Do Dogs Need Grains in Their Diet?

Pet owners commonly question, “do dogs need grains” in their diet. In this article we will review what is a grain, types of grains, if dogs need grain, and what food is best if you are feeding your dog a grain free food.

First, just exactly what is a grain? Per the dictionary, “a grain is defined as a hard dry seed that is small and attached to a fruit layer.” Many grains grow in crops and are harvested from producing plants. Two common categories of grains are cereals and legumes.

Depending on your location in the country and world, you may be more familiar with some grains than others. The most common grain as it pertains to dog food are the cereal grains. Types of cereal grains include maize (corn), various types of millet, sorghum, fonio, barley, oats, rice, rye, spelt, wheat, wild rice, triticale, and teff.

Other kinds of grains include buckwheat, chia, quinoa, kiwicha, lentils, chickpeas, common beans, lentils, lima beans, fava beans, soybeans, runner beans, pigeon beans, peanuts, mustards, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, flax seed, hemp, poppy seed, and lupins.

The most common grains used in dog foods are barely, buckwheat, corn, rice, oats, and quinoa.
Grains in the diets of humans are considered healthy and full of protein, vitamin E, iron, and linoleic acid. Some grains are promoted in people as being very healthy. For example, quinoa is commonly referred to as a “super food” due to its high quantities of iron, protein and fiber. However, this is not necessarily true for dogs.

Do Dogs Need Grain Free Dog Food?

There are several opinions and theories from experts as they relate to different aspects of feeding grains to dogs. They include:

  • Filler Theory – Some believe that grains are dog food fillers and are not optimal to feed for good canine health. Grains are less expensive than proteins such as beef or chicken and therefore pet food companies will manufacture dog food with large amounts of grains to keep the prices down.
  • Natural Theory – In nature, dogs do eat some grains. Access to grains stems back to when dogs hunted and killed prey to survive. Dogs would eat the meat, bones, organs, and contents of organs such as the stomach and intestine. The prey that dogs kill was commonly herbivores whose intestines and stomachs contained grains. Grains are not a majority component of a dogs diet but it was a natural part of their diet in small amounts.
  • Good Grain Theory – There are some grains that are better than others. Some grains such as quinoa are even considered a “super food” due to the high nutrient properties of protein, iron and fiber. Some grains can be good for dogs in small quantities.
  • Allergies Theory – Some experts believe that grains create allergies in dogs. On the other hand, some disagree with this theory. The reality is that grains can cause allergies but grains are not the most common cause of canine allergies. The most common food that causes allergies in dogs is beef. Other common food allergens include dairy, chicken, fish, eggs, and milk.

Do Dogs Need Grains?

Pet owners commonly ask if dogs need grains in their diet. The answer is no. Dogs do not need grains in their diet. Dogs are carnivores. Dogs require a balanced diet formulated to meet the needs of your dog’s life stage and condition. Dietary requirements for dogs can vary according to age, activity levels and medical history. Although dogs don’t need grains, whole grains can provide protein, amino acids, and vitamin E.

Many dry dog foods based on grain as the primarily ingredients including soybean, corn, or rice. Many dog foods list these grains as the first ingredient. Some better brands of dog food list meat or fish as the first listed ingredient. Higher quality dog foods generally cost more but dogs eat less of them that helps to balance out cost.

What Dog Food Should I Feed My Dog?

The most important factor when choosing dog food is to choose a food that is AAFCO approved and formulated to meet the needs of your dog. AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). It is a voluntary membership program that indicates that the dog food manufacturer has confirmed to AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. Check the dog food label to ensure the food conforms to these standards.

When choosing a food for your dog, consider nutritional needs, life stage, activity level, body condition, and underlying medical conditions. A puppy has different needs and requirements as compared to a senior dog. A working dog has different needs than a nonworking lap dog.

Grain Free Dog Food Vs. Regular Dog Food

Good nutrition is critical to good health. There are many types of dog foods on the market. There are foods formulated to meet various life stages, prescription foods, grain free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, organic, preservative free, dairy free, limited ingredient, and even foods for different breeds or sizes of dog. On top of that you have several formulations to choose from including dry kibble, canned, semi-moist, raw, and home cooked.

Why so many options? Because the pet food business is big business. It is estimated that pet food sales is over a $40 billion dollar business yearly worldwide and more a $30 billion dollar business in the United States. Wow!

