Learning about dog nutrition as part of wellness protection can come with many questions. As a dog owner, you may ask yourself, Can dogs eat almonds? Or, Is it okay if my dog eats some of my fruit? These questions are essential as not all foods are suitable for dogs—even if those puppy eyes would like you to believe otherwise.

Below, we'll look at pet parents' top food-related questions so you can feed your dogs confidently.

Understanding dog nutrition: What they can and can't eat

Pet parents share their hearts, homes, and sometimes meals with their furry friends. However, unlike humans, dogs metabolize foods differently. Over the years, they adapted to eating certain items that we do, but it doesn't mean all human nourishment is good for them. So, what’s the best nutritional diet for a dog?

Dogs are omnivores. Their dietary requirements evolved their tooth structure and intestinal tract so they could eat a combination of plant and meat-based foods. Like humans, dogs need a well-balanced diet as part of wellness protection. Their diet should include water, minerals, vitamins, certain amino acids, and essential fatty acids.

Yet, your dog should only eat specific amounts of various nutrients depending on their breed and lifestyle. A dog's digestive system is quite sensitive. And eating too many fats, proteins, or carbohydrates can be dangerous. That's why certain foods aren't recommended for dogs (e.g., chocolate). These sources contain ingredients that, when ingested, can cause canine digestive issues and severe health complications.

If you're a first-time dog owner, be cautious. Before you put your pooch on a strict raw dog food diet, educate yourself on what dogs can and can't eat. This is the best way to keep them healthy while also allowing them to share some treats with you.

Everyone knows dogs shouldn't eat chocolate, but what about other foods? We searched for pet parents' most pressing questions when feeding their dogs.

Can dogs eat almonds?

Almonds and other nuts are a great source of healthy oils and fats for humans. However, they aren't a good snack choice for your dog. Dogs can't easily digest almonds due to their high-fat content. If consumed, your dog will experience gastric intestinal distress, which can appear as:

  • gas;
  • loss of appetite;
  • vomiting;
  • diarrhea;
  • fatigue.

In severe cases, your dog may develop pancreatitis and need immediate veterinarian attention. Almonds also pose a risk of choking, especially in smaller breeds. These nuts can get lodged in your dog's windpipe or intestines. Your pup may require surgery to clear these obstructions.

Can dogs eat avocados?

No. Avocados should never be part of your dog's meals. This fruit contains a toxin called persin. While safe for humans to eat, they're poisonous for your dog. This toxin is in each part of the avocado, including the pit. Persin causes fluid build-up in your dog's lungs and chest, leading to breathing difficulties and oxygen deprivation.

Can dogs eat strawberries?

When given in moderation, strawberries are good for dogs. These fruits are high in fiber and vitamin C. They’re also known for having an enzyme that improves a dog's dental health by whitening their teeth. However, strawberries contain sugar, so it's important not to give them too many at once. Instead, small handfuls now and then are recommended.

Can dogs eat watermelon?

Yes, your pooch can eat watermelon. This fruit contains essential vitamins, including vitamins A, B-6, and C. Since watermelon's composition is mostly water, it's a great way to keep your dog hydrated during the summer. However, the only part of a watermelon safe for dogs is its flesh. If your dog eats the rind or seeds, it could cause a blockage in their intestines.

Can dogs eat carrots?

Carrots are an ingredient in many dog foods—for a good reason. This vegetable is high in fiber and a pigment called beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A. Like strawberries, carrots are great for your dog's teeth and help keep them healthy while crunching. It's safe to give your dog both raw and cooked carrots. However, make sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces to prevent choking.

Can dogs eat cucumbers?

Cucumbers are safe for your canine friends to eat. They're great for boosting your dog's energy levels and are often recommended for slightly overweight dogs. These vegetables contain plenty of nutrients and vitamins, including vitamin K, C, B1, magnesium, and biotin.

Can dogs eat candy?

Absolutely not. Most candy and baked goods contain a sugar substitute called xylitol. When consumed by animals, it can have devastating effects and lead to serious complications, including liver damage. Xylitol impacts your dog's blood sugar levels. When consumed, it causes blood sugar levels to drop, resulting in muscle weakness and seizures.

If your dog eats any food items containing xylitol, bring them to their vet immediately. As side effects may not show up for up to twenty-four hours, your pet may need to be hospitalized and kept under supervision.

Can dogs eat chicken bones?

When it comes to dog wellness protection, chicken bones are not advisable. While you may think dogs have been eating bones for thousands of years, cooked chicken bones can be especially dangerous as they can easily break and splinter. If this happens when your dog is eating, it can cause a blockage in their throat or a gastrointestinal tract puncture. This can be fatal or require emergency surgery.  

If your dog manages to eat chicken bones, stay calm. Panicking might cause your dog to become confused and stress levels to rise. Instead, call your veterinarian to figure out the best course of action. Thankfully, dog insurance with wellness plans cover emergency vet visits.

Can dogs eat cat food?

Has your pooch been helping itself to your cat's dinner? If so, you might want to stop this bad habit. A cat's nutritional requirements are much different from dogs. For this reason, cat food is richer and contains more protein. This increased volume of protein can be too much on your dog's digestive system, especially if they have a sensitive stomach.

If your dog eats cat food once or twice, it isn't something to worry about. However, if it continues long-term, then you might have problems. Dogs with complications from eating cat food often experience abdominal pain, fatigue, weakness, vomiting, and fever.

Keep your dog healthy with Wagmo wellness protection

At Wagmo, we take wellness protection seriously. Our dog insurance with wellness plans are designed to keep your canine friend in tip-top shape. So, if they do happen to eat something they shouldn't, you can bring your dog to the vet, and we'll cover the fee. For as little as $20 per month, your dog will have access to a team of experienced veterinarians that provide routine care services.

For more information about how Wagmo can help you become a better pet parent, visit our website or take our pet wellness quiz to find a plan that works for you.