It’s no secret that Labradors love food. Most of us love giving our dogs whatever scraps we have, but it’s important to remember that not all human food is suitable for dogs. So, what foods can Labradors eat?
Labradors can eat lean meats and fish, such as beef, chicken, pork, duck, turkey, salmon, and tuna. They can also eat fruits and vegetables, like apples, strawberries, carrots, peas, and pumpkin. Eggs, plain white rice, pasta, plain yogurt, cheese, and oatmeal are also on the menu.
As Labradors love to eat, knowing what your dog can eat is essential to keep him at a healthy weight. Some human food is toxic for your Lab, but other foods can be a great way to supplement his diet and live a long, healthy life.
This article will list 35 foods your Labrador can eat. I’ll also include tips on feeding them and tell you the foods you can’t feed your Lab due to their toxicity. Let’s get started!
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- What Human Foods Can Labradors Eat?
- Green Beans
- Peanut Butter
- Potato (Cooked)
- Sweet Potato
- Tuna and Mackerel
- Can Labradors Eat Human Food?
- How to Feed Dogs Human Food: Safety First!
- What Foods Can Labradors Not Eat?
- Final Thoughts
What Human Foods Can Labradors Eat?
Many “people foods” are perfectly safe and healthy for Labradors to eat. Health benefits include maintaining a robust immune system, joint strength, allergy immunity, fighting cancer and other diseases, a healthy coat and skin, cleaner teeth, and fresher breath.
Let’s dive into the list of human foods your Labrador can eat.
Labradors can eat apples. They are a great source of vitamins A and C, essential for maintaining healthy bones and tissue. They also contain fiber, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants which help reduce the risk of many diseases, are excellent for the heart, and have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Most dogs enjoy the crunchy texture and the sweet taste of apples. They also help to keep their teeth clean and freshen their breath. Cut the apple into small pieces and don’t feed the seeds or cores.
Labradors can eat bananas and are perfect for a healthy, low-calorie treat. They are high in potassium to support kidney and heart functions and contain vitamin B6 and C, biotin, fiber, and copper. Bananas are also fat-free and are low in sodium.
However, they are high in sugar, so only feed sparingly and don’t give the peel as your dog may have difficulty digesting it. My dog enjoys a few banana slices during a long walk, and they help provide a quick energy boost.
Labrador Retrievers can eat beef. They need a high-protein diet to provide the energy they need. Beef is an excellent source of high-quality protein and contains essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Beef provides your dog with healthy joints, muscles, skin, and a shiny, healthy coat.
You must cook all meats you give your Labrador unless your dog is used to a raw diet and you prepare the food hygienically. Meat should be lean, plain, and without salt or seasoning. A few shredded pieces always go down a treat and can be part of your Lab’s nutritious and well-balanced diet.
Labradors can eat berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. They contain many valuable antioxidants that prevent or slow down cell damage and strengthen the immune system. Berries are full of vitamin C and fiber and are low in sugar, making them kind to teeth.
Berries are ideal for sharing with your dog, especially in the summer. You may need to experiment, though, as some dogs may not quite like their taste, whereas others will love them.
Frozen berries can be a welcome treat in warm weather to help cool your dog down and keep him hydrated.
Labradors can eat bread as long as it is fed in moderation. It is high in carbohydrates and calories, low in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and has little nutritional value. Your dog may enjoy a small piece as long as he doesn’t have a wheat allergy.
Offering bread as an occasional treat is okay but remember that giving too much bread can cause weight gain and tooth decay due to the sugars it contains.
Warning: If you make your bread at home, you should not allow your Lab to eat the uncooked yeast dough as this can rise in his stomach, causing all sorts of serious problems, from bloat to alcohol toxicosis from the fermented yeast.
Labradors can eat broccoli in small quantities. It’s high in fiber and vitamin C and is good for the immune system. Broccoli also helps to protect against heart disease and maintains healthy skin and bone.
