What Do Dogs Eat?

What Do Dogs Eat? And How Long Does Dog Food Last?

What Dogs Eat
The short answer for what do dogs eat is that dogs need mostly protein and calcium in their diet. This is provided by any quality dog food and is all that is needed for dogs eat to maintain a balanced diet.

That’s the easy part, but if you like to give dogs treats to eat, then there are specific do’s and don’ts. A strange blog for a human food site, but if you are tempted to feed your dog whatever you are eating, you should read on.

Anyone who has raised a puppy, will quickly answer the question of what do dogs eat with “everything!”. Speaking from experience, they are right! Here’s a list of just a few things that our golden retriever has eaten or attempted to eat, in just his first 8 months of life: rocks, electrical chords, expensive wallets (credit cards included), corn cobs, bones (without even chewing), shoes, the list goes on and on. Some of the favorite things our dog likes to eat are dirty napkins and dirty socks. The veterinarian said we have been very lucky so far, as she usually has to do surgery when most of these things are eaten by dogs.

So, included below the list of what dogs eat is a list of things to never feed your dog and then, of course, our table of how long does dog food last.

What Dogs Eat

A healthy, well-balanced diet is contained in quality dog foods, ask your vet for a recommendation. A well-designed dog food gives your pet all the nutrients it needs for an active and healthy life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t sometimes give your dog human food as a special treat – as long as portions are limited, and the foods are cooked, pure, and not fatty or heavily seasoned.

List of what dogs eat – Healthy Snacks or Alternate Meals For Dogs

1) Cooked Lean meats – no bones, grizzle or skin.
2) Slices of fresh fruit – like apples, oranges, bananas, and especially watermelon make tasty treats for dogs to eat. Be careful to remove seeds (watermelon excluded), stems, and leaves which can cause serious problems as noted above.
3) Fresh vegetables – like carrots, green beans, cabbage and cucumber. Cooked potatoes are fine, but raw are not.
4) Pasta or White Rice – plain white rice and boiled chicken can actually help a dogs upset stomach, but make sure they are both cooked.




More important than what dogs eat, is our next list of things that dogs should never eat.

10 Things Dogs Should NEVER Eat

AVOID Reason to AVOID Result
Avocado Contains the toxin Persin Persin is contained in the fruit, seed, bark and leaves of an avocado – so beware if you have an avocado tree.
Grapes & Raisins Vomiting and jitters Can cause kidney problems and renal failure if not treated
Onions & Garlic In any form Either a small amount over time or a large amount all at once destroys red blood cells and causes anemia
Peaches, Plums & Persimmons Cyanide – contained in the pits or seeds Poison to both dogs and humans. The pits can also obstruct breathing.
Chocolate All types contain the toxic ingredient Theobromine, dark chocolates being worst A small amount will cause vomiting and diarrhea and large amounts cause tremors, seizures and even death
Dairy Products – Milk, Ice Cream, etc. Food allergies Diarrea and then food allergies may begin shown by Itching
Macadamia Nuts Toxic Just a handful will cause muscle spasms and possible paralysis, more are fatal
Alcohol Kills brain cells and liver damage, same as humans, but it takes a smaller amount Coma and even death
Caffeine – Coffee, Tea, etc. Large amounts in any form can be fatal there is no antidote
Candy, Gum, Toothpaste, some Baked Goods, Diet Foods toxic Xylitol Causes an increase in insulin leading to seizures and liver failure in just a few days
Fat Trimmings and Bones!! Choking or Splintering Can cause pancreatitis in dogs, plus bones can cause your dog to choke or they can splinter and cause lacerations of your dog’s digestive system



How Long Does Dog Food Last?

Unopened Pantry – Past Printed Date
Dry Dog Food 2-6 Months
Canned Dog Food 1-2 Years Nutritional value decreases slightly over time
Opened Refrigerator Dog Bowl
Dry Dog Food Within 6 Weeks of Opening (ideally) 24 Hours
Canned Dog Food 7 Days Maximum 4 Hours at Room Temperature



Remember, keep your dry dog food in its original packaging in a cool dry place and re-seal the original packaging after opening. Keep your canned food in a cool dry place and place in an airtight container in the fridge after opening. Dispose if any foul odors or mold.

To find out more about dog food, see PetMD.

If your best friend is feline then check our what can cats eat page.

To find out how long human foods are good for, please visit the DairyDrinksFruitsGrainsProteinsVegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or search below.

Search the Shelf Life Guide!

For more information on the overall health of your dog see the Web MD section on dogs.