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Human Foods That are Good for Dogs
Although most dog food is made from human food, the way it is processed and cooked allows the dog's digestive system to properly digest these foods. Not all human food is easily digested by dogs, many foods contain toxins and other ingredients that can cause gastrointestinal problems, along with other digestive upsets, and allergies.
These foods are meant to be treats for your dogs and are not meant as a supplement for dog food. As long as these foods are portioned, limited and do not contain the fatty pieces or seasonings, they can have great health benefits for dogs.
As with adding anything to your pet's diet, it's always a good idea to watch the behavior of your pet to make sure they do not have any digestive problems, or allergic reactions to new foods. Always add one or two new foods at a time so you can watch your dog properly for any adverse effects. It is also wise to always consult your veterinarian before making an substantial changes in your dog's diet.
Each dog is an individual and their diet should represent that. There is no one size fits all diet for dogs and what works for one dog will not always work for another. Dogs within the same family or even same breed may need different nutritional requirements and have different allergies.
Below is a list that I have compiled after doing much research. I recommended always doing your own research and consulting your dog's veterinarian before adding new foods or drastically changing their diet.
Traditional dog treats from the store were making my puppy gassy, and being able to substitute these healthy treats for my puppy is perfect. She gets great health benefits for her teeth, and additional fiber from her treats and best of all, no gas.
When giving treats to your dog it's a good idea to never feed more than five to ten percent of your pet's diet with these treats. A balanced and nutrient rich diet filled with vet recommended quality dog food along with these healthy treats will ensure an active and healthy life for your pet.
Meats and Proteins for Dogs:
- Wild game: There is a huge variety of wild game that you can feed your dog. Your region will greatly influence what you have available to you, however dogs can eat anything from large prey such as elk, caribou, and deer to the smallest of rodents including squirrels and mice. They can also eat prey such as pheasant, chicken, turkey, and quail. This is by no means an all inclusive list, but rather gives you a general idea of what you can feed to your dog.
* If you don't know where your wild game is coming from it is important to double check for shot (bullets), as lead can cause major issues for your dog including but not limited to lead poisoning. It is also recommended to freeze your wild game for at least a month to kill any possible parasites. If you know where your meat is coming from however, freezing is not always necessary. Not all diseases are going to die off by freezing, so if you suspect chronic wasting disease for example you are going to want to throw out the meat, as this disease can not be killed by freezing or cooking.
- Pork Products: It is still widely debated about whether or not pork and all by products are harmful or okay for your dog, however as a general rule pork is okay. It is best to avoid or limit the highly fatty pork products such as bacon or loins as these products can cause gastrointestinal problems. Lean cuts of pork such as the tenderloin are fine served raw or cooked as long as they are handled properly and cooked without spices.
- Fish: Salmon in particular is a great source of protein and Omega 3's. Salmon needs to be cooked before serving as it contains many harmful parasites when served raw. Other fish that can be served to dogs include: trout, pike, walleye, flounder, and arctic char. Be sure to remove all bones and do not season the fish when feeding to your dog. Tuna in small amounts can be okay, but I advise closely monitoring your dog's tuna intake as tuna is high in mercury and should not be eaten often. Canned tuna is generally better.
- Peanut Butter and Nuts: Peanut butter and peanuts in general are a great source of protein for your dog. Peanut butter makes a great treat spread on fruits or chew toys. Like humans dogs can be allergic to peanut butter so it is important to watch your dog after feeding them peanut butter to make sure they are not having any adverse reactions.
Roasted or cooked cashews are also good on occasion, be sure to buy the unsalted kind. Cashews are a fatty nut and should be given in moderation, as large portions can cause issues for your dog's stomach. Like cashews, almonds and pistachios are highly fatty and should not be given to your dog in large amounts. A piece here or there will be okay, but they should not be given every day and not in handful size portions.
* It is important to note that not all nuts are good for your dog. Macadamia nuts, pecans, and walnuts are extremely toxic to dogs and should be avoided.
Vegetables for Dogs:
Most dogs cannot digest raw vegetables and will benefit greatly from veggies that are cooked and pureed or chopped. As with fruit, vegetables should not make up more than 10 to 25 percent of their daily diet.
- Green Beans
- Broccoli: Only in moderation. Large amounts can be toxic to dogs and create gastrointestinal problems.
You can read my hub Vegetables That Are Good For Dogs here for an in-depth look at which vegetables are good for your pet.
Dog Friendly Fruits:
Most fruits contain large amounts of sugar and should only be given as treats and not incorporated into their regular diet. Remember to remove seeds, stems, leaves, and rinds as they can cause serious health problems for your dog.
- Raspberries: These fruits contain low levels of sugars and calories and are high in fiber making them a perfect treat. They do contain small amounts of toxins so limit to a cup or less per serving.
- Apples: A great fruit for dogs. Avoid the core and seeds as these are highly toxic for dogs. Apple slices paired with peanut butter make a delicious snack, even for our furry friends.
- Bananas: Low calorie snack that is full of nutrients. Bananas contain a lot of sugar and should only be given on occasion.
- Watermelon: Mostly made of water, watermelons provide another way to help keep your dog hydrated on those hot summer days. Be sure to remove seeds and rinds before giving them to your pet.
- Peaches: Can be okay in small amounts. It is still debated whether or not peaches should be given to dogs, however small chunks that are cut away from the pits are okay.
- Oranges: Should only be given on occasion. A third up to a half an orange is a good amount for small and medium sized dogs.
- Pumpkin: Great source of fiber, however many dogs may be allergic. It is highly recommended to consult your veterinarian and to always watch your dog closely when first introducing new foods.
* Grapes and raisins are highly toxic and should never be given to dogs *
Human Foods for Dogs:
There is a vast list of foods that are equally healthy and beneficial for dogs as they are for humans. Below I've compiled a short list of just a select few that are perfect for the occasional treat.
- Grains: Most do not carry health benefits, however as a general rule they are not harmful to your pet.
- Popcorn unsalted and not buttered can be used as an occasional treat. My dog loves popcorn and will wait by the microwave until she gets some.
- Bread has absolutely no health benefits, but can be the perfect way to hide any unwanted pills or medications your dog may not be happy about taking.
- Rice is the easiest for dogs to digest and helps with upset stomach issues.
- Pasta is another great grain for upset stomach issues.
- Dairy: Most dogs are lactose intolerant or have stomach issues with certain dairy products. It is important to watch your dog to make sure they don't have an allergic reaction before adding too much dairy to their diet.
- Eggs are an excellent source of protein and are perfectly healthy for your dog as long as they are fully cooked. Never feed raw eggs to your dog. Fully cooked eggs can help an upset stomach.
- Cheese is low in lactose and is a great dairy source for most dogs. Many cheeses can be high in fats so I recommend choosing low fat varieties such as cottage cheese.
- Yogurt with no additives can be used as a treat. Plain is the only kind that should be fed to your dog as flavored yogurts have too much sugar.
The key to feeding pets is always moderation. By choosing small portions and limiting these foods to special occassions or once a week you will be able to monitor any adverse effects that could be caused by introducing these new foods. Always consult your veterinarian before supplementing or drastically changing your dog's diet.
© 2012 Cholee Clay