Top 10 Healthiest Human Foods For Dogs
If you’re a dog owner, you know how hard it can be to resist your pet’s big, soft eyes when you’re eating a meal. But instead of tossing your dog a scrap that may be harmful, consider supplementing his or her regular chow with healthy, wholesome, low-processed human fare. There are several common foods that offer canine health benefits such as increased energy, a shinier coat and a stronger immune system. Check with your veterinarian prior to making any dietary changes, then practice moderation and be alert for signs of allergic reactions whenever you introduce a new food.
Keep reading to discover the 10 healthiest human foods that also are delicious and nutritious for your canine pal, as well as foods that are considered toxic to dogs.
Healthy Human Foods for Dogs
Peanut butter — This nutty spread is a healthy and safe treat to give your pooch in moderate amounts. It may take him or her a while to eat, but it’s packed with protein, healthy fats, niacin and vitamins B and E. Choose the unsalted variety and make sure it doesn’t contain sugar substitutes such as Xylitol, which can be deadly for dogs.
Carrots — Raw carrots are high in fiber and vitamin A and low in calories, which makes them a great snack for overweight pooches. Chewing a raw carrot can help remove plaque from your dog’s teeth, while the vegetable’s generous dose of beta-carotene can improve eyesight. If your pet has digestive issues, consider steamed or boiled carrots.
Eggs — Have your pup join you for breakfast. Adding eggs to your pet’s diet is a great way to give him or her a boost of protein. They’re also a source of easily digestible riboflavin and selenium. Avoid feeding raw eggs to your dog, as they carry the risk of salmonella.
Green beans — These green veggies are recommended by veterinarians for dogs that need to lose weight. Green beans are high in fiber and low in calories, making them an ideal healthy treat compared to dog biscuits. They’re loaded with vitamins A, K and C, which can promote a healthy blood composition, aid the immune system and improve eyesight. Be sure to serve the beans plain.
Plain yogurt — If your pup isn’t lactose intolerant, yogurt can be an acceptable snack. High in calcium and protein, the creamy delight has the added benefit of probiotics, which can help strengthen the digestive system. Be sure to opt for plain low-fat or skim yogurt.
Cooked chicken — Lean meats such as chicken are a great source of B vitamins, protein and amino acids, which boost energy and metabolism. Look for cuts without visible fat and avoid ground meat, which can have a higher fat content. The omega-3 fatty acids present in chicken can encourage a healthy coat, while its glucosamine content can promote healthy bones. Serve the lean protein sans seasonings and marinades, and beware of cooked chicken bones — they can become a choking hazard or even tear your pup’s windpipe or digestive tract. Avoid feeding your dog processed meats such as bacon, sausage and deli meats.
Sweet potatoes — Plain cooked sweet potatoes are an excellent addition to your dog’s diet. Loaded with fiber, beta-carotene and vitamins B6 and C, this sweet-tasting starch aids your dog’s digestion and eyesight, and promotes healthy fur and skin. The manganese found in sweet potatoes is essential for energy production and usage.
Apples — Does your furry friend have stinky breath? Feed him or her some apple slices. Chewing the crisp, fibrous skin of apples can help clean plaque from your dog’s teeth and promote saliva production, which can help neutralize acids and freshen breath. Apples also are a great source of minerals, antioxidants, fiber and vitamins A and C. Remove the seeds and core before feeding them to your dog. You can even freeze apple slices for an icy, sweet treat.
Pumpkin — If your pup has digestion issues, pumpkin can be a healthy addition to his or her diet. The tasty superfood contains fiber which keeps the GI tract moving. It’s also loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene. Canned or fresh, cooked pumpkin is great for sensitive stomachs. Pumpkin seeds can be ground up and sprinkled over your dog’s food. They contain an amino acid called cucurbitin, which can be used as a deworming agent to rid dogs of certain parasites that thrive in the digestive tract.
Oatmeal — As long as your pooch isn’t sensitive to grains, plain cooked oatmeal is an excellent source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and soluble dietary fiber. Avoid flavored oatmeal, which may contain extra ingredients that could be harmful to your pup. Soluble fiber regulates the level of glucose in your dog’s blood, which may help prevent diabetes. Add a spoonful to your canine’s food or serve him or her a cup for breakfast once a week.
Dangerous Human Foods for Dogs
Not all human foods are safe for canines, so keep your pet far from these highly toxic snacks:
Chocolate — The cocoa present in chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, which dogs process very slowly compared to humans. It can cause seizures, vomiting and even heart attack.
Grapes and raisins — These fruits contain compounds that have the potential to cause rapid kidney failure or death in dogs. Ingesting even the smallest amount can cause a severe reaction.
Onions/garlic — If consumed in large amounts, onions and garlic can cause gastrointestinal irritation or red blood cell damage, which can cause anemia. Keep your pup far away from the onion scraps in the garbage.
Avocados — This fruit contains a toxin called persin, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and congestive heart failure in dogs.
Safe, healthy human foods provide ample amounts of energy and vitamins, which are paramount to maintaining your dog’s well-being and vitality. So, say goodbye to the same old commercial dog treats and give your furry friend a wholesome snack that will please both of you.
Author bio: Stephanie N. Blahut is Director of Digital Marketing and Technology for Figo Pet Insurance. Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology — the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud — and the industry’s best pet insurance plans.