The only snag is that it contains a chemical that can cause major gas in some dogs. So you should experiment first as things could end up being quite unpleasant! If you are feeding the stalks, make sure you cut them into small pieces.
Labradors can eat cantaloupe. It is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and potassium. Cantaloupe’s high antioxidant qualities promote healthy cell function and reduce the risk of serious diseases such as cancer and arthritis.
Cantaloupe (including honeydew melon and watermelon) is low in calories and high in water, making a nice and refreshing treat for your Lab. It is full of natural sugars, so only feed sparingly. Always remove the seeds and rind before feeding to your pooch.
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Labradors can eat carrots. They are an excellent food to feed your dog, either cooked or raw. Carrots are low in fat and contain high amounts of fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene that produce vitamin A which is excellent for healthy eyes, bones, and the immune system.
Carrots are also good for blood pressure and cardiovascular health and reduce cancer risk. They are also excellent for the immune system and weight loss.
My dog loves crunching on a piece of raw carrot, which also helps to clean her teeth. I reckon carrots are one of the best human foods you can give your dog.
Labradors can eat cashews, and they are, by and large, one of the safer nuts your dog can eat. Their high protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats make them okay for your dog. You should only give them as a rare treat to prevent obesity and pancreatitis due to their high-fat content.
One or two cashews are an excellent reward on a long hike and will give your Lab an energy boost. However, you should be mindful that all nuts are a choking risk to canines.
Ensure they are free of salt and don’t feed chocolate-coated cashews as both are highly toxic to dogs, especially if eaten in large quantities.
Labradors can eat cheese. This high-value protein treat is a great human food that your Lab will love, as long as it’s given in moderation, as it’s high in calories and fat. Healthier options are low-fat varieties or cottage cheese.
Nonetheless, a small chunk of cheese has its nutritional benefits as it contains nutrients, including calcium, zinc, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A and B12. I enjoy letting my dog have a little cheese for a well-deserved treat.
Some dogs may be unable to tolerate cheese due to their inability to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in dairy products. As a result, you’ll have to experiment first. It is, however, one of the dairy foods with the least quantity of lactose.
Warning: Blue cheese, and other moldy cheese, should not be fed as the mold produces a mycotoxin, which is poisonous to dogs.
Labradors can eat chicken, and countless dog foods contain chicken. This high-protein food will provide your Lab with lots of energy. It’s also a great source of Omega 6 fatty acids that are excellent for your dog’s skin and coat. Chicken also contains glucosamine for healthy bones.
Make sure the chicken is plain and avoid the skin as this is high in fat.
Don’t feed raw chicken due to the risk of salmonella – unless your dog is used to a raw diet and you buy specially prepared raw food for him. Never feed cooked chicken bones as these are fragile and can break in your Labrador’s mouth and cause nasty injuries or choking.
I often add pieces of leftover roast chicken to my dog’s bowl which certainly doesn’t last long!
Labradors can eat coconut. It contains abundant antioxidants to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and prevent viruses. Your dog’s skin and coat will also benefit from coconut oil; however, the meat is healthier.
Coconut is an enjoyable human food to give to your Labrador. It can be kind of confusing, but coconut is actually a fruit! Therefore, it does not contain most proteins that cause tree nut allergies or sensitivities, such as almonds or cashews.
You can try feeding your Lab a small piece to see if he likes it but remember to remove the shell first.
Labradors can eat corn. This starchy vegetable can provide fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals for your Labrador. It is also rich in linoleic acid and antioxidants. But, as it’s high in carbohydrates, you should only feed a small amount.
Nonetheless, corn is not the best choice of vegetable for your dog – I’m sure you will have noticed that it tends to pass through the gut pretty much intact, but it does help a little with gut health.
Despite this, I think it’s a great choice if your dog needs a quick energy boost during spells of high exercise.
Do not feed the cob as this is a choking risk, and avoid canned corn as it’s usually high in sodium.