Approximately 80% of the world’s pet food is produced from four companies that include Colgate-Palmolive, Mars, Nestle, and Procter & Gamble with Mars being the leader in this group. Traditional sales of pet food have been through pet stores, specialty food stores, and supermarkets and many sales are now online.

With big money comes completion and big advertising. It is impossible to open any magazine without seeing dog and cat food ads. The companies promote qualities in food that they believe will resonate with our needs and beliefs. Most recently many foods promoted are grain free foods. This leads pet owners to question the pros and cons of Grain Free Dog Food vs. Regular Dog Food.

Categories of Dog Foods

As we look at grain free dog food vs. regular dog food, it is worth considering all the different categories of dog foods. For example, foods can be classified by:

  • Life Stage Foods – There are dog food specifically formulated to meet various life stages including puppies, adults, seniors, breeding, high energy or working dogs. Different life stages require different amounts of nutrients and calories.
  • Formulations – There are many formulations of dog food. They include dry kibble, canned, semi-moist, raw, freeze dried, and home cooked.
  • Attributes – Common attributes promoted in dogs foods include foods that are grain free, gluten free, vegan or vegetarian, raw, organic, limited ingredient foods, preservative free, all natural, and many more.
  • Dog Size – Some dog food companies create foods for small, medium, and large/giant sized dog breeds. The caloric density, nutrient and protein content, and/or kibble size may vary depending on the company
  • Breed Specific – Some dog food companies produce foods precisely formulated for specific breeds such as Labrador retrievers, Pomeranians, or Chihuahua’s. The kibble size and nutritional components are specific to the breed.
  • Prescription Foods – There are dog foods created to benefit the medical needs or requirements of dogs with various diseases or conditions.

These foods are formulated to be nutritionally balanced yet provide therapeutic benefit to dogs with:

  • Kidney disease (such as Hill’s Science Diet K/D [kidney diet] or Purina Proplan NF)
  • Liver disease (such as Hill’s Science Diet L/D [liver diet])
  • Arthritis or joint problems (such as Hill’s Science Diet J/D [joint diet] or Purina Proplan JM)
  • Stomach or intestinal conditions (such as Hill’s Science Diet I/D [intestinal diet] or Purina Proplan EN)
  • Cognitive dysfunction (such as Hill’s Science Diet B/D [brain diet] or Purina Proplan NC)
  • Bladder stones (such as Hill’s Science Diet C/D, K/D, S/D, U/D etc. or Purina Proplan UR, OX, ST)
  • Heart disease (such as Hill’s Science Diet H/D [heart diet])
  • Obesity (such as Hill’s Science Diet R/D [reducing diet] or M/D [metabolic diet] Purina Proplan OM)
  • Skin allergies (such as Hill’s Science Derm Defense, Z/D or D/D [dermatology diet] or Purina Proplan HA or DRM)
  • Diabetes (such as Purina Proplan DM)
  • Dental problems (such as Hill’s Science Diet T/D [tooth diet] or Purina Proplan DH)
  • Geriatric patient (such as Hill’s Science Diet G/D [geriatric diet])
  • Special needs (such as Hill’s Science Diet A/D [anorexia diet] or Purina Proplan CN)

All of these attributes and type of foods make it complicated when choosing a dog food. On top of categories, companies add to the confusion with marketing terms such as “preservative free”, “organic”, “natural”, “food contains essential prebiotics or probiotics”, and “no artificial colors or flavors”.

Grain Free Dog Food vs. Regular Dog Food

Should you feed regular dog food or grain free dog food? The answer is that it depends on your dog. If you suspect that your dog has an allergy to grains, then a grain free food is recommended. Signs of food allergies in dogs include skin infections, ear infections, itching, dry skin, and/or digestive issues such as diarrhea. Learn more about the diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment of Food Allergy in Dogs.

Grain Free Dog Food: Should Your Dog Eat it?

There are so many dog foods on the market that pet owners commonly question, “What is the best food to feed my dog?” A quick walk down the pet food aisle provides a glimpse of adult, puppy, senior foods, prescription foods created to treat various medical conditions of dogs, foods for specific breeds or sizes of dog, gluten free, grain free, limited ingredient, organic, preservative free, vegan, and vegetarian…just to name a few. On top of that, the dog owner needs to consider various formulations such as dry kibble, canned, semi-moist, raw, frozen, and freeze-dried. So many choices can be overwhelming.

One of the recent trends in dog foods has been grain free foods and gluten free foods. As this category of foods has grown in popularity for people, pet owners apply their own food choices to their dogs making it also a popular craze in dog foods. Pet food manufacturers have identified these desired qualities and now produce hundreds of grain free dog foods.

