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What dogs can and can't eat: FAQs

Dogs may try and eat pretty much anything, from cat food to cakes, and as a dog owner you've probably wondered more than once what foods are poisonous to dogs.

But just because they can this doesn't mean they should. In fact, some foods could seriously harm your dog and if they eat them they could become ill. This means a trip to the vets, and a claim on your pet insurance. To avoid the extra stress, and cost, here we're taken a look at what your dog needs to avoid.

Dog enjoying apple 

Can dogs eat apples?

Yes, dogs can eat fresh, coreless apples in moderation as a healthy treat but no more than 1 or 2 slices.

They're a good source of fibre, carbohydrates, and vitamins A and C. They're also a fantastic low-protein food. While dogs typically require a high-protein diet, a vet may advise you to switch to low-protein dog foods if your dog suffers from liver or kidney problems.

Before feeding apples to your dog, it's vital that you core them. Apple seeds contain cyanide, so your dog may fall ill if they eat them.


Can dogs eat bananas?

Yes, dogs can eat fresh bananas in moderation as a healthy treat. Just as with apples, a couple of slices is the maximum recommended serving size.

They’re a nutritious, energy-boosting snack that are also super-tasty for dogs. They’re packed with potassium, fibre and carbohydrates.

However, they’re also quite high in sugar, so it may be best to incorporate bits of it in other food rather than give them a whole banana.

A word of warning on banana peels: while they’re not toxic, it’s a good idea to bin them. As they’ve got a high fibre content, banana peels are difficult for dogs to digest. If your dog eats one, it could lead to a case of the runs or even vomiting.


Can dogs eat strawberries?

Yes, dogs can eat fresh strawberries in moderation as a healthy treat. The recommended serving size is a couple of cut up strawberries. Bursting with antioxidants and vitamin C, they're one of the best fruits you can offer your dog.

Be sure to remove the leaves, though, as they can cause an upset stomach if ingested. Avoid giving them canned or dried strawberries, as they're far too high in sugar.


What other fruits can dogs eat?

Dogs can safely eat lots of other fruits too including:

  • Coreless pears
  • Blackberries
  • Watermelon
  • Kiwis
  • Fresh and dried cranberries

There are also quite a few stone fruits, such as apricots and peaches, that dogs can eat. Make sure they’re fresh, not canned, and that you remove the stones first.

Even if fruits are dog-friendly, you should only ever give them to your dog in moderation as a treat.

Make sure you look into a particular fruit and the recommended serving before handing it over to your dog.

If you’re still unsure whether a particular fruit is safe to serve your dog or not, it’s always a wise idea to consult your vet.

Puppy owners and people who have dogs with pre-existing conditions should always check with their vet, as certain fruits could throw off their nutritional balance.


Can dogs eat eggs?

Yes, dogs can eat eggs – as long as they're cooked. Eggs are a great source of protein, amino acids and fatty acids, and they also boast solid levels of fat-soluble vitamins. But you should never give your dog raw or undercooked eggs.

If you do, you may unwittingly expose your dog to salmonella. Another danger is that regular feeding of raw egg (particularly egg whites) may lead to biotin deficiency.

Needless to say, both salmonella and biotin deficiency can lead to a whole host of serious health problems.


Why do dogs eat grass?

If you catch your dog eating grass, don’t worry. Dogs often do it. There are several theories why they do, such as:

  • Improving digestion
  • Treating intestinal worms
  • Getting nutrition they’re not getting elsewhere, such as fibre
  • Enjoying the taste and texture
  • Wanting to vomit when they’re unwell, because vomiting helps them feel better

In most cases, your dog occasionally eating grass isn’t too much of a cause for concern. If you suspect it’s related to their diet, you may need to modify it a little. Or, if you think it’s boredom-related, find some new ways to engage them.

If they’re getting sick from eating grass and there doesn’t seem to be a solution to the problem, make sure you talk to your vet.

One final point. Your dog could get seriously ill if the grass they eat has been treated, so be sure to keep a careful eye on them if they’ve taken an interest in eating grass.


Can you give dogs paracetamol?

You should never give dogs paracetamol under any circumstances. Paracetamol can be poisonous to canines, particularly in high doses. After all, it's a pain relief drug that is designed for humans, not for dogs.

If your dog is suffering from pain, you should take them to the vet. They're able to prescribe pain relief that’s designed to be safe for dogs.


What foods are toxic to dogs?

We’ve already touched on a handful of foods dogs should steer clear of eating. There are also foods that are toxic to dogs and potentially extremely harmful. If your dog has eaten any of these, you need to contact your vet immediately.

There is a long list but the following are all included:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions, garlic and chives
  • Corn on the cob
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocado
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Cooked bones
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Lemon or lime
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Coffee and tea

That's why it's important to read up on the many other foods you should avoid giving your dog.


Can an adult dog eat puppy food?

Puppy food should be safe to eat for any dog, however it's specifically designed for young dogs. It may not have the nutritional benefits needed for an adult dog. Therefore you should always feed your dog pet food appropriate to its age.


What happens if my dog eats cat food?

Cat food isn't toxic to dogs but it's also not meant for them. It is made for cats and the ingredients have been put together to be eaten by a cat. If your dog eats cat food by accident, keep a close eye on them afterwards. If they become ill, contact your vet.


Can dogs eat Weetabix?

Dogs can eat Weetabix but it's not something that's recommended. Weetabix is a healthy cereal choice for humans, and while it's not toxic to dogs, it's not meant for them. If a dog has a grain intolerance it may become ill if it eats the cereal. As with any human foods, if your dog is unwell after eating something, contact your vet for advice.


Can dogs eat black pudding?

Black pudding is partially cooked when it's made and therefore it should be safe for dogs to eat. Yet, this depends on how it is made and the ingredients inside. It's not a food designed for dogs but if there's nothing harmful in the ingredient list your dog shouldn't suffer from eating it.


Can dogs eat marmite?

Marmite is considered to be safe for dogs to eat. However, they can't have an entire jar - it has a high salt content so you need to limit the amount they are eating. It may be an occasional treat but you shouldn't give your dog anything more than around half a teaspoon.


Can dogs eat chorizo?

Dogs shouldn't eat chorizo for several reasons. It's not usually cooked, to start, and it can be made with ingredients that are harmful to dogs. It also has a high fat and salt content which can lead to long-term health problems for your dog.


Can dogs eat courgette?

Courgette isn't toxic to dogs and it may be something you're considering giving your dog. Vegan diets for dogs have become more popular in recent years and if you're planning this courgette may be on the menu. However, it's important your dog is getting all the nutrients it needs to remain healthy so always check with your vet before going down this route.


Can dogs eat sausage rolls?

Sausage rolls may be a tasty treat for dogs and they aren't toxic to them. However, this depends on what's in the sausage roll so you need to check the ingredients list. Sausages are also high in salt and fat so they're not something to be given to a dog regularly.


Does pet insurance cover prescription food?

If your dog has been given a specific diet to follow, you may need to buy prescription food. This can be expensive yet some insurers may cover these costs - or a proportion of them. This depends on the insurer, the pet insurance policy you have, and also the condition.

You need to check with your insurer to make sure. Most insurers don't cover pre-existing conditions, unless you have a lifetime policy in place when the condition was diagnosed.

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