Cooking for my dogs made me more nervous when I first started down this road than cooking for my son when he was an infant. Based on everything I know now that I didn’t know back then about what foods are good—and what foods aren’t good—maybe I should have been more nervous. With my son, though, I felt pretty familiar with foods people could eat. I knew the basic signs of allergy. And when he spit something out, I took that to mean he didn’t like a particular food.
My dogs like a wide variety of foods, but just like babies, they spit out foods they don’t like. I guess that’s the first category of foods not to feed your dog. Skip the foods they tell you they won’t eat. Sometimes those aversions are caused by allergies.
Allergies can show up at any age. Signs of allergies would be an indicator of the second category of foods not to feed your dogs. According to WebMD, signs of allergies in dogs include:
- Red, moist, scabbed skin
- Itching or scratching
- Red, runny eyes
- Gassy, grumbly stomach
The third category of foods not to feed your dog are the ones that have been determined to be dangerous or toxic for dogs. These foods include:
- Apple seeds
- Artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Bones (cooked bones can cause choking and slivers can lacerate the digestive tract)
- Candy, gum, and other sugary foods
- Coffee, tea, and other products containing caffeine
- Fat trimmings
- Grapes and raisins
- Milk and other dairy products, including cheese
- Nutmeg, paprika, and pepper
- Nuts in general aren’t recommended, but especially macadamia nuts
- Onions and chives (most broth contains onion so don’t make dog stew using broth from a store unless these ingredients aren’t listed. I’ve not yet found a broth without them.
- Peaches and plums (the problem is the pits)
- Raw eggs
- Salt and salty foods like chips and salted popcorn (dogs do need some salt in their diet but not the amounts found in most snack foods)
- Yeast dough
Although many sources recommend against garlic, there are others saying garlic is safe and beneficial.
This list isn’t exhaustive, so if you’re feeding a new food to your pet, it’s best to do some research beforehand. Just like people, your pet might have a food sensitivity or allergy even to foods that are generally considered safe for pets. Pay close attention to how your pet reacts to any new food and try to introduce new foods one at a time.
Let’s face it, some of these foods aren’t particularly good for people either, but most dogs are smaller than a full-grown adult and what seems like a small amount to us has a much greater impact on the dogs’ smaller bodies. Even small amounts of many of the foods listed above can cause organ damage, seizures, anemia, and a host of other problems. Whether feeding a home-cooked diet to your pets or supplementing kibble, the foods above should be avoided.