We all love to give our dogs a treat, but knowing what is good for them and what you should avoid giving them will save you a visit to the vet and a lot of stress! Let's dive in :)
If your dog is like mine, he will eat anything he can! Here is a list of (human) food that dogs CAN eat:
1. Yogurt- Dogs can have plain yogurt, although some dogs might have a hard time digesting it. Just like in humans, yogurt has probiotic active bacteria that helps with digestion. Be wary of yogurts with added sugar and artificial sweeteners.
2. Quinoa- This power-packed grain is A-Ok for dogs to eat. Many dry dog foods use quinoa as an ingredient, as it is a great alternative to corn based dry dog foods.
3. Popcorn (and Corn)- Movie night? Your canine companion can enjoy some popcorn with you. Just make sure it's unsalted and unbuttered so they don't get a sore tummy. Make sure that you don't give them unpopped kernels as they can be a choking hazard and not so good for digestion.
4. Turkey- With Thanksgiving coming, we want to know if our dog can join the feast! Turkey is good for dogs as long as it's not drenched in spices and marinades. Make sure there are no bones, since they are very thin and could splinter and cause harmful digestive issues.
5. Pork- Your pup can have pork. It's a highly digestible protein that has tons of amino acids. Pets with allergies are less likely to have a reaction to pork compared to other meat proteins.
6. Shrimp- If you are treating your dog to shrimp, make sure they are fully cooked and don't over indulge themselves. A few is good, but don't substitute a whole meal with them. They have a lot of nutrients and are low in fat, carbs and calories.
7. Salmon- This is a GREAT food for dogs. Make sure it is fully cooked and spoil the heck out of your dog! It has excellent sources of amino acids, fatty acids and protein, not to mention dogs digest it very well. Just a word of caution-- make sure the salmon is cooked so all the parasites are not alive which can make your pup sick.
8. Bread- In small amounts, bread is fine for your dog. Avoid raisin and spiced breads, as the ingredients won't agree with your dog's tummy. As with humans, homemade bread is better than store bought, but you can give them a small piece when you are sandwich prepping for your next picnic!
9. Cashews- They say everything in moderation, so don't give your dog too many cashews at once. They are okay for dogs as they have protein, magnesium, antioxidants and calcium. Just make sure they are unsalted.
10. Peanuts + Peanut Butter- What would we do without PB!? So many dogs love peanut butter, especially when you have a Kong or toy that they have to 'work' to lick it out of. It has excellent sources of fats, protein, vitamins B and E and niacin. Look at the label to make sure it's free of salt and xylitol, which can be toxic for dogs.
11. Eggs- Eggs are good for dogs, just make sure they are fully cooked. Boiled eggs are your safest bet and the are packed with protein and can help an upset stomach. Avoid raw egg whites, as they can give dogs a biotin deficiency.
12. Honey- Fun fact: Honey NEVER goes bad, so dogs are in the clear to enjoy some of this sticky goodness. Honey offers tons of nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, potassium, calcium, magnesium and copper. Just like humans, honey can help dogs with local allergies. Find a local beekeeper and give your pup small doses of local honey to eliminate allergies!
Now that we went through the good stuff, let's look at what we don't want your dog to eat in order to keep them happy and healthy.
Foods to AVOID Giving your Dogs:
1. Chocolate, Coffee + Caffeine- I think every dog owner has been warned about chocolate, but what's the big deal? Chocolate contains extremely toxic substances called methylxanthines, which derive from the cocoa seed. That is why coffee and caffeine are on the list. Darker chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate, but to be safe, avoid it all.
2. Cinnamon- Although cinnamon isn't toxic by definition, it's best to avoid it due to its oils can can irritate the inside of your dog's mouth. It can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, and can lower your dog's blood rate. Keep your cinnamon sticks and powder tucked away and far from your pup.
3. Pecans, Walnuts + Macadamia Nuts- WATCH OUT, these are among the most poisonous foods for dogs. All 3 of these nuts can cause extreme gastric intestinal obstructions, seizures and neurological symptoms.
4. Almonds- While almonds are delicious, they are not easily digested and can create intestinal stress and discomfort. Stick with peanuts, your dog will thank you later!
5. Grapes + Raisins- This is one of the most toxic foods along with Macadamia Nuts. Although it is well known that grapes and raisins are toxic for dogs, even in small amounts, vets do not know what that exact substance is. Best thing, is make sure the whole family knows that your dog doesn't get this afternoon snack.
6. Ice Cream- We all know the timeless story of 'the boy and his dog' as we picture them enjoying a cone of ice cream together, lick for lick. Let's not reenact this one. Canines don't digest dairy very well, especially the sugar found in milk products called lactose. Sugar in general is not good for your dog, so give them an alternative like frozen fruits on a hot day!
7. Garlic, Leeks, Onions + Chives- All of these are apart of the Allium family which are not good for dogs. Garlic is one of the most potent of the bunch, which can give your dog anemia. Poisoning from garlic, leeks, onions and chives may be delayed, so keep on eye or your dog's symptoms and monitor them.
8. Alcohol- Not only does alcohol contain large amounts of sugar, your pet could have a severe allergic reaction. Just say NO ;)
9. Citrus- Citrus is small amounts won't likely hurt your dog, but the leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain acid that could affect your dog's central nervous system. Be careful at your kid's next soccer practice.
10. Xylitol- With processed foods flooded in our diets these days, xylitol is found in many foods like baked goods, candy, gum and cereal. Xylitol can cause an increase in insulin, which can lead to kidney failure. Keep in fresh and sugar-free to ensure your dog's optimum health!
We hope you learned the DO + DONT'S for your dog's diet. Now you are the BEST DOG PARENT and can let your dog enjoy a yummy snack stress free!
*Note: we are not trained animal nutritionists or veterinarians, please consult a professional for all dog diet information.*