Turning Leftovers into Tasty Dog Food

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 03/01/21 •  9 min read
The contents of the OurFitPets.com website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this site (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase this item or service, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain our own.

If you’d like to feed your dog a healthier diet and use up table scraps, then you’ve come to the right place. It is possible for your fur baby to eat some human foods; however, other foods we eat can be toxic to dogs or cause other health issues. In this article, we’ll take a look at foods that are safe for dogs, and those that are not safe, and how you can incorporate table scraps into food for your canine companion! First, let’s take a look at human foods dogs can’t eat to get that out of the way.

Online Veterinary 24/7
Chat With A Veterinarian Online

Connect with a verified veterinarian in minutes. Licensed vets are available 24/7 to answer your questions. No need to worry about your furry family member.

Why are Table Scraps Bad for Dogs?

When it comes to table scraps it can be highly confusing what is safe or not to give your dog. Plus, when your pup is giving that special look as you and your family eat at the table. His eyes seem to be saying, “Look at how much I adore you! I’m sitting at your feet waiting (sometimes not so patiently!) for a yummy scrap from your plate. Look at how hungry and starved I am!” You know that look! Some dogs even top it off with strings of drool in the hopes you’ll be grossed out enough to give them a piece of food just so they’ll stop!

Most of us fall for these doggie looks of longing, but experts advise care when giving your dog table scraps. Some human foods are OK for dogs, while others can be toxic and/or otherwise unhealthy. Let’s take a look at table scraps that can be bad for your fur baby.

Almonds: these are not toxic for dogs, but they can block a dog’s throat or tear the windpipe if not completely chewed. Salted almonds are very bad because they can cause water retention, which could cause problems from dogs with heart issues, including death.

Bread: dogs love to eat bread, but is it good for them? In small amounts bread is OK, but it doesn’t offer any health benefits for them. Plain bread with no spices or raisins is best. And homemade bread is better than store-bought. Why? Because store-bought bread contains preservatives and other chemicals that are not healthy for dogs.

Cheese: dog can enjoy small amounts of cheese once in a while, as long as your canine companion doesn’t have a dairy allergy or is lactose intolerant. Cheese, depending on the type, can contain high amounts of fat, so giving your dog low-fat versions is a better option. These include mozzarella, cottage cheese, etc.

Chocolate: dogs go wild for chocolate; however, you should never feed your canine chocolate. The reason is due to the substances in chocolate that are toxic for dogs. It contains stimulants that can disrupt a dog’s metabolic process. It can cause diarrhea and vomiting in small amounts, while in larger amounts chocolate can cause seizures, internal bleeding, heat attack, irregular heartbeat and can lead to death. If your pup enjoys chocolate, try giving him carob instead. Carob is made of beans from the carob tree. It’s naturally sweet and has a similar flavor to chocolate. It’s completely safe for dogs.

Cinnamon: this spice isn’t toxic to dogs; however, it can cause irritation (similar to burns) in a dog’s mouth, which could even cause them to get sick. Cinnamon may also lower your pup’s blood sugar too far, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, decreased heart rate and possibly liver disease. If your fur baby inhales cinnamon, it will act as an irritant and cause him to sneeze, cough or even choke.

Garlic: this yummy human spice can be toxic to dogs, just like onions and chives. These are all part of the Allium family. Garlic is 5 times more toxic to dogs than other members of the Allium family. It can cause anemia, pale gums, increased heart rate, weakness or even cause a dog to collapse.

Ice cream: this is another treat dogs should never eat. The reason is because it contains high amounts of sugar and is bad for dogs that have dairy allergies or are lactose intolerant.

Grapes and raisins: are never safe for your dog. These contain toxins that can make your pup sick; they can lead to kidney failure and even death. Even small amounts can make your dog sick.

Onions: like garlic, onions are in the Allium family of plants, which contain compounds that can make dogs sick. Onions can also cause anemia.

Avocado: should never be fed to dogs because it contains a toxin called persin. This can cause fluid retention in a dog’s lungs and chest, making it difficult to breathe. This can lead to oxygen deprivation and even death.

Macadamia nuts: never give these to your fur baby. This is one of the most poisonous foods for dogs. They can cause increased body temperature, vomiting, inability to walk and lethargy. They can also cause problems for a dog’s nervous system.

This is not an exhaustive list of human foods that dogs should not eat. There are many others; however, the list does make you more aware of some of the health issues that your fur baby can develop by eating foods that aren’t safe for him. Some ingredients and foods can even cause death, so it pays to use extreme care if you choose to feed your dog table scraps. This is why you shouldn’t feed your dog human food.

However, having said that, there are human foods that are completely safe and healthy for your canine company!

Human Foods that Dogs Can Eat

Now we’re ready to see what foods are safe for you canine companion to eat! We’ll list the foods quickly and move on to the next section! Again, this list is not exhaustive, but these are come of the more common human foods that are safe for your pup.

And of course, dogs can safely eat chicken, beef, pork, turkey and other types of meat and fish! Just be careful to avoid using ingredients, such as onions and garlic, that are toxic to dogs.

Homemade Dog Food from Leftovers

When it comes to dog food made from leftovers, what can you fix? Check the fridge and see if you have any of these ingredients already cooked:

Here’s are some recipe ideas to make with table scraps!

Beef, Barley and Broccoli Casserole For Dogs

This is a recipe you’ll love, too! It’s high in fiber and is easily digestible for your fur baby!


½ teaspoon olive oil

600 g stewed beef

2 carrots (can use raw or those already cooked) diced

1 celery stick, diced

400 g tinned chopped tomatoes (these are safe for dogs!)

400 ml homemade stock or water

80 g pearl barley

175g broccoli, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons parsley or oregano, finely chopped


1). Warm oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the beef, carrots and celery, cook for five minutes.

2). Pour in tomatoes and stock or water, bring to a simmer. Add the barley, return to a simmer, lower the heat, cover and cook for one hour if using raw beef and barley is uncooked. Otherwise, heat until warmed through.

3). Add the broccoli and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in herbs. Cool before serving.


Here’s another easy recipe to use with leftovers!

Homemade Dog Food


1 lb lean ground beef

½ lb ground chicken

½ lb ground turkey

1 lb baby carrots

2 small baking potatoes

3 cups brown rice

3 eggs, slightly beaten

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups water


1). Cook all the meat together in a large 6-quart Dutch oven.

2). Add rice, chicken broth and water, then cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.

3). Add potatoes and carrots, slightly beaten eggs, and cook for another 20-30 minutes.

4). After cooking, place the homemade dog food in containers of your choice. Can freeze for up to 3 months or keep in the fridge 3-4 days.

Who knew feeding your dog leftovers could be this good! Other ideas are scrambled, or boiled eggs combined with some yummy veggies, etc. Just make sure all the ingredients are doggie-safe before using them in your fur baby’s food.

(Visited 992 times, 1 visits today)
Online Veterinary 24/7
Chat With A Veterinarian Online

Connect with a verified veterinarian in minutes. Licensed vets are available 24/7 to answer your questions. No need to worry about your furry family member.


Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.

Keep Reading