Dog food guide

Foods your dog can and can't eat


Find out more about the foods your dog can and can't eat

Our helpful food guide for your dog

Always curious and often greedy, dogs are prone to eating things that maybe they shouldn't! In this guide, we have highlighted just some of the more common and unusual foods, as well as non-food items that should and should not be eaten by your dog.



Bananas - Yes, dogs can eat bananas (with the skin removed of course) but in moderation. Bananas can be a good treat for your dog, as they contain important nutrients such as Potassium, Fibre, Magnesium, Vitamin B6 and C. However, bananas also contain natural sugars, so should only be fed occasionally to your dog to help avoid weight gain.

Avocado - No, dogs should not be fed avocados, as the skin and flesh of the avocado contains Persin. Persin is a fungicidal toxin produced by avocados, which can cause serious health issues if consumed by dogs, including, vomiting, diarrhoea, behavioural changes and weakness.

Pineapple - Full of natural vitamins and minerals, including Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin C, Potassium, and Fiber, pineapples are safe to feed to your dog (with the spikey skin and top removed). Pineapples should only be fed to your dog in small quantities, as they contain natural sugars which can cause weight gain if eaten too regularly.

Grapes - Considered highly toxic for dogs, fresh grapes (as well as dried raisins, currants and sultanas) should be avoided at all costs. Although it hasn't exactly been determined what in grapes is dangerous for dogs, these fruits can cause significant health issues including stomach discomfort, vomiting, diarrhoea, kidney failure and even death. 



Tomatoes - Yes, tomatoes are safe for dogs to consume on occasion, but only if the tomato is ripe and ready to eat. A natural chemical called Solanine, can be found in un-ripe tomatoes and within the stem and leaves. If consumed by dogs in large amounts, Solanine can cause tomatine poisoning which can induce vomiting, abdominal pains and weakness.

Onions - Whether cooked or raw, onions should not be fed to your dog. It will generally depend on how much onion your dog has consumed and the size of your dog, which can determine how they will be affected. If your dog has consumed a large amount of onion, the toxin Allyl propyl disulfide could damage your dogs red blood cells and possibly lead to anaemia.

Broccoli - Only to be given as an occasional treat, dogs can eat raw or cooked broccoli (with no seasoning). However, broccoli contains natural isothiocyanates stored in the florets, which can cause gastric irritation in some dogs. Broccoli can also be a choking hazard, so make sure to feed small pieces to your dog.

Mushrooms - While dogs should be fine eating mushrooms that humans can, there are many varieties of wild mushrooms that are highly poisonous to dogs and humans. If you see your dog eating a mushroom in the wild, unless you can 100% be certain of the variety, keep a close eye on your dog in case it was poisonous.

Sweet and savoury

Sweet and savoury

Chocolate - Can dogs eat chocolate? The answer is no! Theobromine is a natural chemical compound found in chocolate, which can be digested by humans. However, a build-up of Theobromine in dogs, can lead to serious health issues, including an increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, changes in behaviour and even death.

Bones - When it comes to bones, they should be considered with caution. Cooked chicken bones in particular are delicate and therefore can easily splinter, causing internal damage to your dogs organs. Cooked bones from any animal should never be fed to your dog. However, raw beef, lamb, chicken and turkey bones can be fed to your dog.

Xylitol - Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar which is commonly used as a sweetener. Often found in chewable sweets and gum, it may seem harmless to dogs. So, what happens if my dog eats Xylitol? Xylitol can cause serious health issues in dogs, including the lowering of sugar levels, liver damage and even death.

Cheese - What kind of cheese can dogs eat? Dogs can eat MOST cheeses. However, blue cheeses, in particular Roquefort and Stilton and those that contain a natural substance called Roquefortine C, can cause illness in your dog if consumed. As cheeses are high in fats, they should only be given to your dog in tiny amounts as a rare treat. 

Unusual things

Unusual things your dog might eat

Dirt - Why do dogs eat dirt? If you find that your dog is regularly eating dirt, then it could mean a number of things. Your dog might be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals or suffering from an irritable stomach. It could indicate that your dog is bored and lacking stimulation. Or it could also be a sign that your dog is stressed and anxious.

