11 Summer Foods You Should Never Share With Your Dog—and 5 You Can

It's backyard barbecue season! Before you give your pooch a taste of what's cooking, be sure it's OK for dogs to eat.

Summer’s the season for hanging out by the pool or in the backyard with good company and, obviously, great food. Of course, you’re not the only one with an eye on the food—your pups are keeping an eye out for those delicious morsels, too!

Wherever there’s food, they’ll be there begging for scraps and picking up anything that’s accidentally (or intentionally) dropped on the ground. If you’re a great dog owner, make sure they don’t get their paws on anything that might harm them.  Here’s what you should look out for.

Dangerous Food for Dogs

11 Unsafe Dog Foods Graphic Ud 2.1 01Claire Krieger/Taste of Home

1. Grapes

They may seem harmless, but grapes (and raisins) are incredibly toxic to dogs—and can even be fatal. While vets don’t know what exactly causes the bad reaction, dogs can quickly experience vomiting and even kidney failure.

Luckily, all these delicious human foods are good for your dog.

2. Peaches and Plums

The actual fruit in peaches and plums is OK for dogs to eat, but if the animals get their paws on the entire thing, odds are they’ll devour it pit and all. That’s where the problem lies. The contains a form of cyanide, which is terribly poisonous to dogs and humans alike, but perhaps worse, the pit can block a dog’s throat or intestines.

3. Avocado

While a piece of avocado fruit should be fine, keep in mind that avocados contain persin, which can be toxic for dogs. It’s in the fruit, pit and skin, so keep your pups away from the guacamole. If you happen to grow avocados, keep an eye out for any dropped fruit.

4. Bones That Splinter

Just because your dog’s favorite toy is a bone, doesn’t mean all bones are safe. Baby back rib bones, T-bones and chicken bones easily splinter, and if swallowed, can be incredibly harmful. If you’re serving any of the above, make sure it’s clear to your guests that the remnants should not be given to your pup.

5. Bacon

This breakfast staple, along with other fatty foods like meat scraps, can cause pancreatitis in pups. While one nibble here or there isn’t the end of the world, don’t make it a habit. Otherwise, the dog’s pancreas can become inflamed and stop functioning. Bacon is also very high in salt, which isn’t good for dogs, either.

6. Chocolate

This should go without saying, but some people still don’t know that chocolate is extremely poisonous to man’s best friend. Depending on the dog’s size and how much chocolate he eats, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea, seizures and death.

7. Garlic

A member of the allium family (which also includes chives, onions and leeks), garlic is very toxic for our furry friends. According to the American Kennel Club, “Garlic can create anemia in dogs, causing side effects such as pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness and collapsing.”

8. Ice Cream

While ice cream is OK in moderation, dogs don’t digest dairy very well. Many are lactose-intolerant or downright allergic, and giving them ice cream (or milk) can lead to loose stools, vomiting and other symptoms. They may also react badly to sweeteners or artificial flavors.

Still want to give them a treat on a hot day? Try dog-friendly ice creams like Ben and Jerry’s Doggie Desserts or the frozen dog treats at Aldi.

9. Alcohol

If your dog licks up a few drops of your favorite IPA that splashed on the ground, there’s no need to freak. However, if they manage to lap up half your glass when you’re not looking, you should phone a vet. Alcohol has the same effect on our pups as it does us, but it takes far less to cause diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems or worse.

10. Macadamia Nuts

While peanuts are OK for our dogs to eat, macadamia nuts are actually quite poisonous for them. The nuts can affect their nervous system, causing vomiting, increased body temperature and lethargy.

11. Coffee

You should never let your dog dip into your iced coffee cup. The stimulant methylated xanthine makes a dog’s nervous system go into overdrive. Symptoms include vomiting, restlessness and heart palpitations.

Safe Food for Dogs in Summer

So what can dogs eat? Generally, lean meats, veggies (such as carrots), peanut butter and other tasty treats are healthy for our pups. If you’re looking to cool down your pup over the summer, then try these foods for dogs.

1. Frozen Berries

Pop some berries in the freezer (or buy them from the store) and let Fido crunch on them. This tasty treat is pup-safe and helps them cool down before they overheat.

2. “Nice” Cream

Bananas are safe for dogs, so blend up bananas, add some delicious extras, pop the mixture in the freezer and voila! You’ve got a safe treat. Try this Chunky Banana Cream Freeze (minus the raisins) for a start. Remember that this is a treat, so you shouldn’t be giving it to your pup too often.

3. Watermelon

Watermelon isn’t just refreshing and hydrating for humans—it can work great for your dog too. Try this Watermelon Blueberry Salad for a fresh recipe your pup will love.

4. Apples

There’s nothing quite like biting into a crunchy apple. Pair an apple slice with one of Fido’s favorites, peanut butter, for a dose of protein and vitamins.

5. Yogurt

But wait, dogs can’t eat dairy, right? Well, they can’t digest lactose very well, but like people, they tolerate yogurt better because of the reduced lactose content. Make sure you use plain yogurt with no additives, and test a small portion to make sure your pup doesn’t have any allergies. Once they approve, you can go ahead and make this Honey-Yogurt Berry Salad.

If you’re ever unsure about a food you want to share, check first. Better safe than sorry!

Homemade Treats for Your Pup
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