You should also not feed popcorn containing butter or salt to your dog. Plain popcorn can be okay, but as there’s a risk that the kernels could get stuck in your Labrador’s teeth, I would avoid it.
Labradors can eat cucumbers, and they offer lots of nutritional value. They contain calcium, magnesium, copper, and potassium and are loaded with vitamins K, C, and B1. As cucumbers are 96% water, they make your dog a healthy, low-fat, and refreshing treat.
Cucumber is often the topic of many discussions among culinary experts. It’s technically a fruit, although you may find in the store’s vegetable displayore!
Most canines love this refreshing delight. Ensure you remove the peel and chop it into small pieces before serving.
Labradors can eat eggs and they are perfectly safe. They are a fantastic protein option, are loaded with healthy vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids, all of which serve your dog many nutritional benefits. Eggs are known for having the perfect balance of nutrients.
Despite the controversy around eggs decades ago, scientists have since concluded that their high levels of dietary cholesterol are not associated with heart disease and that saturated fat has a far greater effect on blood cholesterol levels.
It is best to cook eggs first before feeding your dog due to the risk of salmonella in raw eggs, although this risk is low and can be further minimized by using free-range eggs and storing them in a cool, dry place.
Labradors can eat green beans. They are highly nutritious and are full of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and are low in calories. Green beans are excellent for your Lab’s immune system, have anti-unflammatory properties, and are good for overall health.
Most dogs tend to enjoy green beans. It’s best to cut them up into small pieces to prevent choking and aid digestion. You can also give canned green beans to your dog as long as they don’t contain salt or other additives.
Labradors can drink milk. However, as with all dairy foods, whether you give it to your dog depends if he can tolerate the lactose. Nonetheless, milk contains high amounts of calcium and vitamin D, making it good for healthy teeth and bones.
Milk also contains potassium, which is excellent for the heart. Furthermore, it contains all essential amino acids, with many vitamins, minerals, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
A few tablespoons of either cow’s milk or goat’s milk are enjoyable foods for your best friend. My dog enjoys a small bowl of milk once a week without suffering from any adverse effects.
A small treat of plain noodles is a safe human food for Labradors. Noodles are made with soft flour milled from common (bread) wheat and mixed with either water or eggs. They contain micronutrients such as iron, folate, manganese, and B vitamins.
If your Lab has an allergy to eggs, then make sure to avoid egg noodles! Likewise, if your dog has a wheat allergy, you should avoid noodles altogether.
One other thing to watch for is that dried noodles often contain a high amount of salt (sodium), so you will need to check this first. Japenese ramen noodles are loaded with sodium or flavored with soy sauce, and your dog should not eat these.
Labradors can eat oatmeal as long as it’s given sparingly. This staple food is high in fiber and loaded with other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also contains linolic acid that helps to keep your dog’s skin healthy.
Oatmeal is also a great alternative if your dog is sensitive to grains or wheat, although, contrary to popular belief, a food allergy in dogs is rare. This is due to the often misleading marketing of grain-free dog foods.
Mix the oatmeal with water and serve cooked with nothing added, such as butter or syrup. Your Labrador will enjoy one or two spoonfuls added to his food. Remember, this food is a carbohydrate and is high in calories.
Parsnips are a great vegetable to give to your Lab as they contain plenty of potassium, folic acid, and vitamins C and B6. They are good for healthy kidney function and for supporting the nervous system. They are also good for your dog’s metabolism and contain antioxidants to help fight cancer.
They are better fed cooked but can be eaten raw as long as they are cut into small pieces. Sometimes I will mash some cooked parsnip and add it to my dog’s bowl as she enjoys the sweet taste. Make sure you only feed in moderation, as parsnips are quite starchy (like other root vegetables such as beets, sweet potatoes, and carrots).
Labradors can eat pasta as long as it’s cooked and eaten plain. Once thought of as fattening and starchy, this staple food is now considered nutritious, providing lots of energy.
