Food & Drink

11 Foods You Absolutely Can and Cannot Feed Your Dog

Published On 11/24/2015 Published On 11/24/2015

As a responsible dog owner, you've likely heard how chocolate and canines don't mix -- and if you haven't, well, now you have. But the story doesn't end there: what about grapes, ice cream, onions, and every other food under the sun?

To get to the bottom of this, we asked Dr. James St. Clair of TopDogHealth to help us compile a handy primer on 11 human foods, explaining which ones your pup can stomach, and which ones can lead to some serious trouble.

Flickr/nchenga nchenga

Can Bowser eat avocado?

Yes, actually! While persin (a chemical found throughout the avocado) is deadly poisonous for many different animals, dogs aren't affected. However, the ASPCA does advise against letting Fido eat an entire avocado as it might result in an upset stomach, or  even worse, the pit might block up their gastrointestinal tract.

Flickr/Hannah Becker

What about grapes?

Don't even think about it. While some dogs can ingest these little fruity orbs without incident, grapes have recently been linked (along with raisins) to increased risk of kidney failure, which can lead to long-term kidney disease or even death.

Flickr/Eric Bartholomew

What if he steals my baguette?

Baked bread is fair game, but a word of warning: the yeast in raw bread dough will expand in your pup's stomach, and the fermentation can result in ethanol toxicosis up to two hours after ingestion.

Flickr/L.C. Nøttaasen

Can I share my tub of Ben & Jerry's?

Don't do it. Like many of us humans, dogs have serious problems digesting lactose -- a sugar found in ice cream, milk, and every other dairy product you've got in your house. Also, why would you ever share your tub of Ben & Jerry's?

Flickr/highboom

What if Gizmo gets ahold of some onions/garlic?

Bad news! This is actually a twofer: onions and garlic both belong to the same veggie family, and the organosulfoxides contained within them can damage your dog's red blood cells.

Flickr/Dmitri Bender

OK, how about a refreshing watermelon?

Yes, with a few caveats: while the fleshy part of the watermelon is fair game, consuming the seeds or the rind can lead to intestinal blockage.

Flickr/Miss Chien

Can they eat apples?

Sure! Apples are actually a great source of antioxidants and fiber for dogs -- provided you don't let them eat the core, which can pose a choking hazard. Even worse, the cyanide present in the seeds can build up over time to cause some problems down the road. Just cut the apple into slices, and you're good to go!

Flickr/Steve Guttman

What about corn on the cob?

No! While your dog'll happily nosh on sweet corn by itself, the main hazard comes when they get ahold of the cob itself -- according to Dr. St. Clair, this tempting chew toy can pose an even greater choking risk than apple cores.

Flickr/Four Brewers

Can we share my alcohol?

No, this heavenly elixir isn't a food, but dogs are far more sensitive to ethanol toxicity than humans are, so you should 100% NOT be giving it to them. It's not just cruel, it's also a waste of good booze.

Flickr/Jessica Merz

Maybe just some macadamia nuts?

Not a chance. While these little things probably won't send your dog to heaven, they can induce extreme lethargy, tremors, and other decidedly uncool symptoms -- literally uncool, as in increased body temperature is one of the symptoms.

Flickr/Mattysflicks

OK, fine. Can I feed my dog chocolate?

We already told you this stuff's a no-go, but here's the reason why: the caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate -- particularly darker varieties -- can wreak havoc on your hound's central nervous system, causing vomiting, restlessness, and diarrhea.

Final note: the degree to which your dog is affected by these foods will vary by its size, breed, and amount they consume. Don't let that stop you from commenting about how your shih tzu's eaten raw onions every day for 12 years and has never looked healthier, though.

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Gianni Jaccoma is an editor for Thrillist, and he regularly eats enough chocolate to kill a Great Dane/several lesser Danes. Follow his theobrominized tweets @gjaccoma.

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