Giving your dog people food is a hotly debated topic. Many people have heard over the years that dogs must eat dog food and if you give your dog table scraps or human food they will get sick and have diarrhea. This is of course totally ridiculous. The natural diet of a dog is to eat people’s leftovers. That doesn’t mean you want to give your dog fast food or your leftover Pad Thai, but you shouldn’t be afraid to give your pup real, whole foods like you eat every day.
How to add human foods to your dog’s diet
To keep your dog healthy and happy, you can certainly give your dog human foods daily. Keep in mind that every dog is unique and individual. Some may have allergies or be sensitive to certain foods. So, take it easy at first.
If you consult lists of human foods that are OK to give your dog versus foods that could potentially kill your dog, you will find they can contradict one another. Also, it’s important to note that any food that is not part of your dog’s normal diet could cause stomach upset. So, start small and work your way up. You have to monitor the fat and sodium levels in everything your dog eats, as well as your dog’s own sensitivity to certain foods.
Foods you can safely feed your dog
Here are some foods you can add to your dog’s diet that will benefit their health:
A couple of apple slices can actually help freshen your dog’s breath. However, the core of an apple is potentially toxic, so make sure to keep that out of the mix.
Blueberries are a great summer snack for dogs. Just pop them into the freezer for a few hours and your pup now has a icy treat to cool them down in the heat of summer.
Broccoli is a great source of fiber and vitamin C when given in moderation.
Raw carrots can be hard for a dog to digest so it’s best to cook them or dehydrate them.
If your dog is not lactose intolerant, a little low-fat cheese won’t hurt them. Low-fat cottage cheese is best. Be sure to monitor their reaction to cheese.
This one comes with a caveat: no bones! Chicken bones are bad for dogs. But boneless chicken, when cooked, is a great source of protein. If you’re ever in a pinch, it can make a great replacement meal, too.
Peanut butter is full of heart-healthy fats, and vitamins B, E, and niacin. What dog doesn’t love a little peanut butter stuffed into a Kong? It’s best to get unsalted and low-sugar peanut butter if you can. However, always check the ingredients in your peanut butter and avoid xylitol. This is a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. If your peanut butter has it, choose a different brand before giving it to your dog.
Pumpkin is a digestive aid that can also help with diarrhea in dogs. It’s always good to keep a can of pumpkin in the cupboard.
Everyone needs omega-3 fatty acids, even dogs! Salmon will help keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy and also helps boost their immune system. Salmon should be cooked or you can use salmon oil. If you’re not into eating the salmon skin, your pup would love it!
A scrambled egg is a great protein boost and most dogs can’t resist them. If your dog isn’t feeling well or is having trouble eating, this could be a great way to get some protein in them.
Watermelon is a refreshing, healthy treat that can help your pup stay hydrated. Just make sure it’s seedless!
Take it slow
Always introduce human foods slowly and in moderation. Also, remember that just because your dog likes a food (we’re looking at you, chocolate) doesn’t mean it’s OK for your pup to eat. Some foods are dangerous, or even deadly, to dogs. Your pup may also have an allergy that you didn’t know about. If you suspect a food allergy, talk to your vet.