Cooking with Your Dog

| Mary Bays

Cooking for your dog can be a fun, healthy bonding activity! Explore this list of healthy snacks and homemade meals that are safe foods to share with dogs.


Whether you create meals from scratch or are a master of the microwave, time in the kitchen can be twice as fun if you’re doing it with your dog!

If you like to sneak leftovers to your pup, you may be feeding them less than ideal foods. Below are some healthy foods you can prepare for both you and your dog! Remember to consult with your veterinarian before feeding your dog new foods and don’t overfeed food/treats or your dog may become overweight.

Keep a close eye on your dog after you feed them a small amount of a new food for the first time to ensure they don't react negatively. If your dog doesn’t show any negative symptoms, such as an upset stomach, you can incorporate the food again.

Safe Foods for Dogs

Flavorful Fruit Bowls

If you like to eat a bowl of fruit with your meals, consider making a small bowl for your dog as well! Dogs can eat a variety of fruits as long as they are cut up into small pieces. Some fruits your dog may enjoy that require minimal preparation include bananas, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Some fruits require some preparation before your dog should eat them; remove the seeds, skin, rind, or core from apples, cantaloupes, oranges, pears, pineapples, and watermelons. Always ensure fruits are cut into bite-sized pieces for your dog before sharing!

Protein-Packed Eggs

Whether it’s for breakfast or a high-protein snack, eggs are a great choice for both you and your dog’s meals a few times a week! Eggs that have been boiled or cooked without oil, butter, or salt are safe for your dog to eat. As tempting as it may be, refrain from feeding your dog leftover scrambled eggs, since they typically contain milk and other ingredients that may not be good for your dog.

Vary Your Vegetables

Many of the vegetables that you grow in your garden and add to your meals can also be given to your dog! Green beans are a high fiber treat that are filling while still low in calories. If you like to add bell peppers to your salads, toss a few to your dog as well!

Consider choosing red bell peppers, as they are higher in antioxidants and nutrients. Broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, celery, corn, squash, and zucchini are all great treats for your pup. While these vegetables can be fed raw, steaming is a great way to cook vegetables without removing too many nutrients and can make them more enticing for dogs that are picky eaters.

Brown or White Rice

Rice is easy to make - which makes it easy to add to your dog’s diet - and a great start to any meal! Rice can be fed to help with an upset stomach or add nutrients to your pup’s diet.

White or brown rice can be used as long as there is no added oil, butter, or seasonings. Brown rice is higher in nutritional value and is often included in the recipe of your dog’s dry food already!

Be sure to regulate how much rice you feed your dog per your veterinarian’s instruction, as rice has a lot of calories and could cause weight gain.

Lean Meats

You can add lean meat to rice, toss it in a salad, or serve it alone to add some protein to both you and your dog’s diets!

Choose leaner cuts, as dogs have a difficult time digesting fatty meat, and the higher the fat content, the lower the protein. Refrain from feeding raw meat to your dog and instead, boil or cook the meat without oil, butter, or seasoning. Cut off any fat and remove bones before feeding cooked meat to your dog.

Some good choices of lean meat include cuts of beef or pork with “loin” or “round” in the name, ground beef, bison, chicken, or turkey labeled 90 percent lean or leaner, or chicken and turkey with the skin removed.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are low in fat and provide fiber, calcium, potassium, and iron. They are a great option for both humans and dogs and can be prepared in several ways. If you choose to share your sweet potatoes with your pup, remove the skin and cook the potato to help make it more digestible. You can also make sweet potato jerky treats by removing the potato’s skin, slicing the potato into ½ inch strips, and baking the strips on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 hours.  

Canned Fish

Fish is a great source of protein, omega-3 fats, and calcium for your pup. Canned tuna or salmon can be a healthy, low cost treat for your dog. You should choose canned fish that is in water, not oil, and with no added salt. Never feed your dog raw fish, as a naturally occurring enzyme in fish called thiaminase will break down the B vitamin in your dog’s food and reduce the amount of B vitamin that is absorbed.

Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkin is known for its nutritional value for dogs and people, but did you know pumpkin can also help to ease your dog’s constipation or diarrhea? Whether fresh or canned, pumpkins provide vitamins, minerals, and soluble fiber for your pup. Ensure canned pumpkin doesn’t come with additional spices, sugar, or sodium, which might make your dog sick.

Cheese (In Moderation)

A staple of many meals, cheese can be fed to most dogs in small amounts. You can use cheese as a high-value treat during training, to hide pills, or to top a dinner dish. Choose cheeses that are lower in fat and sodium, such as cottage cheese, and feed cheese moderately.

Bone Appétit

Cooking with your dog can be a fun and keep you both a lot healthier! Be sure to feed these foods in moderation and keep an eye on changes in your dog’s weight. Combine several of these dog-friendly foods to make a meal to celebrate holidays or special occasions with your pup. If you’re interested in trying some dog-friendly recipes, check out these DIY Dog Cakes or cool down with some homemade pupsicles.

Take some of the stress out of pet ownership with Accident & Illness Coverage from AKC Pet Insurance (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company). Our pet insurance plans are designed to be there when you need them, allowing you to focus more on the health of your pet and less on costly veterinary bills.

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Mary Bays

Mary comes to AKC Pet Insurance with an extensive background in animal care. As a lifelong animal lover, she has a passion for promoting pet health and wellness. Mary lives in Kentucky with her orange kitty, "Cat" and her dog, " Wubbi".


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