Grass - When dogs eat grass, it does not necessarily mean they are feeling ill. Yes, dogs will eat grass if they want to induce vomiting if they are feeling unwell, but it could indicate that they are lacking certain vitamins and minerals, are bored or simply enjoy the taste. If your dog is ignoring his food and just eating grass, then you must take them to the vet.

Horse manure - It is not uncommon to find dogs nibbling on horse or cow manure. However, it should not be consumed in large amounts, as horse and cattle worming treatments and parasite medications can be found in the manure. Some treatments contain the chemical Ivermectin, which if consumed in large amounts, can be fatal to dogs.  

Stones - Some dogs will often pick up and play with stones, and some will even chew or eat them. If your dog is excessively eating stones, it could indicate your dog is either bored and lacking stimulation, that they are stressed or anxious, or are lacking in essential minerals. Stone eating should be taken seriously, as it can damage a dogs teeth and digestive system.

Dog insurance

Insurance for dogs and puppies

We understand that pet owners want to feed their dogs with good quality and nutritious food. But sometimes your dog might snack on something they shouldn't! Pet insurance from petGuard can help provide you with a safety net against expensive vet fees if your dog becomes unwell or hurts themselves. With petGuard, you can get specialist dog and puppy insurance that could help you with paying for your vet fees and more!

Frequently asked questions about dog insurance

Want to find out more about our dog insurance?

Got a question about our cover for your dog? Or want to know more about dogs in general? We’ve answered a few questions for you here!

Dog insurance is designed to protect you against the cost of vet treatments, should your dog fall ill or get injured. Some providers also cover you if your dog passes away, if they’re lost or stolen, or if they cause damage to a third party’s property.

Dog insurance can cost less than you might think. And when you consider that the average dog insurance claim is around £793, it may be worth thinking about. If your dog were to develop an ongoing health condition, the amount of money you would need to pay in vet bills could rise considerably. The question you need to ask yourself is, if my dog gets ill or injured long-term, how will I find the money to pay for all the treatment they need?

Dog insurance isn’t compulsory. But it’s worth remembering that owning a dog can be expensive. For example, the cost of vet bills has risen steadily over the past few years. If your dog were to become ill or suffer an injury, could you afford to pay for treatment? Pet insurers paid out over £750 million in vet bills in 2019, that’s the equivalent of £2 million every day. By choosing dog insurance, you can give yourself financial protection if something were to happen to your dog.

Get a quote here >

At petGuard, we offer dog insurance designed to provide pet owners like you with a range of useful benefits, including:

  • Cover towards the cost of vet bills
  • Emergency boarding if you’re hospitalised and unable to care for your pet
  • Multi-dog discount if you put more than one pet on the same policy
  • Holiday cancellation – if you have to cancel your trip because your dog falls ill or gets injured
  • Accidental damage to dog accessories

Note: Excesses, terms and conditions apply. Click here to find out more.

Before you decide to buy dog insurance, you need to weigh up the following factors:

Your dog's age

Some dog insurance providers won’t cover your dog if it’s older than eight years old, or younger than eight weeks old.

Pre-existing conditions

petGuard is unable to cover your dog if it has a pre-existing medical condition.

How many pets you have

Do you have more than one pet? If so, it’s worth asking for a discount. At petGuard, you can add up to five pets on the same policy to receive our multi-pet discount!

Put simply, Accident and Illness dog insurance protects your dog from accidents that may arise, as well as illness and sickness, which requires medical attention. Accident and Illness insurance is suitable for you if you want some financial protection against the cost of vet bills, should your dog fall ill or suffer an accidental injury.

Accident Only dog insurance is suitable for you if you only want to cover yourself against the cost of vet bills, should your dog suffer an accidental injury only, not if your dog falls ill. Some people choose Accident Only dog insurance while their dog is still a puppy and less at risk of developing a health condition.