This brings up a few points about grain free foods. Such as…do dogs need grains in their diet? Which dogs may benefit from eating a grain free food? And…how do you pick the best grain free dog food. We will cover these topics below.

What is Grain Free Dog Food?

A grain free dog food is a dog food made free of all grains. The most common grains in dog food are rice, barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, and quinoa. Many pet food manufacturers list grain as the first and thus most common ingredient in their foods that may not be ideal for many dogs.

Do Dogs Need Grains?

A question pet owners commonly ask veterinarians is “do dogs need to eat grains?”

To answer this question, let us consider how a dog has been programmed to eat in nature. In the wild, dogs would run in packs, and scavenge or hunt for a meal. Dogs are carnivores. A wild dog thrives with meat as the main food but also may ingest some berries and wild grasses. There is very little grain in their natural diets.

Some dogs can enjoy and even benefit from eating some grains in their diet. Every dog is a little different. Even dogs within different breeds and or within the same litter may have slightly different dietary needs, allergies, or intolerances.

To answer the question do dogs NEED grain… the answer is no. Their bodies don’t require grains but grains don’t cause a problem in most dogs.

Why Would A Dog Need a Grain Free Dog Food?

Some experts believe that dogs do well and can benefit from eating grains and others do not. Learn more about Do Dogs Need Grain Free Dog Food?

One reason a dog would benefit from a grain free food is because he is allergic to grains. Allergies are very common in dogs. Allergies can develop from various foods as well as to environmental things including dust mites, tree and plant pollens, insects such as fleas, and even other animals such as cats. Experts believe that only a small percentage of allergies in dogs are caused by food. The most common food allergens in dogs are beef, chicken, and dairy. Grains are not high on the list but can cause allergies in some dogs. It is also possible for dogs to have allergies to more than one food.

Symptoms of allergies in dogs can include skin infections, ear infections, scaly dry skin, and persistent itching.

Veterinarians may recommend grain free foods for dogs with signs of allergies. There are additional benefits to feeding a grain free food. For example, you generally can feed less food and dogs on grain free foods produce fewer and smaller bowel movements. Learn more about What Are the Benefits of Grain Free Dog Food?

What Is the Difference Between Gluten Free and Grain Free?

Dog owners have questions about gluten free diets due to the substantial press coverage for humans about the issues about glutens and gluten free foods.

First, let’s look at what is a gluten? Gluten is a protein that functions as glue that holds food particles together. It is common in cereal grains but also present in many other foods. It is estimated that approximately 1% of people have allergies, sensitivities or intolerance to glutens.

Gluten allergies in people is called Celiac Disease. Common symptoms of gluten intolerance or allergies in people include abdominal cramping, bloating, intestinal gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation. The three grains that cause the most gluten problems in people are wheat, barley, and rye. Learn more about Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy in Dogs and Cats.

Can Dogs Eat Eggs?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which led to a lot of press coverage. The most important foods are Grapes and Raisins and Peanut Butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other foods such as can dogs eat apples. Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Eggs?

When researching the safety and dangers of eggs for dogs, it appears eggs are very safe to feed to most dogs (see more below about the details).

Dogs often love the flavor and soft texture of eggs, and enjoy this as a healthy snack. Eggs are a good source of riboflavin, selenium, and protein. Some veterinarians recommend cooked eggs to dogs with gastrointestinal upset.

NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not bother some dogs may cause signs of illness in another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others. Overfeeding can cause gastrointestinal upset and/or obesity.

The Dangers of Eggs to Dogs

Ingestion of raw eggs, eggshells, or large amount of egg can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. Raw eggs can contain a dangerous bacteria Salmonella which can cause life-threatening infections with symptoms that include anorexia, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cooking eggs minimizes this risk.

Consistent ingestion of egg whites has been shown to cause Biotin deficiency. Biotin is a B complex vitamin that is important for many body functions including normal digestive function and skin health.

The other less common danger of eggs to dogs is the danger of choking or exposure to raw whole or cooked hard boiled eggs. Some dogs are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.

Do Dogs Need Eggs?

There is nothing in eggs that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Eggs to Dogs

The safest way to give an egg to your dog is give small amounts of a cooked egg cut into pieces. The egg can be scrambled (without butter) or hard-boiled. Do not give raw egg or eggshells.

If you decide to supplement your dog’s diet with eggs, the recommended amount is one to two small eggs per week for a medium-sized dog.

