cause serious toxicity, though vomiting and diarrhea might occur. Rarely, more serious toxicity with large ingestions can result in slowed heart rate, lethargy, muscle cramping, and low blood pressure.
Some pets have allergies, food sensitivities, urinary conditions, special dietary needs, or other health conditions that may change these recommendations, and some foods can interact with certain medications. Fruits and vegetables can be fed as occasional treats or snacks but should not make up more than 10% of your pet’s diet. It is always best to discuss your pet’s diet and dietary needs with your veterinarian before making changes, especially if your pet has any health conditions or is taking medication.