A pre-existing condition is any health condition that you're aware of, had investigated or treated, or seen symptoms of prior to the start of your puppy insurance. At petGuard, we're unable to provide cover for any pet with a pre-existing condition.

Multi-pet insurance covers all of your pets under one policy. You can usually expect to get a discount for adding multiple pets to one policy, though this isn’t always the case. You can get a multi-pet discount if you include more than one pet on the same policy (up to five pets maximum) here at petGuard!

If you’ve got more than one dog, then why not look at multi-pet insurance?

Instead of having each of your dogs on different pet policies, with our multi-pet insurance, you can save any hassle and take advantage of our multi-pet discount. You can cover up to five dogs on one policy. We are unable to insure dogs that are used for breeding purposes and pre-existing illnesses and conditions are not covered.

If you’ve got dogs and cats at home, then why not look at multi-pet insurance?

Instead of having each of your dogs and cats on different pet policies, with our multi-pet insurance you can save any hassle and take advantage of our multi-pet discount. You can cover up to five pets on one policy. We are unable to insure dogs and cats that are used for breeding purposes and pre-existing illnesses and conditions are not covered.

You never know what’s around the corner. If your dog were to fall ill or get injured, could you cover the cost of the vet bill? If your dog is older and the illness or injury turned into a long-term condition, the costs could spiral. All things considered, you may want to get cover for your pet sooner rather than later. Just be aware that there are some restrictions around when you can get your pet insured. At petGuard We cannot cover dogs under eight weeks of age.

Get a quote here >

Insurance for your cat or dog can start as soon as possible! Our cover starts for cats and dogs aged eight weeks and over. We cannot cover claims arising within the first 14 days of your insurance starting and pre-existing illnesses and conditions are not covered.

Public Liability insurance for your dog, sometimes referred to as Third Party Liability insurance, can provide up to £2million per event if your dog injures someone or damages property and you are held liable.

If you’re out for a walk with your dog and they were to knock somebody over, then we can keep you covered if you’ve chosen our Public Liability option.

Heading out for a dog walk shouldn’t end in hefty compensation costs, which is why we offer dog owners Public Liability protection for claims of property damage or injury from a third party.

Cover only applies in the UK.

Some dog breeds cannot be covered by our Third Party Liability option, see “Are there any breeds of dog that you are unable to insure?” For assistance dogs to qualify for Third Party Liability cover, they must have been trained by a member of, and within the guidance of, the organisation of Assistance Dogs UK.

Yes! Our pet insurance includes older dogs. If you’re looking to get insurance for your long-time companion, or whether you’ve recently taken in an older dog, then we can provide you and your dog with cover.

What about dogs over eight years of age?

Much like us, as dogs get older their health and behaviour may have changed since they were a young pup. This might mean that they need more frequent trips to the vet. Their treatment can even be complicated by their old age and therefore potentially more expensive.

If you’ve got a dog over eight years of age and you’re making a claim for their vet fees, then the excess that you must pay is:

  • The first £150
  • Plus 20% of the remaining cost of treatment

The excess applies to each condition claimed for annually.

Standard dog insurance policies usually last for a 12-month period. After this time, you’ll need to renew the policy you have, if you want to keep the cover in place. If you choose to look elsewhere for your policy, then be aware that any long-term or pre-existing conditions will probably not be covered by a different pet insurance provider.

Having insurance for your dog means that you can be covered against the cost of potentially very expensive trips to the vet.

You get to choose either Accident Only cover or cover for Accident and Illness for your dog. We offer three levels of vet fee cover, which means that you can be covered for up to £3,000, £6,000 or £12,000 per year.

If your claim has been successful, then we can pay the agreed amount, less any excess, either:

  • Straight into your bank account so you aren't left out of pocket, or;
  • To your vet if this is more convenient for you and your vet.

All vet fee claims are handled in the UK by Covea Insurance. While your claim is being dealt with, you can receive regular updates on its progress via email or text message.

Yes! Our Accident Only cover still offers you the same great choice of annual vet fee cover options for £3,000, £6,000 or £12,000.