Pasta tends to be made from semolina flour, which is milled from durum (hard) wheat. Water or eggs are then added where it’s mixed into a dough and made into various shapes and sizes, and finally cooked by either baking or boiling.
Dogs should not eat pasta sauces, so go easy on the spaghetti bolognese! They often contain garlic and onions, which are both poisonous. Labs with a wheat allergy or a sensitivity to grains or eggs also shouldn’t eat pasta.
Did you know that peanuts are not actually nuts! Technically speaking, peanuts are legumes, similar to peas and lentils, as they grow in pods that mature beneath the ground. However, for nutritional and culinary purposes, peanuts are considered a nut.
Peanuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats and fiber, as well as many vitamins and minerals. It’s okay for your Labrador to try one or two plain unsalted peanuts. However, you must not forget about their high-fat content – which can cause him to have a stomach upset as fat is harder to digest.
Peanuts are also high in calories, and you should also consider the general risks of choking. Although they are okay for your dog to eat, as they are not toxic, there are the risks I’ve mentioned above. It isn’t something I’ve fed my dog, but I’ll let you decide when it comes down to whether you should feed your dog peanuts!
Peanut butter can be fed to your Labrador, although some brands contain xylitol (sweetener) that should not be consumed. Xylitol can be highly toxic and can cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop, cause seizures, and lead to liver failure.
Make sure you carefully check the label and always choose an organic brand with nothing added.
Peanut butter is a high-value treat and is therefore ideal during training sessions. It’s also great for smearing into interactive toys such as the KONG Classic Toy from Amazon, which will keep your dog busy for a while! I love the KONG range of toys as they last a lifetime, and there are so many to choose from.
Peas are good for boosting energy levels as they are starchy carbohydrates. They are also gentle on your Lab’s digestive system.
They are good for the eyes, heart, and skin due to their several vitamins such as vitamin A, K, and many B vitamins. Peas also contain iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
I think peas are an excellent food that you can easily add to your dog’s bowl at mealtimes. Fresh or frozen peas are fine, but avoid the canned variety due to the high salt content.
Pineapple is a juicy treat that’s full of vitamins and minerals. It also contains fiber that is good for your dog’s digestion and immune system and bromelain to help absorb proteins.
As it’s quite sugary, only feed sparingly unless your Labrador needs a quick energy boost during periods of intense activity. Frozen chunks of pineapple make an excellent treat in warm weather -they will help keep your dog cool and hydrated. However, avoid canned pineapple due to its high sugar content.
Your Labrador can enjoy eating pork as long as it’s cooked and free from seasonings and spices. This high-protein food is rich in many vitamins and minerals.
Raw pork shouldn’t be eaten as it contains a parasite that can cause an infection – unless your Lab already eats a specially prepared raw diet. All fat must be removed as too much fat can lead to an upset stomach and inflammation of the pancreas.
Never let your dog have cooked pork bones as they are very brittle and can splinter into sharp pieces in his mouth or along his digestive tract. They are also a choking risk.
Processed pork meats such as bacon, ham, and sausage, should also not be eaten due to their high salt content.
You can give your Labrador potato to eat as long as it’s cooked and the skin removed. Raw or green potatoes contain solanine, which is a toxic compound. However, the cooking process eliminates this danger.
Potatoes are starchy vegetables containing vitamin C, B6, iron, and magnesium. Being a high carbohydrate food, they provide lots of energy, so only feed sparingly. You can mash, bake, or boil them but don’t add butter or salt.
Pumpkin is a great human food to give your Labrador, and the seeds are also okay. It’s full of insoluble and soluble fiber and is therefore ideal if your dog happens to be constipated or has diarrhea!
Nutritionally, it’s loaded with a range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, potassium, and iron, and contains a high amount of the antioxidant beta-carotene.
