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People Food: Sharing With Your Dog

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people food

You’ve probably seen items online cautioning feeding dogs “people food”  and for one of my dog walking clients this point was brought home quite graphically last week.

The dog’s guardian is elderly and lives in a senior living community.  Her husband was moved into full time care last year and it’s been quite a period of adjustment.

Her dog, Taffy, a Llasa Apso, is 12 years old and diabetic, requiring two insulin injections daily.  Taffy is also on a special veterinary diet to help keep the diabetes controlled.

There have been lifestyle changes including no more “formal” meals, and Taffy’s owner has gotten into the habit of sharing her meals with the dog.

People Food To NOT Share And Why

Taffy’s guardian is aware there is some “people food” that should not be shared, but she began sharing items like bacon strips, ham and buttered toast.

Taffy gladly gobbled up the treats, but last week treat overload had serious results.  The dog began having diarrhea, then when her guardian returned home after being gone for a few hours, she discovered Taffy had a serious bout of diarrhea combined with vomiting.

Steps To Help Dogs Recover

In learning of this when I arrived for Taffy’s afternoon walk and insulin injection, I advised her guardian not to give her any food for a bit to give her stomach a chance to settle.

Further, I suggested giving Taffy a small amount of white rice (one of the blandest food to give when dogs have an upset stomach) if she seemed hungry later.

When discussing Taffy’s condition, I advised her guardian that dogs are not able to process highly fatty foods, and too much fat in their diet may lead to pancreatitis.  With Taffy’s diabetes, she is more susceptible to pancreatitis and would take longer to recover from it.

Taffy struggled with digestive upsets for a few more days and is now back on track.  Unfortunately, it took this episode to get her guardian to understand a dog’s digestive system is not like a human’s.

People Food OK To Share

There is some “people food” that is ok to share with your dog:  Apples, bananas and baby carrots are three foods my dogs have discovered recently and love.

When introducing them to your dog, give a very small amount at first to minimize any chance of digestive upset.  Make sure there isn’t any type of sauce or spices on the food you share with your dog, since some spices/foods can be very dangerous if ingested by dogs.


I’ve heard people say they shared takeout pizza or Chinese food with their dog and I cringe.  There can be spices, or worse, onions (very dangerous for dogs) in many savory takeout dishes.  If you don’t know for sure what’s in something you’re eating, be safe and don’t share it with your dog.

Yes, we love our dogs and want to share foods we love with them, but just because your dog loves the snack you’re sharing, it doesn’t mean his tummy will love it as much!

Here are some more ideas on other people food snacks to share with your dog.