|The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
I’ve recently adopted a dog. He’s been a great companion for me as I’ve been sheltering at home alone during the coronavirus pandemic. As this is my first time as a dog owner, I’ve given my dog bites of food from my meals in addition to his own dog food. Is that OK?
Congratulations on becoming a new dog parent! Many people such as yourself have become new dog owners in recent weeks as people continue to abide by stay-at-home orders and have sought companionship by welcoming new pets into their homes.
In fact, animal rescue centers and shelters nationwide have reported a spike in adoptions and foster applications since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including for example, the Franklin County Dog Shelter, which has reported an increase in pet adoptions, according to published reports.
However, it’s important to understand that in some cases, no, it’s not a good idea to feed your dog some foods that come from your dinner table.
Your question is similar to a question addressed in a 2017 Chow Line, which referenced a U.S. Food and Drug Administration notice advising pet owners not to feed their dog some foods that are meant for human consumption. That’s because some foods people eat can be dangerous or even deadly for dogs, the FDA says.
Even though dogs are omnivores and can eat meat- and plant-based products, an animal’s body processes food much differently than a human’s body, the FDA says.
High on the list of human foods that dogs should not eat? Chocolate and any food that contains xylitol, which is a sugar substitute that is used in many sugar-free foods.
Chocolate contains methylxanthines, a stimulant that can stop a dog’s metabolic process. Even a small piece of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can result in your dog developing diarrhea and vomiting. And xylitol, which can also be found in some peanut butters, can be deadly for dogs, the FDA warns.
Here are some other human foods that the FDA, the American Kennel Club, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say to avoid feeding to your dog:
While your dog might look longingly at you while you eat, you might want to resist the temptation to share your goodies until you are sure that the foods you are eating won’t have a negative impact on your pet.
Talk to your veterinarian before introducing human foods to your dog to make sure that your good intentions don’t accidentally cause harm for your pet.
Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or firstname.lastname@example.org.