If you are like many dog owners, you slip your dog a bit of bread, cheese, meat, or other type of "people food" from the table now and then. The fats in the foods we commonly give our dogs that we think are harmless can actually upset their stomachs, cause weight gain, or even damage their kidneys. Some foods are even toxic, such as chocolate or raisins, and should never be fed to dogs.
There are some foods you can actually give your dog that can be healthy for them. If you want to give your dog homemade treats, you can do so in moderation with your vet's approval. Here are some "people food" snacks that you can safely feed your canine companion.
As long as your dog isn't lactose intolerant, you can give your dog cheese in moderate amounts. Low-fat cheese like Mozzarella is an excellent choice. Avoid high-fat cheeses as they contain a lot of oils and calories that can make your dog overweight.
Talk to your vet before giving your dog cheese or any other human food that is safe for dog consumption so they can help you monitor your dog's overall diet.
Plain yogurt is high in calcium and protein, healthy nutrients your dog needs. You can add yogurt to their regular bowl of dog food or place it in ice cube trays to freeze as a cool snack.
Avoid yogurt with artificial sweeteners or fruits, and stick to varieties that have live active cultures in them, which are as healthy for your dog's digestion as yours.
You can add sweeteners to your dog's yogurt that are healthy for them, such as:
- Peanut butter (not low fat or light)
- Coconut oil
Try different varieties of yogurt flavors to see what they like best.
A hard-boiled or scrambled egg sprinkled over your dog's food or given as a protein boost throughout the day is perfectly fine for your canine friend. Just make sure the egg is thoroughly cooked before giving it to your dog, and do not add any flavor enhancers, such as pepper or salt.
Pumpkin is fibrous and healthy for the digestive system. It's an excellent option to give older dogs who are having trouble eating or dogs who are feeling ill and vomiting.
If you are giving your dog pumpkin because they are sick, take them to the vet first to make sure they do not have a serious illness such as worms or a harmful disease.
You can add more bulk to pumpkin by cooking up plain oatmeal to mix it in. This is a fine treat you can give your dog in between meals, or you can use this combination to fill your dog's belly healthfully if they are a picky eater or refusing a new brand of dog food.
Salmon and sardines are excellent snacks for dogs. These fish species have plenty of healthy fats and proteins that are healthy for your dog's coat and overall heath.
You will have to pick the bones out of salmon but you can leave the tiny bones in sardines without worry.
If you want to give your dog other types of fish, talk to your veterinarian first to make sure it's OK to do so. Always cook fish all the way through before feeding it to your dog.
Your vet can help you create a "people food" diet plan that is healthy for your dog so they get all the nutrients they need without becoming overweight. If you have any concerns about your dog's diet, contact our friendly veterinary clinic, South San Diego Veterinary Hospital, where we treat your pets like family.