Human Food For Dogs – Is It Safe?

January 7, 2010  
Filed under Dog Food Tips

Most dog owners form a strong bond with their pet, and take every measure to ensure that their dog feels like it is a part of the family. However, a recent topic that has been discussed among many pet care experts is if human food scraps for dogs is safe. The answer to this question isn’t a simple “yes” or “no”, since it depends on the type of food, and type of dog. However, there is some general information about human food that every dog owner should be familiar with, in order to ensure that the proper steps are taken to ensure their dog’s good health.


A common problem among dogs that are fed table scraps on a regular basis is obesity. Most humans consume a high-carbohydrate, high-sugar diet that includes many different processed ingredients. Because of this, it is estimated that approximately 45% of the pets in the United States are currently obese. Diet plays a huge role in pet obesity, since many pets have different nutritional requirements than humans do. Because of this, it’s possible that a dog that is constantly fed human food can eventually become obese.


Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas of a dog becomes inflamed to the point where it no longer functions normally. In dogs, this health condition can be dog eating human foodcaused by a one-time ingestion of a high-fat meal, or ingestion of a high-fat diet over a long period of time. Many human table scraps (chicken skin, leftover meat, bacon grease) are extremely high in fat, though some people choose to feed these foods to their dogs. It’s essential that you remember that pancreatitis is a sometimes irreversible condition, which can be caused by your dog only eating a high-fat meal once. Avoid giving your dog high—fat human foods at all costs.


In general, it is best to use common sense when feeding your dog human food. Dogs are not designed to consume a high percentage of simple carbohydrates, such as those found in white flour, white rice and pastries. In addition to this, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog any food substance that contains artificial colors, artificial flavors, chemical preservatives, steroids or artificial growth hormones. This eliminates a majority of human food, and only leaves some food substances. In addition to this, there are many human foods (garlic, onions, raisins, avocados, chocolate) that can potentially cause serious health problems in dogs.


It’s generally best to avoid feeding your dog human food on a regular basis. Because of the ingredients that can be toxic to your dog, as well as the chance of your dog developing a health condition, it’s advised that you stick to your dog’s regular diet. While it is possible to give your dog a “treat” (such as a small cube of cooked, deboned chicken or steak) every so often, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog human foods if they are being fed a commercial diet.

If you do decide to feed your dog human food, the key is to make sure that you are not over-feeding your dog, and the foods that you give them are unrefined whole foods that contain no preservatives etc.

Do you feed your dog anything other than commercial dog food?  Tell us your thoughts on feeding your dog human food…

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26 Responses to “Human Food For Dogs – Is It Safe?”
  1. Junie says:

    Most dogs get bored with their usual diet and some variety to their usual food is something nice for them to keep them happy and eating well.

  2. Susan Tschider says:

    When I grew up there was no such thing as dog food. Our family pet ate the scraps left from our meals. Of course, we raised our own chickens, vegetables and bought from local farmers. It is sad that we eat so poorly that our food is toxic for our dogs. More than likely our food is toxic for us. Natual, organic dog food is healthier than what most humans eat.

  3. Nancy says:

    I have an obese shih tzu and one of normal size. The vet told me to feed him tofu and vegetables. It’s not working and is expensive. Do you have any other ideas?

  4. Jezzri says:

    I find it logical that actual food is far more nutritious than even the highest quality kibble. I agree you must educate yourself on the nutrition requirements of your pet, but that doesn’t negate the benefits of actual food. It says here on this very site that you can’t trust or know what terms like “Chicken By product” actually mean in kibble ingredients. I so prefer advice based on reason and sensibility not on fear or habit. If a food company or doctor told you that your 2-5 year old only needed one very processed food all the time and variety is unnecessary even harmful to your child, you would laugh in their face and find a new doctor. Does the same sensibility not apply to your dog?

  5. Jerry says:

    You people are obviously being :paid off:” by the pet food industry to write this bullshit.Its a big lie to not tell the truth about the shit the pet food industry puts into their food..Jerry

  6. claude carpentieri says:

    It is true that dogs get bored of their food and appreciate variety (can you blame them…) but watch out as giving them sauces and oily/elaborate stuff can do more harm than good. Difficult to gauge as you do it, given that it may look like you’re doing them a favour, but really…just don’t! Remember their digestive system isn’t the same as a human’s.

  7. Lindsay A says:

    I generally don’t give my dog table scraps, I just don’t want to deal with what could happen if they have a bad reaction to something. Believe me, once it happens once and you have to clean up some bad diarrhea, you don’t want to do it again! Once in awhile I may give them a little tiny piece of raw carrot or a tiny piece of my banana, but generally I stick to a healthy dog food with a lot of omegas, antioxidants, and great ingredients. We do grain-free Alpha (natural balance) on our dogs, which is another reason I don’t give them people-food, since gluten is in everything these days and I can be sure this food is holistic and safe.

  8. J J says:

    Hi, is anybody feeding a dog with gall bladder issues? I am and I would like a few tips on what to feed, raw, cooked, bagged kibble, what works best, supplements, etc. Thnks.

  9. Jerry Pardue says:

    I can’t believe you would take up print inches talking about high carbohydrate levels in rice which are only 42% of the carbohydrate level of corn. The combination of high carbohydrate levels like the 2200 carbohydrate levels per pound in corn combined with the high protein levels makes dogs grow entirely too fast and this causes later problems like hip dysplasia and arthritis. These dogs grow to adulthood long before their skeletal system matures. It is not corn per se, it is high carb formulations that are destroying our precious dogs. Yes, they grow faster but, not with an adequate skeletal system.

  10. In the know, says:

    Jerry you are partially correct, but carbs are not as big an issue as calcium, during the high growth period. Having had 9 German Shepherds threw my life, both hip dysplasia and arthritis are breeding traits and dogs well get both no matter what you feed, just like humans.

    Table scraps are fine in moderation as long as the spice levels are on the very low levels. It’s the spices the bring the nasty issues.

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Should you have a concern regarding the diet of your dog, you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is the opinion of the author, and is presented solely for informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving professional veterinary care for your dog(s).
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