Every dog owner faces this dilemma at some point. Whether your pal suddenly becomes a food snob, your paycheck slips out of your bank account faster than you expected, or you didn’t make it to your specialty pet store before closing time (maybe for the weekend — gasp!), inevitably you will have one of those days where your dog needs grub and you just don’t have it.

Pretty soon, you’re facing either doleful puppy-dog eyes or (like me) you have a pet-turned-monster skulking in the corners giving you major side-eye because the hanger is strong with this one.

How can you redeem yourself? Before you start down the insane path of sacrificing yourself as a last meal for your little prisoner, check out your pantry/fridge and rejoice. Here’s what you can feed them instead.



Photo by Steph Auble

That’s right, your dog can enjoy this fall favorite just like you can. Pumpkins are high in fiber, too, so they contribute to a healthy GI tract (which means productive walks and a happy critter).

Sweet Potatoes


Photo by Sean Koetting

Mine and my little gal’s favorite! Super simple to bake (and filling, too), sweet potatoes are low-calorie and nutrient-dense.

Green Beans


Photo by Gabby Phi

Ahh, the memories. Open a can and split it with your dog to share the vitamins and manganese. Now you have a dinner date with your best friend and you don’t have to listen to boring-as-hell office anecdotes. Wins all around.



Photo by Olivia Mattyasovsky

Another nutritional autumn treat. Make sure you leave the skins on, remove the core and seeds, and slice them into dog-size portions.



Photo by Gabby Phi

Make everybody a ridiculously healthy breakfast that will stick with them all day. The consistency is similar to wet dog food, too, so your dog will feel spoiled.

Peanuts and Peanut Butter


Photo by Katherine Carroll

You can give your pup some peanut butter even when they don’t need any medication hidden in it, I promise. Chances are, your baby will love them in nut form as well, so mix it up. Full of healthy fats and vitamins, peanut butter is great as long as it doesn’t contain xylitol or unnecessary added sugars, syrups, or salt.

Coconut Oil


Photo courtesy of dulanotes.com

My newest canine addition to the household tries to maul me every morning to lick the coconut oil moisturizer off my face. Coconut is a great addition to your doggie’s diet (it aids with digestions, skin and hair health, and disease prevention) and they will thank you for mixing some into their meals.



Photo by Bari Blanga

Make sure they’re unsalted, don’t go crazy with the portions, and you’ve got a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins.

Yay, you know how to enjoy a nutritious meal with your dog now. Before you whip something up, though, be sure you DON’T include any of these ingredients:



Photo by Lucia Perasso

You’ve heard this one before. Don’t be fooled by the myth that it’s caffeine that’s bad for your pooch, either (although that’s true). It’s actually the methylzanthines, which are stimulants that arrest your dog’s metabolic processes (leading to diarrhea, vomiting, and in higher doses seizures and death).

So no, no guilt-sharing of your candy bars under any circumstances.

Garlic and Onions


Photo by Alison Weissbrot

Don’t worry, dogs don’t need as much added flavor to their meals. Garlic and onions can actually cause hemolytic anemia, which causes your pup’s red blood cells to burst. Not worth the risk of even a little addition of either.



Photo by Anna Beckerman

Doggie digestive tracts are not designed with other species’ lactation in mind. Some dogs cope well (like humans,) but they do not need it and it can cause some unpleasant gastrointestinal issues. Let your dog get its calcium from healthier, safer sources.

Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, and Almonds


Photo by Stephanie Lee

Macadamia nuts are one of the most dangerous food items you can feed your dog. Although the exact toxic component has not been identified, symptoms range from depression and vomiting to tremors and death. Pecans and almonds don’t digest easily and can cause gastro-intestinal blockage.



Photo courtesy of blog.candlewarmers.com

Small amounts aren’t a big deal, but over-doing the cinnamon can lead to upset stomaches. Don’t freak out if you share a couple bites with your BFF and then realize your recipe contained cinnamon, but don’t go out of your way to include it, either.

Any Meat with Bones


Photo by Lauren Beane

The bones can splinter off and cause any number of tears and blockages. Do not, under any circumstances, give your dog access to bones.

Grapes and Raisins


Photo by Naib Mian

Another mystery, but grapes and raisins can prove toxic in even small amounts by causing sudden kidney failure.