What processed foods can dogs eat?

Bread and cheese are the perfect barkuterie board duo — just skip the ham.

Safe foods (within reason)

Bread

Bread (preferably low-fat, low-sodium loaves) is generally safe for your dog to eat in moderation unless they have a wheat allergy. Never feed your dog raw dough as yeast can rise in dogs’ stomachs, causing bloating and producing high levels of ethanol, which can cause alcohol toxicosis. Stay away from bread with garlic, seeds or raisins, as they can be toxic or cause an upset stomach and health issues.
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Cheese

If your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, cheese is generally a safe snack. It’s packed with nutrients like protein (boosts energy), calcium (supports muscle and bone health) and fatty acids (promotes healthy skin and immune function). Serve cheese in moderation, as it is high in fat, which can cause weight gain, obesity and pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas). Low-fat or fat-free cheeses (like mozzarella, cottage cheese or soft, plain goat cheese) are the best pup-friendly options.
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Hamburgers

Hamburger meat that’s unseasoned and plain is generally OK for your pup to eat and a great source of protein — but it’s also high in fat. Never feed a dog seasoned hamburgers because common ingredients like garlic, onion and salt aren’t safe for them to enjoy. Avoid feeding your dog raw hamburger without your vet’s approval, as it may contain harmful bacteria, like E. coli, that can make you and your pup very sick.

Peanut Butter

Check the ingredients before sharing peanut butter with your pup. Any brand that contains xylitol (a sugar substitute) is very toxic for dogs. But, xylitol-free peanut butter is probably OK to share and can be a good source of protein, enzymes that aid in metabolism and healthy fats. Just be aware that peanut butter can be high in sodium and sugar, so you should give it to your dog in moderation.

Popcorn

Plain popcorn is low in calories and fat and packed with several nutrients. Avoid seasonings like butter and salt, as they can lead to obesity, upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas). Do not feed your dog unpopped kernels either because they can be a choking hazard and get painfully stuck in their gums and throat.
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Unsafe foods (keep out of paw’s reach)

Bacon

Although bacon isn’t toxic for your pup, it does contain cancer-linked carcinogens. Plus, it’s very fatty and high in salt, which isn’t best for your dog’s health either. If your dog gets into a large amount of bacon, they may experience vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas).

Chips

Most chips aren't toxic for pups (unless they contain garlic and onion seasoning), but it's best not to feed this bite to your dog. They're loaded with salt and fat, which can lead to obesity and pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas).

Chocolate

You should absolutely not feed your dog chocolate, as it contains theobromine and caffeine, which is very harmful to pups. Your dog could experience vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased urination, tremors, elevated or abnormal heart rate, seizures, collapse and, in the worst case, death from chocolate. If your dog consumes chocolate, contact your vet immediately or take them to the nearest veterinary emergency clinic.

Ham

If your dog sneaks some ham off the table, chances are they’ll be fine, but it’s not the best treat option. Ham is high in sodium and fat, which can cause larger health issues down the road like obesity and pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas).

Hot Dogs

Hot dogs can be very harmful to dogs, thanks to ingredients like sodium nitrate (which is linked to cancer), monosodium glutamate and artificial sweeteners. Plus, they’re often seasoned with onion and garlic (which are toxic for pups) and they’re generally high in sodium. Not to mention, they can be a choking hazard for your pup.

Ice Cream

Depending on the flavor and your dog, ice cream may be fine, but it can also be toxic. Some dogs are lactose intolerant, so it’s important to ask your vet before serving your pup ice cream. Plus, flavors like chocolate and sugar-free options (which most likely contain the toxic sugar substitute xylitol) can put your dog at serious risk. It’s best to avoid feeding your dog ice cream if possible, as the high sugar and fat content can cause obesity and other health risks.

Pizza

If your dog gets a hold of a pizza slice that doesn’t have toxic ingredients (like onions, garlic and seasonings), they’ll probably be OK — contact your vet if they do eat a toxic topping. However, it’s best to avoid serving your pup pizza, as it’s high in fat, carbs and salt and doesn’t have any nutritional benefits. The grease can lead to pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas), too.

Sausage

Plain sausage isn’t toxic for dogs — but, any brand that contains garlic and onion can be (contact your vet if you think your pup consumed toxic ingredients). All sausage is high in fat, salt and seasonings, and too much can lead to obesity, an upset stomach and pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas).

Can my dog eat: popcorn

This low-fat, low-calorie treat can be shared with pups in small portions — just as long as it’s plain and fully popped.

Note that unpopped kernels are choking hazards, can get stuck in dogs' teeth and can irritate their throat.

(Even though popcorn is generally safe for dogs, always consult your vet before introducing a new food to their diet.)

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Always consult your vet before introducing your pet to new foods.

Not all “safe” foods are good for your dog to eat as is — make sure each bite is appropriately prepared (pay attention to cooking instructions, seasonings and ingredients) before treating your pup.

If at any point your dog negatively reacts to something they’ve eaten, call your vet or poison control immediately.

Don’t rely on these foods to improve your dog’s health without your vet’s guidance.

Check out our article on handling pet emergencies for more information.