You know that certain foods that you may love, (onions, garlic, chives, chocolate, macadamia nuts and avocados), are particularly toxic for dogs. If you didn’t know it before, you know it now.
However, it can be difficult to resist your dog’s big, dark eyes asking to share your meal. For your dog, it’s not so much wanting the food, it is more about being included by sharing your food and as a result, being in the people pack. So, if you know what foods are good for your dog, you can share without being guilty of “killing your dog with kindness”.
Nutrition Dogs Need
Although your dog has the teeth of a carnivore, he or she has an intestinal tract suited to a diet of meat and plant based food. What is important is that the food contains all the ingredients your dog or puppy requires to grow and stay fit and healthy into old age. At different stages of life, (pup, young dog, adult and old age), your dog will need a variety of diets.
However, at whatever stage, he or she requires food containing vitamins, minerals, protein, fatty acids – and don’t forget the bowl of fresh water to wash it all down.
Of course, large dogs have particular nutritional needs.
Don’t worry, you don’t need a science degree to feed your best friend, as these will all be contained in the right proportions in the appropriate food for his or her stage of life.
Human Foods That Are Good For Your Dog
So, you have chosen the best regular dog food for your dog and your pocket but this has not solved the problem of the big, dark eyes!
Below are a few solutions to your problem. Tasty treats that have health benefits for your best friend while avoiding an upset stomach.
Can Dogs Eat Pineapple?
Yes, raw pineapple is good for your dog! In moderation, it is a healthy treat for you and your best friend. Pineapple, if raw and ripe, is packed with vitamins and minerals. This excellent source of vitamins and minerals makes pineapple great for both of you. It also aids your dog’s immune system and digestive health.
However, pineapple is high in fibre and sugar, even though it is a natural sugar. So, after you share pineapple with your dog for the first time, watch to see how his or her stomach reacts to it. Then you can decide whether to share your pineapple again or not.
Remember, only fresh, raw and ripe pineapple, forget the tin with the sugary syrup.
Another surprise! Mangoes are packed full of vitamins and are good and safe for your dog. The mango must be peeled and pitted.
Once again, this is a treat to share in moderation, but dogs can safely eat mango.
Can Dogs Eat Bananas?
It’s another yes! The banana is full of minerals, fibre and vitamins which are great for you and your pup. Another plus for the banana is that it is low in sodium and cholesterol. Bananas are not a good source of protein and fat, both of which your dog needs. So, the banana is a treat to be accompanied by your dog’s regular food.
The orange is a great human food full of vitamin C and fibre. But the flesh of an orange is also good for your dog, in small amounts. So, you need to make sure that the pieces of orange you give your dog are peeled and deseeded. The peel and pips can result in a stomach upset for your dog.
Sweet potato is a healthy treat for dogs, when it is peeled and cooked. The sweet potato contains a lot more fibre and vitamins A and C than the usual white potato. The wonderful colour of the sweet potato comes from beta-carotene. Now, beta-carotene has a lot of beneficial effects for pups, dogs and you. It is an antioxidant, which means it inhibits oxidisation. Oxidisation can result in free radicals.
To put it simply, beta-carotene can help protect your dog against heart disease and some types of cancer. So, sweet potatoes are definitely a healthy food for dogs.
Pumpkin is a bit of a super food for your dog. It is packed with vitamins (A, C and E) and minerals (iron and potassium). However, what makes the pumpkin a really super food is the high quantity of soluble fibre in it. One of the main benefits of soluble fibre for your dog is that it is easily digested and in that process, releases substances such as beneficial fatty acid to aid your dog’s intestines.
Your dog has lots of different bacteria in his or her intestines. These can be divided into good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria, probiotics, stop harmful bacteria from causing stomach upsets such as diarrhoea and constipation. Fibre is a prebiotic, which means it gets your dog’s probiotics to work on the harmful bacteria.
Tinned, with no added ingredients, fresh cooked or powdered (available from your vet), pumpkin is a great human food with health benefits for your dog, especially with regard to helping any correct digestive issues that your dog. may have.
Most dogs enjoy peanut butter and most peanut butter is good as a treat for your dog.
However, you must check the ingredients listed on the peanut butter jar. You are looking for xylitol and if it is included in the ingredients, then this peanut butter is most definitely NOT for your dog. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener which is exceptionally toxic for your pup or dog. Even a small amount of it can prove fatal. It is also not a great treat for your dog if he or she is overweight, is on a special diet or suffers from kidney problems.
The blueberry is another one of the people foods with a health benefit for your best friend. It is packed full of vitamin C, antioxidants, phytochemicals and of course, it is a good source of fibre.