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Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which led to a lot of press coverage. The most important foods are Grapes and Raisins and Peanut Butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other foods such as can dogs eat apples. Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?

Dogs often love the crunchy texture of lettuce and can enjoy this as a healthy snack. Lettuce is 90% water and a good source of fiber, vitamin C and A.

The answer to the question, can dogs eat lettuce …the answer is yes — but it depends on the kind of lettuce. There are several different types of lettuce and some varieties should be given in moderation or given with caution. Lettuce can make a good low-calorie treat for overweight dogs.

Please note: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not bother one dog may bother another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others.

The Dangers of Lettuce to Dogs

There are many types of lettuce. The basic types are Butterhead (includes Boston and Bibb), Iceberg, Loose Leaf, and Romaine, Spinach, Kale, and Arugula.

The safest lettuce to feed your dog is romaine, iceberg, and green leaf. You can also feed spinach and kale in small quantities and should not be given routinely. Ingestion of large amounts could lead to gastrointestinal upset or bladder stones.

The other danger of dogs ingesting large pieces of lettuce is the danger of choking. Some dogs are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.

While lettuce is considered safe, there are better options to feed your dog.

Given that it’s 90 percent water, the nutritional content of lettuce is somewhat low, especially the iceberg variety. But it does contain beta-carotene (a red-orange pigment that’s converted into Vitamin A) and is a great source of fiber. Exact nutritional value varies between the different types of lettuce.

However, be aware that just because your dog can eat an occasional small piece of lettuce, that doesn’t suggest it is safe to give him your leftover salad. Salads often include additional ingredients, such as onions, garlic or even raisins, which can be toxic. However, it is generally okay to give your dog a piece of lettuce occasionally.

Do Dogs Need Lettuce

There is nothing in lettuce that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Lettuce to Dogs

The safest way to give lettuce to your dog is to give a small amount of fresh romaine, iceberg, or green leaf lettuce. Make sure the lettuce is washed thoroughly to remove pesticides, fertilizers and potential contaminants such as E. coli or listeria.

If your dog shows any sign of illness after eating lettuce, please call your veterinarian or closest veterinary emergency clinic immediately.

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Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which led to a lot of press coverage. The most important foods are Grapes and Raisins and Peanut Butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other foods such as can dogs eat apples. Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?

When researching the safety of tomatoes for dogs, there are two considerations that impact the danger. Different parts of a tomato plant, various kinds of tomatoes, and/or ripeness of tomatoes can have different levels of potentially toxic substances.

The stem and leaves of tomatoes contain Tomatine and Solanine. Tomatine and Solanine are classified as a “glycoalkaloids”. They both have natural pesticide properties that provide protection to the plants. Tomatine is primarily found in tomatoes. Solanine can be found in assorted vegetables including the potato, tomato, eggplant, and even plants such as nightshade.

Solanine and Tomatine are found highest in the leaves, stems, and in green tomatoes, but is also present in ripe red tomatoes. Ingestion of large quantities of green tomatoes or the stems and leaves can cause symptoms of toxicity.

The answer to the question, “can dogs eat tomatoes” is yes. Dogs can eat small amounts of tomatoes and some dogs enjoy tomatoes as a healthy snack. However, ingestion of large amounts of tomatoes, green tomatoes, or parts of the tomato plant can be toxic.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not cause illness in one dog may create sickness in another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods that bother some people may not affect others.

The Dangers of Tomatoes to Dogs

Ingestion of large amounts of stems, leaves or green tomatoes can be toxic. Signs of Tomatine and Solanine toxicity can include drowsiness, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, confusion, weakness, slow heart rate, and/or dilated pupils. A few small pieces of ripe clean tomato are not likely to be harmful.
Based on research about the true incidence of tomatoes, toxicity appears to be very low. However, if your dog ingested a tomato plant, green tomatoes, or large amount of tomatoes and is showing any of the symptoms listed above, please call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic.

Do Dogs Need Tomatoes?

There is nothing in tomatoes that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Tomatoes to Dogs

The safest way to give tomatoes to your dog is to offer a small amount of fresh ripe tomatoes cut into bite-sized pieces without the stem or leaves. The tomatoes should be washed carefully to remove any pesticides or fertilizers.

Can You Give Tomato Sauce to Dogs

Small amounts of pasta sauce or tomato sauce can be acceptable to give to dogs. However, some sauces contain other ingredients such as onions, chives, salt, pepper, and garlic can be more likely to cause gastrointestinal upset.

