Superfoods: Dos and Don’ts with “Human” Foods for Dogs

The term “superfood” may have you envisioning having breakfast with Batman, or perhaps a snack with Spiderman.

But these marvelous foods are, by definition, packed with nutrients that are beneficial for better health and well-being. Not just for caped crusaders and the more average human, they pack a powerful punch for our pets as well.

Here are a few “go-to” green light items and three others to avoid and slam on the brakes completely when it comes to feeding your dog:

GREEN LIGHT: Fermented Vegetables

When thinking of fermented foods, one might imagine yogurt with live and active cultures that are packed with probiotics that offer digestive relief, but fermented vegetables are also a healthy alternative to traditional veggies. These fermented foods are a powerful detoxifier that helps break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from the body.

RED LIGHT: Avocados

The meat, skin, leaves and pit of this otherwise healthy fruit may contain a toxin called persin, most commonly found in the Guatemalan variety, that is hazardous for dogs. After consuming, some animals have been prone to respiratory distress, congestion, accumulation of fluid around the heart, and sometimes even death. Swallowing the enormous pit can lead to intestinal blockage that requires urgent, emergency medical care.

GREEN LIGHT: Coconut Oil

The many benefits of coconut oil primarily comes from MCFAs (Medium Chain Fatty Acids), and unlike saturated fats, provides many health benefits, such as:

  • A shiny, healthy coat and relief from skin irritations
  • Helps to prevent many kinds of cancer
  • Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections
  • Improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream
  • Applied topically, it promotes the healing of cuts, hot spots and dry skin

These are just a few of the many healthy reasons to add coconut oil to your dog’s diet and even apply some to their skin and coat.

RED LIGHT: Non-Caloric Sweetener

The artificial sweetener Xylitol, commonly found in sugar-free baked food products, does not affect human blood sugar—but when ingested by dogs, it can cause a dangerous, rapid drop in these levels. After consuming it, dogs may become disorientated, develop liver failure or experience seizures. Any dog who has ingested a product containing Xylitol should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


With the same benefits offered by salmon and fish oil, sardines don’t live long enough to store toxins in their body. Go for the variety that is canned in water, rather than oil, for lower fat content.

RED LIGHT: Mycotoxins in mold

Obviously you wouldn’t give your pet moldy food, but mycotoxins can be found in other places: trash, debris, fallen nuts and fruits in yards or gardens. Ensure your dog does not have access to these within their environment. Signs they have ingested mycotoxins start as mild tremors that progress into total body tremors and can lead to convulsions. Fortunately, dogs respond well to veterinary treatment for this condition.

As always, you should check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet as they could have digestive issues that could have these foods do more harm than good. It is also recommended to slowly add these new foods to your dog’s diet to prevent an upset stomach.

Meet the Author: Amber Kingsley

Amber is a young BFA graduate of a liberal arts university, who majored in art history, and is now traveling as much as possible while working as a freelance writer. She loves art, photography, and music. She also has a puppy named Charles ("Charlie") Xavier.

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