Top 3 Foods You Should Not Avoid Feeding Your Dog

dog looking up at human waiting for food

If you’ve ever caught yourself repeatedly typing, “Can my dog eat ___?” into your search bar, especially when your dog is giving you those woeful puppy eyes while you indulge in a delicious avocado toast or chop up some garlic for your meal, and you remain uncertain about whether these foods are toxic for your furry friend, fret not! We’re here to dispel the myths and bring clarity to three frequently misunderstood foods: garlic, avocado, and black pepper. Get ready for a drum roll because, surprise, your dog can actually enjoy them, and we’ll delve into their health benefits.

food dog owners avoid the most for dogs: garlic

Can My Dog Eat Garlic?

Your dog can absolutely eat garlic as it is actually a healthy ingredient for your dog. Of course, it comes with some necessary precautions. But first, where did the misconception that garlic is completely toxic to your dog come from?

The misunderstanding mainly stems from this study [1] conducted in 2000 by Hokkaido University where they examined 8 dogs. In the study, researchers used an exaggerated amount of garlic extract, equivalent to feeding a dog about 20 cloves per day for a week.

Despite the unrealistic dosage, the study suggested the “potential” for red blood cell damage, sparking the belief that garlic could be deadly for dogs.

However, from recent studies [2] in 2009 by National Institutes of Health, garlic is deemed less harmful than onions for dogs and as much as most people tell you not to feed garlic to your dogs, it is safe in moderation and even has numerous health benefits for dogs including:

  • Garlic acts as a vasodilator

This healthy ingredient for your dog contains allicin and ajoene which are pharmacological agents in aiding in the expansion of blood vessels in dogs. While this can be beneficial for dogs with heart conditions or congestive heart failure, it is crucial to recognize that serious medical conditions require professional veterinary consultation.

  • Flea and Tick Prevention

We’re all familiar with the stink in garlic! The contributing factor, sulfur in garlic is a great natural flea and tick prevention for your furry friend. Sulfur is released through the dog’s skin, acting as a natural deterrent against these bothersome insects.

  • Garlic Can Help Reduce Parasitic Worm Load

This misunderstood natural ingredient for your dog packs a punch! It has antiseptic, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. But what makes garlic a viable option to include in your dog’s  deworming protocol is its anthelmintic effect on reducing the intestinal worm load [3] in your dog’s body when given daily and in conjunction with other herbs in a tincture form.

How much garlic can my dog consume?

Like many other ingredients, moderation is the key, and same goes for feeding garlic to your dog.

A safe gauge is to feed your furry friend according to their weight:

  • 2.5 KG: ⅙ tsp
  • 4.5 KG: ⅓ tsp
  • 7 KG: ½ tsp
  • 9 KG: ⅔ tsp
  • 13 KG: 1 tsp

How to feed your dog garlic?

Knowing that dogs can eat garlic in moderate amounts, start by selecting fresh, preferably organic garlic. Peel the garlic and finely mince, chop, or crush it.

Allow the prepared garlic to sit out for around 10 minutes to activate the antioxidant effects and enzymes of the garlic before mixing it to your dog’s food and feeding them. Avoid using jarred crushed garlic from supermarkets as it lacks health benefits from a long shelf life filled with unnecessary preservatives.

However, there are some exceptions when it comes to feeding garlic to your dog. Here is a list of conditions where garlic should not be fed:

  • Breeds such as akita, shiba-inu, who are more susceptible to hemolytic effects
  • Pregnant dogs
  • Puppies before 6 months of age as they don’t reproduce new red blood cells until after they’re 8 weeks old
  • Dogs on certain medications as garlic can impact the efficacy of the drug
  • Dogs that are set to go for surgery since garlic has a blood clotting effect


food dog owners avoid the most for dogs: avocado

Can My Dog Eat Avocados?

Contrary to popular belief, the flesh of avocados is not toxic to dogs; quite the opposite! A pivotal 2012 study [4] dismantled the misconception that avocados pose risks to dogs by demonstrating that beagles fed avocado extract experienced no adverse health effects.

Far from being toxic for dogs, avocados can serve as treats or dietary enhancements, contributing positively to your dog’s overall health. 