Pumpkin is best cooked – your Lab will have a hard time digesting it raw! It can be mashed and added as a topping to your dog’s food. As it’s low in calories, it’s also great for overweight dogs, especially if you want to reduce some kibble and replace it with some pumpkin.
Labradors can eat cooked plain rice, and this is a common ingredient of dog foods. However, brown whole grain rice is a healthier option so look out for this when choosing your brand. It’s an excellent source of calcium, fiber, iron, vitamin D, thiamine, and riboflavin.
Rice is a carbohydrate and therefore must be eaten in moderation, but as long as your dog maintains a healthy weight, a little rice added to his meal now and again will cause no harm.
Cooked plain white rice (not brown) is fed to a Lab suffering from diarrhea. It’s easy to digest, low in fiber, and helps with runny poop as it binds stools together.
My dog adores salmon! If we are eating salmon for dinner, it’s the only time she will come over to the table, lie down, patiently wait, and hope for a taste!
Salmon is an excellent choice of fish for dogs. It’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that have a range of functions, including keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy, supporting his immune system, and reducing any inflammation.
Salmon is a high source of protein and is in many top-quality dog foods. Never feed raw salmon to your dog and ensure it’s thoroughly cooked as it contains parasites that can cause poisoning. Also, make sure it has no bones, so it’s best to choose a boneless fillet if you give your dog some of this tasty “people” food.
Labradors can eat sweet potatoes, and they are a better option than cooked white potatoes as they’re more nutritious. They contain beta-carotene that is great for growth and vision. They are also a natural source of fiber and contain vitamins such as C, B6, E, and A. They are superb for the overall health and wellbeing of your dog.
But, as sweet potatoes are a starchy carbohydrate, they are probably best avoided if your Labrador is overweight, less active, or diabetic.
Sweet potatoes should be cooked (and the skin removed) before feeding to your dog. You can bake, mash, or puree them. Due to their nutritional value, they are a popular source of carbohydrates in high-quality dog foods.
Tuna and Mackerel
Tuna fish and mackerel are superb human foods for your Labrador, and along with salmon, my dog adores them. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart and eye health and make your dog’s coat shiny. They also contain many healthy vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, B12, B6, iron, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.
There is a mixed opinion on whether dogs should eat tuna and mackerel due to their higher mercury levels. However, as with most human foods you give to your Labrador, moderation is key.
When feeding a small amount of canned tuna, make sure it’s in water with no added salt. My dog quickly devours a few chunks of canned tuna scattered over her food.
Turkey is a high protein food rich in nutrients such as many B vitamins, including thiamine and riboflavin. It’s also loaded with minerals, including zinc and phosphorous. Turkey also contains selenium, helping to regulate metabolism.
It’s no wonder this high-energy food is a prevalent ingredient in commercial pet foods, and it’s no surprise that cooked turkey is wonderful to give to your dog from your plate as long as it’s plain and without seasonings, onion, or garlic.
Turkey breast is healthier as the legs contain more fat. Avoid feeding the skin too, as it’s also high in fat. Ensure no bones are in the meat as cooked bones can easily splinter in your dog’s mouth or become a choking hazard.
There are two types of yogurt that your Labrador can enjoy. They are greek yogurt and low-fat plain, natural yogurt. Yogurt is great for dogs as it’s high in calcium and protein and can also act as a probiotic, which is excellent for your dog’s digestive system.
Check that the yogurt doesn’t have artificial sweeteners (like xylitol) or added sugar and fat and only feed a tablespoon or two to prevent a tummy upset. I like to add a blob or two to my dog’s food, which always goes down a treat!
Can Labradors Eat Human Food?
Labrador Retrievers can eat human food. We mustn’t forget that dogs historically ate “people” food long before the invention of dog food!
But what’s the real story?
Dogs evolved from wolves thousands of years ago, and as they lived alongside humans, they shared food. A dog’s diet was much like that of its owners – they got whatever could be spared, such as scraps of bone with leftover meat and cartilage, horsemeat, cabbage, potatoes, and stale bread.