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Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which led to a lot of press coverage. The most important foods are Grapes and Raisins and Peanut Butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other foods such as can dogs eat apples. Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Apples?

When researching the safety and danger of apples for dogs, there are a couple of different considerations. First is the potential for toxicity from the stems, seeds and leaves and second is the risk of choking when eating large pieces or in some cases whole apples.

The answer to the question can dogs eat apples is yes. Dogs can eat apples. Dogs often love the crunchy texture and enjoy this as a healthy snack. Apples are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and A, and help clean plaque from a dog’s teeth and freshen breath.

However, any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What cannot bother some dogs does bother others. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother one person but not another.

The Dangers of Apples to Dogs

Ingestion of large amounts of stems, seeds and leaves of apples can be toxic. They contain a cyanide type compound and signs of toxicity include apprehension or anxiety, dilated pupils, labored or difficult breathing, hyperventilation, and shock. A few apple seeds are not likely to be harmful but it is best to cut out the core before giving to your dog.

The other danger of apples to dogs is the danger of choking. Some dogs are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.

Do Dogs Need Apples?

There is nothing in apples that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Apples to Dogs

The safest way to give an apple to your dog is give small pieces or slices of sliced apple. You can leave on the peel or peel it. The apple should be washed and cored and do not give seeds.

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Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of various human foods. When you search for information about the safety or toxicity of avocado to dogs, you get some very mixed results from it being safe to highly toxic. We will answer the question about the safety of avocado in dogs in detail in this article.

The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic, which lead to a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods are chocolate, grapes and raisins, peanut butter, and foods that contain xylitol.

Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other human foods such as “Can dogs eat Fish?” Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Fish?

The answer to can dogs eat fish is yes, they can. Fish that are good for dogs includes salmon, trout, ocean whitefish, herring, flounder, Atlantic char, and walleye. Less desirable fish options are tuna and swordfish due to the potential for higher mercury content.

Cooked fish and raw fish can be safe. Fish can be prepared plain, steamed, grilled, cooked, or raw. Basically, any fish that is good for human consumption can be fed to dogs. Any fish not safe for humans would be considered not safe for dogs.

Dogs love the soft texture, flavor and smell of fish and can enjoy it as a core ingredient in their dog food or as a healthy snack. Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

The Dangers of Fish to Dogs

When researching the safety of fish for dogs, there are four considerations that impact the danger.

1. Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset in dogs that aren’t used to fish or in fish that contains seasonings and butter. Too much oil, fat, or seasoning can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.
2. Risk of choking or esophageal foreign bodies from fish bones. This is more common in small dogs but can occur in any dog.
3. Raw fish can contain bacteria that can infect dogs (and you) such as salmonella and listeria.
4. Some dogs may be allergic to fish. Learn more about Food Allergy in Dogs.

The answer to the question, “can dogs eat fish” … is yes.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not cause illness in one dog may create sickness in another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods that bother some people may not affect others.

If your dog ingested fish and is showing symptoms such as trouble swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, not eating or lethargy, please call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic.

Do Dogs Need Fish?

There is nothing in fish that dogs require however fish is a very good source of protein and nutrients. Fish can form the basis of high-quality dog foods including several grain free dog foods. Many dog foods are formulated with fish as a primary ingredient and are commonly recommended for dogs that have allergies to chicken or beef.

Learn more about the nutritional needs of dogs. Go to Nutrition in Dogs.

Can You Give Fish Oil To Your Dog?

Yes, you can give fish oil to dogs. In fact, it is a healthy way to supplement omega 3 fatty acids that can be great for skin health. A commonly used omega 3 supplement in dogs is called Derm Caps.

The Safest Way to Give Fish to Dogs

The safest way to give fish to your dog is to offer a small amount of unseasoned or lightly seasoned deboned cooked fish. If you choose a canned fish such as sardines, the healthiest option is to get it packed in water.

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Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of various human foods. When you search for information about the safety or toxicity of avocado to dogs, you get some very mixed results from it being safe to highly toxic. We will answer the question about the safety of avocado in dogs in detail in this article.

The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic, which lead to a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods are chocolate, grapes and raisins, peanut butter, and foods that contain xylitol.

Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other human foods such as “Can dogs eat Avocado?” Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

Avocado is a tree originating from Central America that produces a fruit, also known as the avocado. The fruit is pear-shaped with green leathery rough skin that contains a large round stone. When ripe, the fruit located between the skin and the seed is soft and beige to light green in color. Avocado is now cultivated in many locations due to its popularity in human foods such as guacamole and salads. The avocado is known by the scientific name Persea Americana or the common name Alligator Pear.