Dogs can suffer injuries when you least expect it. Whether they’ve hurt themselves while out for a walk, or if playtime has ended in a trip to the vets.

Our Accident Only policy provides you with an uncomplicated level of cover for your dog which aims to protect you against potentially expensive trips to the vet to treat your dog for an injury.

Vet fees arising from illnesses that your dog may be suffering from are not covered and the excess you will be required to pay for treatment for injury depends on the age of your pet. Unfortunately, we can’t cover any pre-existing conditions; nor claims for injury within the first 48 hours of your cover starting.

Yes! Our dog insurance includes mixed breed dogs, as well as pedigree and cross breed dogs. If you’ve got a mixed breed pooch, then we can include them on your policy.

Unfortunately, we cannot cover (whether pedigree, cross breed or mixed breed) any of the following: Dogo Argentino, Fila Brazillero, Japanese Tosa, Pit Bull, Shar-Pei, Wolf or Wolf Hybrid dog and any animal registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and/or the Dogs (Muzzling) regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 or any amendments.

There are additional breeds that we cannot cover for our optional Third Party Liability cover, see “Are there any breeds of dog that you are unable to insure?”

BOAS (Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome) is a condition which is a progressive disorder that can impair the ability of certain breeds of short nose dog to exercise, play, eat and sleep.

We are able to consider claims provided that there are no pre-existing signs, symptoms or advice provided by a vet. In practice this usually means that the dog has to be insured with us from a very young age.

Yes, we are able to cover working dogs. This would include a dog that is being used for shooting, hunting, or working with livestock. Also a dog that performs tasks to assist a human companion, including therapy dogs.

Unfortunately, for all of our policies, we cannot provide any cover (whether pedigree, cross breed or mixed breed) for the following: Dogo Argentino, Fila Brazillero, Japanese Tosa, Pit Bull, Shar-Pei, Wolf or Wolf Hybrid dog and any animal registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and/or the Dogs (Muzzling) regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 or any amendments.

For those that choose our Third Party Liability cover option, we cannot provide the Third Party Liability cover in any circumstances for any insured dog that is required to be registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and/or the Dogs (Muzzling) regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 or any amendments, or any American Bulldog, American Indian Dog, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bandog, Boerboel, Bully Kutta, Canary Dog, Cane Corso, Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, Dingo, Dogo Argentino, Dogue Brasileiro, Fila Brasileiro, Gull Dong, Husky Wolf Hybrid, Irish Staffordshire Blue Bull Terrier, Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Pit Bull Terrier, Saarlooswolfhound, Tosa, Tosa Inu, Wolf Hybrid, Wolfdog, or any dog crossbred or mixed with any of these breeds.

No, we cannot cover pets that are used for guarding.

Yes, we are able to cover a crossbreed dog.

Yes, we can provide vet fee cover if your insured dog is an assistance dog. In addition, we are able to offer our optional Third Party Liability cover as long as they have been trained, or are in the process of being trained, in strict accordance with the guidance of a member organisation of Assistance Dogs UK.

Unfortunately, we are unable to cover any costs resulting from a pre-existing medical condition or an illness first occurring or showing clinical signs prior to cover, or within the first 14 days of the start of cover for your pet.

Veterinary Fees

Choose between £3,000, £6,000 or £12,000 per year in vet fee cover (this excludes any claims within the first 14 days of purchasing cover and any pre-existing conditions).

Emergency Boarding

If you require hospital treatment, which means you’re unable to care for your dog, we can cover the cost of daily minding or boarding fees of up to £1,500, while you’re on the mend. Cover applies for hospital stays of more than four consecutive days.

Holiday Cancellation

If you have to cancel or cut short your holiday because your dog becomes ill or suffers an injury, we can pay out up to £5,000 towards the cost of a cancelled trip (exclusions apply to conditions and illnesses).

Pet Accessories

If your dog’s cage or tracking device gets damaged or stolen, we can provide up to £500 to either repair or replace. Accessories or pet-related equipment must be owned from new and security requirements apply.