As society progressed and dog ownership grew, there were never enough table scraps and leftovers to feed our dogs, and so in the 1850s, the first dog biscuit was created by businessman James Spratt.
The biscuit was made from wheat, vegetables, beetroot, and bound with beef blood and was the start of commercial dry dog food as we know it. In 1922 canned wet food was introduced, the main ingredient being horsemeat.
You’ll love the below video explaining the history of dog food. It provides the scientific answer to why dogs can eat “people” food.
Why does this matter?
In short, it doesn’t, as nothing has changed! These days, you can buy luxury dog food containing duck, salmon, berries, and pumpkin – but IT’S LITERALLY HUMAN FOOD IN DOG PACKAGING!
How to Feed Dogs Human Food: Safety First!
When feeding your Labrador human foods, there are a few important safety rules you should follow:
- Human foods that you feed your Labrador should be in moderation. The general rule is that treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories.
- Introduce different foods gradually. This should prevent any unwanted side effects.
- Cook all meats – unless your Lab is familiar with a safely prepared raw diet. Make sure the meat is lean with all fat removed and free of bones, as small bones can easily splinter and cause damage to your dog’s mouth or throat, choking, or a digestive blockage.
- Avoid processed meats such as ham, sausage, and bacon as they contain high amounts of salt or seasoning.
- Dogs with lactose intolerance should not consume dairy products. There are different levels of lactose in dairy foods, so your Labrador may be able to tolerate some foods but not others. For example, my dog can eat cheese and yogurt, but she reacts to even a few licks of heavy whipping cream!
- Fish should be cooked – due to the risk of bacteria. Don’t add any additional oils or seasonings, and remove all bones. Longer living species of fish such as mackerel and tuna may contain high amounts of mercury, so if you opt for these types, feed sparingly.
- Remove seeds or pits from fruits. Examples are nectarines, peaches, and plums. They contain traces of toxic cyanide, and they are also a choking hazard. Check out my comprehensive guide, 29 Fruits Labradors Can Eat: And 5 They Can’t! for greater insight.
- Vegetables are better cooked. This is because dogs will find them easier to digest, but some can be given raw such as carrots and green beans. You can find out loads more on this topic in my article, 28 Vegetables Labradors Can Eat: And 8 That Are Toxic!
What Foods Can Labradors Not Eat?
Poisoning episodes in dogs are usually due to a lack of knowledge by the owner, as reported by Frontiers in Veterinary Science. So, as we learn what human foods Labradors can eat, we should also find out what foods they can’t eat.
Below is a list of the poisonous foods that your Labrador can’t eat. Some poisonings could result in severe illness or worse – depending on the amount consumed and the potency.
You can find out loads more detail about poisonous foods to Labs in this article.
- Caffeine (coffee, tea, etc.)
- Chocolate and cocoa
- Macadamia Nuts (Australian nuts)
- Onions, Shallots, Leeks, and Chives
- Potato (raw or green)
- Rhubarb leaves
- Star fruit
- Tomatoes (green)
- Xylitol (sweetener)
- Yeast dough
- Walnuts (black)
If you are unsure about the toxicity of foods, plants, medicines, and household items your dog has accidentally consumed, the Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours a day for expert help and advice.
Alternatively, if you suspect your dog has consumed something potentially deadly, consult your veterinarian immediately as timing can mean life or death in serious cases of dog poisoning.
There are many foods your Labrador can safely eat. However, you should remember that all dogs are different, just like humans, and it’s always best to get advice from your vet if you have any doubts about whether a particular food is okay for your dog.
Although I feed my dog high-quality food, I enjoy adding different foods to her bowl. I think it’s nice to mix things up for her and to let her taste different flavors and experience other textures. She tends to agree too!
Whatever you decide to give your dog, remember to follow the safety guidelines outlined above.
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