The answer to the question, can dogs eat avocado – is yes. Dogs can eat avocado and often love the soft texture and enjoy it as a healthy snack. Avocado is low in carbohydrates, high in antioxidants, and a good source of potassium, magnesium calcium and vitamins A, E and C.

The Dangers of Avocado to Dogs

When researching the safety and danger of Avocado for dogs, there are some considerations.

  • First is the potential for blockage from the large seed and skin. Dogs in warm areas where trees grow have exposure to the whole fruit can develop gastrointestinal upset and potential blockage. The same is true for dogs that have exposure to the trash and eat the skin or seeds. The avocado skin is not very digestible and can cause intestinal blockage.
  • The second is the risk of choking when eating the seed or skin. It is recommended to place all seeds and skins in a covered trash can inaccessible to your dog.
  • Thirdly, much of the controversy about the safety of feeding avocado to dogs is based on the toxic known as persin that is in the avocado. It is primarily in the skin and pit of the avocado but is also in the leaves and bark from the tree. Ingestion of leaves, pits, skin or bark have the potential to cause toxicity in dogs. However, based on information from the animal poison control centers, it appears there is little effect on dogs and cats. Possible toxic side effects after large ingestions may include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and stomach pain. This toxin primarily affects horses and cattle causing respiratory distress, heart failure, and swelling (edema).

Although the avocado fruit is considered safe, large amounts of any fruit is not a natural part of a dog’s diet and can cause gastrointestinal upset. What does not bother some dogs may bother another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother one person but not another.

Do Dogs Need Avocado?

There is nothing in avocado that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Avocado to Dogs

The safest way to give avocado to your dog is to offer small pieces of sliced avocado without the skin and seed.

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Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of various human foods. When you search for information about the safety or toxicity of avocado to dogs, you get some very mixed results from it being safe to highly toxic. We will answer the question about the safety of avocado in dogs in detail in this article.

The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic, which lead to a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods are chocolate, grapes and raisins, peanut butter, and foods that contain xylitol.

Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other human foods such as “Can dogs eat Popcorn?” Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

Popcorn is a cereal grain that is a variety of corn (maize). When heated the kernel of popcorn expands, puffs up and “pops”. Popcorn consists of three parts that includes the endosperm, germ and the pericarp (also known as hull). The scientific name of popcorn is Zea mays everta which is grown all over the world.

Popcorn can be cooked in the microwave or by other exposure to heat. When heated to approximately 400 °F, the moisture inside the kernel expands, pressure builds up, and the kernel bursts. The result is a fluffy bumpy piece of popped corn that is commonly 5 to 30 times the original size of the kernel.

Popcorn is a complex carbohydrate and generally low in calories unless it is smothered in sugar, syrup, or butter. Dogs often love the crunchy texture of popcorn and can enjoy this as a healthy snack in small amounts. Popped popcorn can be a good source of fiber, trace of vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, and manganese.

The answer to the question, can dogs eat popcorn … is yes, but it is recommended only in small amounts. Small amounts of air popped popcorn can make a good low-calorie treat for overweight dogs.

Please note: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not bother one dog may bother another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others.

The Dangers of Popcorn to Dogs

When researching the safety of popcorn for dogs, there are some considerations that impact the danger.

1. Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset in dogs that aren’t used to popcorn or popcorn that contains seasonings and butter. Too much oil, fat, seasoning, and/or sugar can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.
2. Risk of choking, or kernels or hauls getting stuck in the teeth.
3. A small percentage of dogs have food allergies that include an allergy to grains.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not cause illness in one dog may create sickness in another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods that bother some people may not affect others.

If your dog ingested popcorn and is showing symptoms such as trouble swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, not eating or lethargy, please call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic.

Do Dogs Need Popcorn

There is nothing in popcorn that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about what dogs require in their diet with this article: Nutrition in Dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Caramel Popcorn?

Dogs can eat caramel popcorn but there is nothing in it that they need. The fat and sugar can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Popcorn to Dogs

The safest way to give popcorn to your dog is to give a small amount of fresh air popped unseasoned popcorn. Avoid popcorn with lots of butter, seasonings, syrups, cheese, or mixed with cheese, chocolate, peanuts, or almonds.

If your dog shows any sign of illness after eating popcorn, please call your veterinarian or closest veterinary emergency clinic immediately.

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