Any responsible pet owner wants to love and protect their dog or cat as if they were family. One part of this is knowing what you can and can’t feed your pet. This is especially true with dogs who have a very fine-tuned digestive system. Some food that we eat is fine for dogs while others can kill them. As March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month, let’s look at just what you can and can’t feed your pooch.

On the don’t side of things, there are several food items that you should never feed your dog. They include:

Chocolate

This one has been talked about for a while. Chocolate has a chemical called theobromine that is toxic to dogs and will kill them if ingested. Just a light dose will lead to diarrhea and vomiting, but even if a dog survives chocolate poisoning, they can have a lifetime of health problems.

Onions and Garlic

These foods taste great for adults to add flavor to their cooking, but they can destroy a dog’s red blood cells. If eaten in large doses, this can lead to anemia and even death.

Cheese

If you’ve ever slipped your dog a pill hidden in cheese, you may want to reconsider that approach. Many dogs don’t have the enzyme that lets them break down dairy products. Eating too much cheese won’t kill a dog, but it will lead to severe digestion issues.

Plants

This one isn’t a food, but it’s still a poison risk. If your dog likes to nibble on plants in your home, you may want to keep these out of their reach. The plant species that are poisonous to dogs include: aloe vera, chrysanthemums, poinsettias, and tomato plants among others.

So, what can dogs eat? The best bet is to stick with healthy treat options found in your local pet store. If your pet does want to share in your human feed, be sure to stick to certain types. Proteins such as ham, eggs, and peanut butter are good options.  If you are enjoying a bag of microwave popcorn, it’s perfectly ok to toss a few in the air and let your dog catch them as a playful treat. If you have a small dog breed with tiny teeth, you should be sure that the food is cut up into manageable pieces and is not to hard for them to chew.

We love to think of our pets as our children, but the fact remains they are not human and shouldn’t always eat human food. A few treats here and there is fine, but you need to be very careful of knowing which foods are toxic to your pooch.