Yes, you can add this benefit to your policy as an optional extra. We can provide up to £2million per event in Public Liability insurance, if your dog injures someone or damages someone’s property and you are held liable. Cover for Third Party Liability only applies in the UK.

Terms and conditions apply. Click here to find out more

With petGuard, you also have the option to add extra benefits to your cover, including:

Overseas Travel

For each illness or injury arising during each period of insurance your excess will be:

  • Up to £1,500 for emergency expenses, per trip.
  • If your pet’s microchip fails, we can cover the kennelling and costs incurred in getting a new pet travel document for your pet.
  • If your pet has to go into quarantine due to illness, where you have complied with all the required regulations of the Pet Travel Scheme, we can cover the kennelling.

Maximum 60 days per trip. Your puppy must comply with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).

Third Party Liability

We can cover up to £2million per event to protect you against claims made against you if your dog injures another person, or accidentally damages another person’s property. Cover for Third Party Liability applies in the UK only.

Click here to find out more about our additional cover dog cover.

Your pet must be eight weeks old at the start date of cover. There is no maximum pet age to apply for this insurance, but there are age limits on cover sections.

Death due to illness is limited to pets under five years of age at the time of the incident. Full details are found in the policy wording.

Provided that you have chosen our Accident and Illness cover we will refresh your veterinary fees benefit each year allowing you to claim for ongoing conditions on your pet insurance for as long as we are able to offer a renewal and you renew without a gap in cover.

Yes. Depending on the type of cover you select we are able to cover treatment provided that it is related to an injury or illness.

No, we cannot provide cover for pets that are used for breeding. There are special policies for their specific risks, and we suggest you speak to your vet or local insurance broker for help finding suitable cover.

We offer a choice of three annual benefit levels. You can insure up to the chosen limit each year and provided that we are able to offer renewal and you renew without a gap in cover the benefit will be reinstated for the next period of insurance. This means that you can claim for chronic or ongoing conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart or skin conditions whilst the policy remains in force.

Yes. You must be a UK resident and domiciled in the UK.

Yes there is an excess you will need to pay in respect of each illness or injury for which you wish to claim each year. These are as follows:

Veterinary Fees

For each illness or injury arising during each period of insurance your excess will be:

  • For pets under eight years of age at time of treatment: The first £150.
  • For pets older than eight years of age at time of treatment: The first £150 plus 20% of the remaining cost of treatment.

Holiday Cancellation - The first £75 of the claim

Accidental Damage to Third Party Property The first £75 of the claim

Accidental Damage to Pet Accessories - The first £50 of the claim

Emergency Expenses - The first £50 of the claim

Third Party Liability The first £250 of property damage claim

We need some details about you and the pet you wish to insure together with either bank account or debit/credit card details for payment of the premium.

We look at a number of factors including the age and breed of the pet, the risk of chronic or recurring conditions associated with certain breeds, the area the pet lives in and any claims history.

You can choose to pay in full by credit or debit card. Alternatively, you can take advantage of our interest free monthly payment option and simply spread the payments out, without any additional cost.

This is something we are able to do provided that your vet is happy with this arrangement.

If you need to make a claim (excluding Third Party Liability claims), then feel free to contact our UK-based claims team. Once you've made a claim, we can keep you updated regularly by text or email.

Make your claim by either calling Covea Insurance on: 0333 130 4534 or email:

For Third Party Liability claims, contact Ageas Insurance Ltd on: 0345 415 0495

For Dog Liability claims, please contact Ageas Insurance by either phone: 0345 415 0495 or email:

As the insurance policy is a legal agreement between us and the policyholder, we can only set up a policy with the person who will be named as the policyholder.

Travelling with your pet within the European Union is due to be affected by developments regarding Brexit. Her Majesty’s Government has clarified that until an agreement has been reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union you will need to follow the guidance set out below for any pet that travels overseas from 1st January 2021. More details on the current guidance and requirements for travelling abroad with your pet can be found in our section on How will Brexit affect travelling with my pet?

