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You will probably see some articles I’ve written stating that I don’t give my dogs any human food. Period. And yes, it’s true that is how I used to feel about letting my dogs eat human foods. There were some very good reasons for that…
Once a dog becomes familiar with people food they will (almost always):
- Start begging for them — whenever they smell foods they’re already familiar with.
- Start to prefer them over their own food — so there’s a chance you could turn your dog into a picky eater simply by giving them more human foods over time.
…UNLESS you teach your dog how to behave around human foods.
So that’s what I did. And I have since taught all of my dogs that they can have lots of human foods — but only when I dole them out. (Meaning: “If you don’t see my hand reaching out to give you some, then don’t beg me for it.”)
Here’s how I did it, and which human foods I give my dogs most often…
My Vet Talked Me Into Giving My Dogs Human Foods!
For years, I tried to steer clear of giving my dogs people food except for when they have an upset tummy or diarrhea.
The reason for that was the fact that several dog home remedies using human foods have been recommended by our vet through the years.
So for the longest time, my dogs would never get any smidgen of people food except when they were sick. And that worked fine.
Then I Started Putting Human Foods In My Dogs’ Treat Toys
So then, I lightened up a bit and occasionally doled out human foods as “treats” for my dogs on occasion — mostly in their “treat toys”.
And that has worked marvelously.
It’s fun for me and fun for them — because this results in a different “challenge” every time they get a newly stuffed Kong toy (or other treat toy) with goodies inside:
- It’s never the same game twice
- Sometimes it’s ooey and gooey inside
- And sometimes just solid food items are crammed inside there
- Sometimes I’ll introduce them to new a human food this way
- And they get more of their favorites this way too
- It’s always a surprise
Plus, the length of time that my dogs spend trying to get all the treats out varies every time — depending on what and how much I’ve stuff inside. Sometimes, they’ll spend over 1 hour trying to get the goodies out of a single Kong toy. Now, that’s a brain game if I’ve ever seen one!
Wondering what human food is good for dogs? Here is the ultimate list of people food for dogs — see the ones that are safe AND the ones that are not!
But I Do NOT Give My Dogs Human Food From The Table
The reason I have decided to steer clear of giving my dogs people food at the dinner table (or wherever else we might be eating) is because I don’t want my dogs begging any time that we are eating!
It’s a proven fact… if you happen to be eating something that your dog has tasted before and enjoyed, then they will most likely want (or expect!) some of it whenever they smell it again.
So, in order to avoid all of that, we’ve always been careful not to feed our dogs human foods from the dinner table. (This begins on Day One, the first day we bring a new dog into our home.)
As a result, my dogs do not beg for food whenever we (or anyone at our house) are eating… at the table, in the living room, outside, or anywhere else. It’s a win-win for everyone!
The bottom line is… you can keep your dogs from begging, as long as you’re consistent on what you expect them to behave like around human food.
The 25 Best Healthy Human Foods For Dog Treats
Here’s a list of my favorites — all of the safe human food for dogs that I frequently give as treats (usually outdoors, or stuffed inside their treat toys):
- Apples – Usually, I cut a whole apple into several “slices” and dole out the slices one by one over several days, or stuff them inside their treat toys.
- Bananas – They’re SO squishy and gooey, and they increase the amount of time that my dogs play with their treat toys.
- Baby Food – If it’s healthy enough for babies, then it’s healthy enough for my dog. Just be sure to stick to all-natural ingredients — so they’re not ingesting any “sneaky ingredients” that aren’t safe for dogs. (I mostly buy baby food in squeezable containers — it makes filling their treat toys even easier!)
- Broccoli – To keep the tiny green pieces from remaining on the floor, I don’t give them broccoli alone anymore — just stuffed inside their treat toys (or outside).
- Broth – Anytime we have leftover soups and stews, I use a strainer to separate the larger chunks of food (like onions!) from the broth, and then pour the broth into ice cube trays. For added texture, I usually stick one — or a few — pieces of something crunchy in each “cube” prior to freezing.
- Cantaloupe – Melons of all types are dog-friendly. Just no seeds!
- Carrots – Are raw carrots safe for dogs? By all means, yes! Raw carrots for dogs are a great, healthy snack. Carrots are the only item on this list that qualifies as a “dog chew”, in my opinion. (More on carrots in a minute!)
- Cauliflower – Anything that’s crunchy is my dog’s favorite… and cauliflower definitely qualifies!
- Celery – A close second to carrots in terms of the amount of abrasion (aka “natural teeth cleaning”) that celery provides.
- Cheerios – These little buggers add some nice crunch to an otherwise boring mishmash of ingredients.
- Cheese – Anytime a block of cheese gets hard on one side (after storing it for awhile in the fridge), I slice off the hard part, break it up into small pieces and give it to my dog as a treat.