However, shockingly, the misconception is valid. The skin, pits and leaves of an avocado contains persin, a natural oil-soluble fungicide. At those high levels found in avocado skin, pits and leaves, persin becomes toxic to dogs. You may notice that the flesh of avocado is missing from the list. Even though its flesh also contains persin, it is in such negligible amounts which makes it absolutely safe for your dog to consume. In fact, a small amount of persin has been found to be beneficial in fighting cancer cells! [5] That’s just one of the multiple benefits of avocados. Here is a concise list just to debunk this misconception:

  • Avocados boost heart health

Avocado is rich in healthy fats, containing 2.75 grams in a two-tablespoon serving. 70% of the total fat in an avocado is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid known for its hypotensive effects and lowering blood pressure [6].

In addition to that, the phenolic and phytosterols in avocados can contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by positively impacting blood flow, platelet function, and blood pressure. [7]

  • Plays a role in sparkly, healthy eyes

Being rich in antioxidants, notably lutein and zeaxanthin, is essential for maintaining optimal eyesight. Studies emphasize the concentration of these antioxidants in the retina and their crucial role in promoting eye health [8].

  • It is chock-full of antioxidants

In addition to a beneficial amount of persin found in the flesh of the avocado that helps with eliminating cancer cells, its flesh also contains plenty of vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant, aiding in the neutralization of harmful free radicals and reducing inflammation.

How to feed your dog avocado?

It’s important to take note of how to, and how much to feed your dog when it comes to avocados. Thoroughly remove the leaves, skin and pit when preparing the fruit for your dog. Whether avocados are given as treats or incorporated into a nutritionally balanced diet, it should be less than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake. Always start with a small amount when you are first feeding avocados to your dog.


food dog owners avoid the most for dogs: black pepper

Can My Dog Eat Black Pepper?

Coming from the spice family, black pepper is something that most dog owners stay away from due to black pepper having a numbing spicy taste as it hails from the spice family. However, in moderate servings, black pepper has many beneficial properties.

The misconception in which black pepper is toxic for dogs comes from consuming this misinformed ingredient in huge amounts which can result in gastrointestinal problems.

Nevertheless, black pepper could offer certain benefits to dogs such as:

  • Providing natural pain relief

The presence of piperine in black pepper has been associated with blocking pain signals in the brain. This may provide relief from chronic pain conditions for older dogs with joints or hip problems, potentially enhancing your dog’s quality of life and minimizing discomfort [9].

  • Reducing inflammation in the body

Another benefit of piperine is its anti-inflammatory properties, suggesting assistance in reducing inflammation for dogs with allergies, or older dogs dealing with conditions mentioned earlier. Bonus fact: adding black pepper to turmeric which also houses great anti-inflammatory properties, can boost turmeric’s nutritional abilities!

  • Supporting the digestive system

The tingly feel on your tongue, spice, which we find addictive, has no use for dogs. However,  studies have shown that the small amount of spice in black pepper can stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, contributing to improved digestion and absorption of nutrients [10].

How to feed your dog black pepper?

Begin with small amounts and slowly raise the dosage. A general rule of thumb is to incorporate 1/8 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper per 4.5 KG of your dog’s body weight, gradually increasing it to a maximum of 1/4 teaspoon.

In conclusion, these misunderstood foods tend to stem from improper feeding. With the numerous health benefits garlic, avocados and black pepper holds, there is no reason why you cannot give your dogs these natural foods.

Try incorporating it into your dog’s meals gradually. Adhering to moderation, ensures a well-balanced and enjoyable diet for your beloved four legged friend!



[1] Hematologic changes associated with the appearance of eccentrocytes after intragastric administration of garlic extract to dogs – National Library of Medicine, November 2000

[2] Some food toxic for pets. Interdiscip Toxicol – National Library of Medicine, September 2009

[3] Is there any evidence to support the use of garlic as a wormer? – Veterinary Practice, 6 April 2020

[4] Tolerance and safety of an avocado-based ingredient for adult dogs – FASEB, 1 April 2012

[5] A novel plant toxin, persin, with in vivo activity in the mammary gland, induces Bim-dependent apoptosis in human breast cancer cells – PubMed, September 2006

[6] Oleic acid content is responsible for the reduction in blood pressure induced by olive oil – PubMed, 16 September 2008

[7] Fruit polyphenols and CVD risk – National Library of Medicine, October 2010

[8] Management of Ocular Diseases Using Lutein and Zeaxanthin – National Library of Medicine, 5 November 2015

[9] Anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic effects of piperine in human interleukin – National Library of Medicine, 30 March 2009

[10] Effects of piperine on gastric acid secretion in albino rats – PubMed, December 2002