  1. Ensure your pet is microchipped
  2. Have your pet vaccinated against rabies. It is advised that your pet has a blood test at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination or booster to ensure the rabies antibodies are present
  3. Wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you choose to travel. You will need to ensure your vet gives you a copy of the test results and records the date the blood sample was taken on your Animal Health Certificate (AHC).

Please be advised that you will not be allowed to travel with your pet if you have not completed the steps above.

If your pet's blood test result is unfortunately unsuccessful, you’ll need to repeat the vaccination and the process above until it is successful before your pet is able to travel.

If you have any queries relating to any future travel you may have planned, please contact your vet. You can also view the Government guidance on pet travel here. It is important that you follow all up to date Government guidance when traveling abroad with your pet.

With our optional Overseas Travel cover, you can get travel insurance for your pet so that you don’t have to leave them behind when you head away. We can help with the cost of vet fees abroad, as well as providing up to £1,500 to cover emergency expenses (maximum 60 days of cover per trip). Overseas Travel can be a useful option if you are planning to take your pet on holiday with you, providing your pet complies with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). This allows you to travel with your pet to anywhere in Europe (including Channel Islands consisting of the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland).

You can read more about our optional Overseas Travel cover and how Brexit is affecting travelling with your pets from January 1st here.

To help reduce the stress levels in your cat or dog, traveling by car or train is usually the better option. If you have no choice but to travel by plane, flying is still a safe option for your pet. However, traveling by car does allow pet owners to keep a much closer eye on their pets, with the added bonus of being able to pull-over for breaks as often as you want. When traveling by train or plane, there will be tighter restrictions on where your pet can sit, how often (if they can in fact) move around, and with more people traveling alongside you, your pet could become increasingly stressed.

Before traveling on any long journey, carefully consider what the best form of transport for your cat or dog would be, and how you feel they would cope on the journey.

Most airlines will allow you to take a cat or dog on the plane, either in the cabin or down below in cargo. Before booking your flight, check with the airline that they can in fact, fly your pet. You may have to book in advance, with some airlines charging additional fees for traveling pets.

Your pet will need pet travel documents before they can fly, as this will need to be presented to the airline when checking in your pet. Depending on where your pet is flying from and where they are flying to, they will need to have certain vaccinations and treatments for illnesses such as rabies or tapeworm. You will most likely need to proof of the vaccinations and treatment from your vet.

If you’re traveling abroad, or simply going away for a few days in the UK, it’s still a good idea to prep your pet for the journey. Such preparation measures could help reduce the stress levels in your pet, help you understand how best your pet travels, and help make the journey that little bit easier for both you and your pet.

  • Before taking your pet on any long car journey, take them on short drives close to home, while slowly increasing the amount of time spent in the car. This will not only help them get used to being confined in a car, but it could help them overcome travel sickness if they suffer from it.
  • Avoid feeding your cat or dog right before traveling, as the motion of the car, train or plane could upset their stomach. Make sure they have plenty of water, so they are well hydrated.
  • Before any long journey, consider the health of your pet. Are they fit and healthy enough to travel? Make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations and treatments and be sure to check if they need any additional ones, as this could be a requirement of certain countries or airlines.
  • To help ensure your pet is comfortable while traveling, make sure they have plenty of water, (food but depending how well they travel on a full stomach), toys to keep them occupied, and a comfortable place to sleep and rest. Most importantly, they need to be secured while traveling, whether it be in a crate that is large enough for them to sit in, stand and move around in, or strapped in using a proper pet seat belt for the car.

If you don’t want to take your cat or dog on holiday with you, then why not consider the following instead:

  • Leave your pet with a friend or family member
  • Have a qualified pet-sitter come around to your home, to feed, walk and check-up on your pet
  • Take your pet to a reputable kennel or cattery

Your policy document explorer

Documents apply to all pet insurance policies purchased from 27/09/2020 onwards.

Existing customers: If you purchased your policy before the date shown above, you can log into your account where you can view, amend, and renew your documents here. If you have not already signed up for an account, then you can register here.

If you purchased your policy before 23rd September 2019, please contact us on: 0345 450 7042

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