- Cottage Cheese – The texture is great for dog treat toys! It’s got some “bulk” to it, plus a lot of “gooeyness” at the same time!
- Cream Cheese – Sometimes, I’ll smear a little bit inside the dogs’ treat toys first before filling them with other times. Other times, I’ll smear a crunchy food (like carrots) with cream cheese — so my dogs get to enjoy licking and crunching. Usually, I put a big dollop on my finger and smear that down the bristly sides of a chew toy with nubs — like the Bristly Dog Dental Stick.
- Cucumbers – Sometimes I give them whole slices. Other times I dice them up.
- Eggs – Aside from being good for your dog when they have diarrhea, eggs (without flavorings) are great inside treat toys.
- Honey – Talk about ooey gooey goodness! There’s nothing like the sweetness that comes from a little bit of honey smeared along the insides of the dogs’ treat toys.
- Meat scraps – Anything we have leftover from our meals, I trim off the fat and keep it in the refrigerator until the next time I fill up their treat toys.
- Pasta – Anytime we have leftover cooked pasta… into the treat toys it goes! Pasta noodles are a wonderful bulky item to take up space, while making it easy to cram other treats inside!
- Peanut Butter – It’s a quick & easy filler for the dogs’ Kongs and keeps other goodies from falling out. Plus, it can be smeared on Licki Mats, dog bones, and other treat toys for longer play time.
- Peanuts – There’s nothing like watching your dog try to crack into a shelled peanut to get to the tiny nut itself!
- Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes – Whenever we have some non-flavored potatoes leftover, I save them for my dogs’ treat toys. The “mush” factor is great!
- Pumpkin – Just be sure to use all-natural canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling! As for eating pieces of a whole pumpkin… yes, the pulp inside is safe for dogs. (Do not let your dog eat the shell of a pumpkin, the pumpkin stem, pumpkin seeds, or pumpkin leaves!)
- Rice – If there’s leftover rice, the dogs get it!
- Watermelon – Giving your dogs watermelon is a practical way to use all the pieces you cut too close to the rind — that will taste a tad bitter. I also freeze leftover watermelon pieces and give them to my dogs to enjoy outside in the summertime. (Dog’s shouldn’t eat the watermelon rind itself.)
- Yogurt – As long as it’s plain, low-fat, unflavored, and unsweetened yogurt… then it’s safe for dogs.
Since we are super careful to never give any of these items to our dogs when we are eating, our dogs don’t ever beg for them — if they happen to see us eating them. They know with 100% certainty that they will never be given any food items at the dinner table (or anywhere else that we might be eating). Yes, this is even true for cooked steak!
But, the moment I reach for their treat toys and start stuffing… then they know these tasty (and healthy!) treats are fair game. And, while they’re excited for the treat that they’re about to receive, they have also learned that they must sit quietly and “wait” while I prepare it for them.
I guess you could say that my dogs have learned to simply appreciate the random occasions that they get to enjoy people food as treats.
TIP: I typically only give these items to my dogs when I find them on sale as I’m shopping OR when they’re leftover from our own meals. That way, I’m not spending a lot of extra money.
Carrots Are The Best Human Food For Dog Chews
When it comes to human foods that will give your dog something to “chew” on for several minutes — and really work those teeth and gums…
Raw carrots are great as healthy, all-natural dog treats! Plus, they last long enough to be considered “dog chews” in my opinion.
When given a whole carrot, my dogs tend to slowly gnaw away at it primarily using their front teeth (the way we humans eat an ear of corn) — so it’s a great way to get those front teeth “brushed”!
It takes less than 20 minutes for my dogs to demolish a whole carrot though.
When frozen, a full-size carrot can a little bit longer — but not much, maybe 30 minutes. In fact, when my dogs are given whole frozen carrots, they will usually bite off small chunks at a time, rather than gnaw at the carrot slowly.
The best part about carrots as dog chews is:
- They are super healthy.
- They are relatively cheap.
- They last a long time in the refrigerator (and freezer).
So I usually keep raw carrots in the fridge at all times and give one to each dog — a couple times a week — as healthy, semi long lasting dog chews! (Here are 6 clever ways to give your dog carrots.)
TIP: If you have light-colored carpet and your dog gnaws for a long time on carrots like my dogs do… make sure that your dog chews carrots only on their dog bed, on a towel, or outside — because carrot with dog drool on them will leave a light orange tint on the carpet. (A damp cloth removes the stain very easily from my light tan living room rug.)
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I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn’t think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I’ve always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I’ve been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what’s ‘normal’ and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I’m not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I’ve written over 600 articles for dog owners on this site! Many of them have upwards of 200K shares.