Lesser known effects of the blueberry are that it can aid the mental function of older dogs, limit cell damage and actually improve your dog’s vision in the dark.
Yes, watermelon is another sweet treat for your dog to enjoy. The watermelon is a relative of the pumpkin. It is fat and cholesterol free and full of vitamins and potassium. As it’s name suggests, a high percentage (over 90%) of the watermelon is water which makes it a great treat for a thirsty hound in hot weather.
However, no one really enjoys the seeds in a watermelon. Your dog may not worry too much about the seeds when eating them, but his or her stomach may do so later. You need to remove all the seeds and obviously, the rind.
The humble green pea is surprisingly full of minerals, (potassium, iron, magnesium and zinc,) as well as it’s fair share of vitamins and fibre. Some of the health benefits for your dog from the green pea include improved eyesight, digestion and immune system.
Once again, this treat is not for every dog. Green peas are not for your dog if he or she has kidney problems.
Also remember, green peas are great as a treat in moderation. Too many can result in a “windy” or upset stomach for your best friend – unpleasant and embarrassing for both of you!
Oatmeal is good for you and your dog. It is full of soluble fibre (which helps to regulate blood sugar levels) and contains vitamin B. Oatmeal is also a good source of linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid, which your dog needs to maintain a healthy and strong skin.
However, the oatmeal for your dog needs to be plain, no added ingredients. Served raw, oatmeal is pretty indigestible for all of us, your dog included. When preparing the oatmeal be sure to use water rather than milk. Avoid instant oatmeal, even though it is quicker to prepare, as it is more processed and therefore less beneficial for your dog.
We all know that broccoli is good for us. Although small children and your dog may not be aware of the health benefits, it is great for them too. Broccoli is full of vitamins C and K. It is also a very good source of potassium, as well as other beneficial minerals. All of these add up to make broccoli great for your dog, helping to improve heart health, bone strength and density, protect against disease and boost the immune system.
Your dog can enjoy broccoli steamed or raw but once again, in moderation.
Fish is not just for cats, dogs love it too. Fish is a good source of protein and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation).
Most fish is suitable for your dog, however, steer clear of fish with a long life span, for example swordfish and tuna. The longer the life span of the fish results in there being more chance of mercury and other toxic heavy metals building up in the fish.
The fish you have chosen to share with your best friend needs to be cooked. Raw fish may contain harmful bacteria. Make sure to cook the fish simply, no oil or garlic, for example. Now you need to remove all of the bones, as these, if they get stuck, can cause your dog a lot of pain and a trip to the vet.
Yes, pork is good for your dog and a human food that dogs love. It is a good source of digestible protein, full of Omega-3 and amino acids. All of these help your dog’s body function correctly.
As you may be expecting, there is a “however”. Although pork derivatives, such as bacon, ham and sausages will smell like a real treat to your dog, they are not so great, due to added salt, herbs, spices and preservatives. Always make sure that pork meat is completely cooked through for both of you. Cooked pork bones are particularly brittle, so a definite “no” for your dog.
Why not try cooking a pork liver for your dog? Not so expensive but still providing your dog with vitamins and minerals and your dog will love it.
Chicken is a great source of lean protein which your pup is bound to enjoy. When cooked simply, it can be added to your dog’s pet food to provide an extra protein boost. It is also a perfect treat when training your hound. When or if your dog has a poorly stomach, there are few things more calming and beneficial than soft boiled white rice mixed with a little cooked chicken for your best friend.
As with introducing your dog to any new food, watch to make sure it agrees with him or her the first time. Also, please make sure that there are no bones, or you may be off to the vet again!
Although your dog may not be aware that lean beef is full of protein, vitamins and zinc, iron and selenium, he or she will probably vote this his or her favourite tasty treat.
Lean beef, which is usually ground, needs to be cooked through to eliminate any harmful bacteria. Being lean, it is a great food to help a pup with a weight problem.
Well, who would have thought that certain fruits and vegetables, when prepared in the right way, were good for your best friend? No fat content but with great vitamin, fibre and mineral benefits.
Fish and meat are a more obvious foods to share with your dog. Once again, it is down to preparing the food so that it benefits your dog without causing problems.
As you have seen, different foods can help with many of the visible health issues for your dog, including eye, coat and bone health. The less visible health issues, the immune system, heart health and general wellbeing of your pup are even more important.
Every dog, like every one or us, will enjoy different foods but – again like for every one of us – everything should be in moderation. The key is to have a good balanced diet that will keep your dog happy, healthy and enjoying life to the full – and be sure you avoid the foods which are toxic to dogs.