Walking Doggies

A lifestyle magazine celebrating the dogs we love

summer food safety


Certain foods have become associated with summer: grilled meats like chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, chips and dips, watermelon and other fruits, ice cream and popsicles.  We generally recommend dogs not receive table scraps in order not to develop bad eating habits and to prevent gastroenteritis due to a change in a dog’s regular diet, as well as to prevent obesity. However, since our pets are a part of our family and probably will be present during our picnics and summer meals, American Kennel Club Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein breaks down the safety of some popular summer foods:

Grilled meats

  • Grilled bones of any kind should not be given to dogs, as cooked bones splinter and can cause obstruction along the gastrointestinal tract, anywhere from the mouth to the colon or rectum.
  • Don’t give fatty foods or food containing spices, onion or garlic (such as hot dogs or hamburgers that contain garlic powder, etc.). Onions and garlic are toxic to dogs.
  • Don’t give pork to dogs due to the fat content which could cause GI disturbances or lead to pancreatitis.
  • The white meat of a cooked chicken breast can be offered if all the bones are removed and if the skin has no spice present.
  • Depending on the dog, grilled beef items, such as a bite of steak, can be offered if the size is not too large (especially for smaller dogs) and if fat is trimmed.

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and should not be given in their “raw” state or even when in baked goods like cookies.
  • Don’t give corn cobs! If parts of corn cobs are ingested, they can cause a GI obstruction, often requiring expensive surgical removal.
  • Peeled pieces of bananas, oranges, apples or even watermelon can be offered, but only if all seeds and/or cores are removed before giving to a dog. Watermelon seeds can cause gastrointestinal issues and the seeds and rind of watermelon can cause gastrointestinal obstruction and should never be given to dogs.  The seeds of an apple also contain cyanide, a toxin.  The same applies to the seeds of peaches, plums, and avocados, which can not only be toxic but can also cause obstructions.

Ice Cream and Popsicles

  • Ice cream, but in moderation, can be offered but only in small amounts as some dogs are sensitive to dairy products which could cause gastrointestinal issues. If you do offer your dog ice cream make sure it is vanilla, as chocolate is toxic to dogs in high amounts.
  • Popsicles – they are fine to give if they are made from fresh fruit but read the label to make sure they do not contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs. And be aware that dogs have swallowed entire popsicle sticks, so prevent them from doing so.

Most importantly, all food should be put away and trash secured in well-closed garbage cans to prevent your dog from taking food when you aren’t looking.

Courtesy of American Kennel Club