10 Surprising Human Foods Dogs Can Eat

Throw your dog a bone, and cook these meals you both can enjoyThrow your dog a bone, and cook these meals you both can enjoyBy Brianna Steinhilber

You know how you get sick of the same foods every day? Variety can spice up a dog's life too. Plenty of people foods are safe for your pooch, and some even have healthy perks. While certain nibbles aren't suitable for all dogs, especially those with chronic conditions and allergies, the following meals and snacks work well as occasional treats. After checking with your vet, make a date with your dog over one of these 10 pet-friendly dishes. Photo by Sarah Bonk; Food styling by Corey Belle

1. Spinach Omelet

Eggs are eggs-cellent for pooches: They're a "perfect protein source," says Tina Wismer, DVM, medical director at the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. Meanwhile, the spinach offers fiber, which regulates weight, and vitamins A and K, which aid in metabolism and keep skin and coat healthy. Since anything but standard dog food should account for no more than 10% of your pet's daily caloric intake, stick to one egg (or a few egg whites) at a sitting, according to Dr. Wismer.

Related: Discover 10 healthy afternoon snacks that keep you full.

2. Yogurt and Banana Parfait


If your furry friend loves fetch, this parfait is a top-notch post-playtime snack. "Yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium, and bananas are full of electrolytes, potassium and fiber," says Jules Benson, a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and vice president of veterinary services at Petplan pet insurance. These nutrients maintain fluid balance and muscle strength, while boosting energy. Larger dogs can enjoy a 6 oz cup of plain, lowfat yogurt (Greek yogurt works too), while smaller breeds should eat no more than a 3 oz serving, says Dr. Benson.

3. Boiled Chicken and Brown Rice

The cure for an upset doggy stomach just may be this easily digestible, fiber-rich combo, says Dr. Wismer. Since poultry can cause itching and diarrhea in some dogs, though, Babette Gladstein, VMD, volunteer vet at the Humane Society of New York, suggests starting with a .5-oz serving to ensure your pet's tummy can handle it. Don't season the chicken with anything but salt and pepper (steer clear of dog hazards like onion and garlic powder, which can trigger anemia), and make sure the meat's thoroughly cooked.

4. Salmon and Green Beans

This colorful meal is chockfull of benefits. "Salmon is a good source of omega 3s and fish oil, which helps with coat and joints," says Dr. Wismer. Cook the salmon well to nix harmful bacteria, and stick to a 1-oz portion for smaller dogs (2 oz for larger dogs); too much of the rich fish can upset stomachs. As for the beans, "Green beans are great snacks for dogs looking to lose weight, as they're low in calories but high in fiber, which makes dogs feel full," says Dr. Benson. One cup provides only 30 calories and no fat.

5. Apples and Peanut Butter

Satisfy the afternoon munchies with this sweet-and-salty snack. "Apples contain pectin, which helps digestion," says Dr. Gladstein. Plus, the crunchy fruit cleans teeth and freshens breath. "They're rich in sugars, so stick to a few slices," advises Dr. Gladstein. The skins are safe to leave on, but discard the core, since the seeds can be toxic. Adding 1 to 2 tsp of peanut butter provides your pup with loads of healthy fats, protein and vitamins, says Dr. Benson. But choose an all-natural variety-the fewer added sweeteners, the better.

Related: Check out the best peanut butter brands.

6. Steak and Mashed Sweet Potatoes


This sophisticated supper has a healthy bonus. "Lean red meat is an excellent source of amino acids, which build muscle, and B vitamins, which stimulate metabolism," says Dr. Benson. Bake or boil (don't grill) 1 oz of the leanest cuts and trim any visible fat. Sweet potatoes make a nutritious side dish because they're high in fiber, vitamin C and beta carotene, which is good for puppy-dog eyes, adds Dr. Benson. Skip the butter and brown sugar; just as in humans, these high-calorie additives can lead to obesity, dental issues and diabetes.

7. Pasta with Peas and Carrots

Your pup won't be able to keep his paws off this dish-and he doesn't have to. "Plain boiled pasta is easily digestible," says Dr. Benson. Choose frozen peas and carrots over canned; the former have more of the nutritional value preserved, he adds. The veggies offer vitamin A, good for your pet's skin and coat, and B vitamins, which boost energy and metabolism. Dr. Gladstein recommends opting for gluten-free pasta to avoid triggering gluten allergies, which would cause digestive issues and lethargy. Depending on your dog's size, boil ¼ to 1 cup of dry pasta and skip sauces to avoid stomach upset. Again, leave toxic garlic and onions off the menu.

8. Fruit Salad


In the dog days of summer, a fruit salad is a refreshing way to rehydrate. Loaded with vitamin C and fiber, whole fruit is a satisfying low-calorie treat for your canine. Melons (like watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe) and berries (like blueberries, strawberries and blackberries) are safe ingredients, but avoid grapes because they can cause kidney failure. Dr. Wismer suggests layering the fruit salad over cottage cheese, a good source of protein that's easily digestible. Wash fruit well, and serve only occasionally because it's high in sugar.

Related: Try 50 surprising foods under 100 calories.

9. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies


Reward a good dog by baking a batch of cookies for dessert. Besides boasting healthy vitamins, peanut butter is also highly digestible. Meanwhile, oatmeal is packed with soluble fiber, which regulates digestion, says Dr. Benson. Simply combine raw, rolled oats (not the flavored, sweetened kind) with plain, all-natural peanut butter and bake until crisp. For a safe, chocolaty taste, add a few carob chips. But don't throw in raisins: Just like grapes, these can cause kidney failure.

10. Unsalted, Butter-Free Popcorn


Next time you plan a movie night, no hogging the popcorn! "Plain, air-popped popcorn builds bones with minerals like phosphorous, magnesium and calcium," explains Dr. Benson. Skip the salt and butter, which can lead to stomach upset, and pick out any unpopped kernels, which are choking hazards. A Labrador-size dog can enjoy a hefty 2 cup portion of plain popcorn, says Dr. Wismer.

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