Does your dog beg for a taste of your food whenever you sit down for a meal? It may be hard to resist those big, beautiful puppy eyes, but before you share with your furry friend, there are some things you should know.
Not all human food is safe for your dog. It is important to know the difference between safe and unsafe foods to prevent potentially fatal consequences.
Check out our guide below:
Most meat products are fine to give your dog, especially lean options such as chicken and turkey. Beef is also a great option for protein, but stick to lean cuts. Fatty meats can cause problems such as pancreatitis and obesity.
While giving a dog a bone may seem natural, they can cause harm. Bones can not only be a choking hazard, but they can break or splinter, causing cuts or blockages in the digestive system. Be sure to feed your dog only boneless meats.
Limit pork products like ham and bacon, as they are more fatty and have a lot of added salt. Hot dogs technically can be eaten, but should probably be avoided as they can be a choking hazard.
Fully cooked and deboned fish is another good protein option. Sardines can be eaten with the bones intact as they are soft and small and are not a choking threat. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids which decrease inflammation and promote healthy joints. It also may be a good protein for those dogs who are allergic to more common dog food ingredients, such as chicken.
Fully cooked eggs are also okay. They are easily digestible, and a great option for those pups with sensitive stomachs.
Be sure that with any of the foods mentioned, they are all fresh, lean, fully-cooked, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Serve plain, without any sauces or gravies, as they can contain harmful ingredients.
Dairy should be used in moderation, as many dogs are lactose intolerant. Those that are not still may experience discomfort if they have too much.
As with any human foods, introduce dairy products in small amounts, watching for signs of intolerance. These can include:
- Loose stools
- Abdominal pain
Use low-fat options to prevent weight gain and bloating. Start with a plain Greek yogurt, as the live cultures may help with digestion.
Your dog can enjoy a variety of fresh fruits as a snack. Just make sure all shells, rinds, peels, seeds, pits, leaves, and stems are removed. These can all be choking hazards and sometimes can be toxic for a dog.
While canned fruit can be cheaper, it is best to use only fresh for your pet. Canned fruit is often packed in syrup, giving it a much higher sugar content. If you are worried about fruit going to waste before it is eaten, you can buy frozen fruit and just thaw before serving.
Never feed a dog grapes or raisins. These have been known to cause kidney failure in dogs, although the actual toxic substance within the grapes has yet to be identified.
Nearly all vegetables, raw or cooked, can be fed to your dog and are a great way of adding nutrients to their diet. Everything should be served in bite-sized pieces to prevent choking.
When serving corn, make sure it is off the cob. Corn cobs are dangerous for dogs, as it can get lodged in their throat.
Plain breads are fine to give to your furry friend. You will want to avoid flavored breads that could contain harmful spices or raisins. While bread is fine. Raw dough containing yeast is not safe. Fermenting yeast produces alcohol, which is toxic to pets.
White or brown rice are also great grains to feed your pet. They can often be used as a bland food to introduce after stomach upset. Cook in low-sodium chicken broth for extra flavor.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts are fairly high in calories and salt, which are not good for your dog. Shelled cashews and peanuts are okay, but only in moderation. Opt for unsalted varieties.
Unsalted peanut butter is a treat most dogs love. Be sure that your peanut butter does not contain xylitol which, even in small amounts, can cause hypoglycemia, seizures and liver failure in dogs.
Avoid macadamia nuts! This is another one where the exact cause has not been identified. However, ingestion of macadamia nuts has been associated with vomiting and weakness, fevers, muscle tremors, and even depression.
Seeds such as flax, chia, pumpkin, and sunflower are healthy options for both you and your pet! Seed butters are also okay. Adding seeds to your dog’s diet could provide them with necessary nutrients and improve digestive function, as well as the condition of skin and fur.
Never Give These Foods to Your Dog:
- Xylitol (sugar substitute commonly in diet products)
- Coffee and caffeine
- Grapes and raisins
- Citrus fruits
- Onions, garlic, chives in every form (fresh and powdered)
- Salt and salty foods
- Raw/undercooked meat, eggs, and poultry
- Macadamia nuts
- Yeast dough
Although this is a listing of products that are or are not safe for your pets, a well-balanced manufactured pet food is the safest way to go. That will ensure that all of your pet’s needs are being addressed. This list is intended as a guide if you wanted to give your pet something in addition to their regular meals.