Owners are often bombarded with information about “people foods” that are dangerous for dogs, and the list seems to keep getting longer and longer. While it’s certainly important to stay informed about what foods your dog should avoid, lots of food that we eat is perfectly safe for our animal companions! In fact, some people foods are actually nutritious for dogs and could benefit your dog if incorporated into their diet. Here are a few foods that you and your pup can munch on together:
1. Carrots: A snack favorite for their unique taste and crunchiness, carrots make a great substitution for those of us who want to replace unhealthy snacks with an equally-satisfying vegetable. Not only are they full of fiber and flavor, but they make a great low-cal treat! Next time your dog wants to chew and you’re out of bully sticks, offer them a carrot to gnaw on! Be sure to choose baby carrots or chop regular carrots up into manageable pieces for smaller dogs.
2. Salmon: Cats aren’t the only pet that love to eat salmon; dogs love it too! In a world where most foods have additives, farm-raised salmon is one of the most commonly modified meats, with flavor and color added to give it its signature look and taste. In addition, farm-raised salmon are usually pumped with antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals – and also raised in disgusting conditions. Healthy, wild, and natural salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids which are a major immune system booster and will help keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy.
3. Eggs: You may never have thought to scramble up a couple eggs for your canine companion, but protein rich eggs make a highly digestible snack. They’re great alone, added to other things, and a great substitute if you would like your dog to have a vegetarian diet. Next time you want to make your dog breakfast in bed, think of cooking up a delicious omelette for you both!
4. Pumpkin: Although most of our pumpkin-eating happens around the holidays, it makes a great food source all-year-long! Pumpkin is a fantastic source of vitamin A and beta carotene, which is helpful to both you and your dog’s immune systems, eye health, and skin. A little canned pumpkin (no spices or sugar) might help if your dog is having digestive issues as well.
5. Apple Slices: As long as your dog doesn’t have access to the seeds or the core, apples can be a healthy canine snack. Unfortunately, the core of an apple contains cyanide and is therefore poisonous (weird, right?) so throw the core away somewhere that your dog cannot dig it out of. Give your dog a few slices for an extra dose of vitamin A, vitamin B, and fiber. If you’re feeling fancy, add some peanut butter on the apple slices and blow your dog’s mind!
6. Broccoli: Another crunchy vegetable that serves as an amazing snack, broccoli is rich in A, B, and E vitamins, protein, calcium, magnesium, and more. Serve it steamed, fresh, baked, or even frozen!Although broccoli is safe for dogs, it should not comprise more than 10% of its overall diet due to the possibility of intestinal irritation.
7. Green Beans: Vitamin and iron-rich green beans make another tasty and healthy snack for your pooch. Just be sure to serve only fresh green beans or canned ones (without salt), and to shred them or cut them into small pieces. Due to the rising trend of obesity in dogs (as well as humans and other pets), this can not be a low-calorie snack or treat.
8. Popcorn: A classic low-calorie, crunchy, and sometimes addicting snack – popcorn is a great food to share with your dog. Whether the two of you (or more) are cuddled up and watching a movie, or you want to use it as a reward, unsalted popcorn (with no butter) will be a furry friend favorite! It is a great alternative to other treats that may be high in fat and/or difficult for your dog to chew. If your dog is missing many teeth, popcorn is great since it seems to melt in your mouth and still retain its flavor.
9. Yogurt/Cottage Cheese: Obviously if your dog does not digest dairy products or has an allergy to them, this isn’t a good food to share. But, both yogurt and cottage cheese are helpful digestive aids that are high in protein and calcium. Also, you can add granola and/or other dog-safe fruits to it such as apples and pears to make it a fun little parfait!
10. Oatmeal/Granola: An outstanding source of fiber, oatmeal and granola are both safe for your dog as long as they don’t contain any raisins, chocolate chunks, or nuts. Beginning the day with a nice bowl of granola or oatmeal could be a nice way to maintain a balanced digestive tract – for both of you! It can also be sprinkled into existing food to just give a bit of crunch to it.
Remember, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your dog’s diet, be sure to consult with a veterinarian, and also any of the thousands of resources online! Be wary of trusting other people’s advice about what their dog eats, because dogs’ stomachs vary and handle foods differently. Also, your dog may have certain food allergies that you aren’t aware of, so introduce new foods slowly and carefully!