I’ve seen so many lists of “human foods for dogs” on the internet that I don’t agree with, so I decided to make my own list.
Many of these lists suggest various forms of dairy- yogurt, cheese, cheese wiz, ice cream. Milk past infancy is unnecessary and unnatural for dogs, as is milk from another species. Dogs can be lactose intolerant just like humans, however, it would be difficult for your dog to tell you that dairy is making them feel ill. With so many healthy options available for dogs, it’s easy to avoid dairy which could cause them unnecessary discomfort.
Another food item I’ve seen as a suggestion for dogs is popcorn. While it’s true that popcorn is low-calorie and low-fat, just as popcorn kernel pieces can get stuck in human teeth/gums, it can get stuck in your dog’s teeth/gums as well. The difference is, we can pick the kernel pieces out with our fingers or a toothpick, but our dogs can’t. Kernels that are lodged in your dog’s gums may become infected and painful, and your dog will have no way of telling you this. You likely won’t notice until it becomes infected, which may cause a trip to the vet and antibiotics. Because of this, I recommend not giving your dog popcorn at all.
The last major concern I have with many of the lists of foods to give dogs that I’ve seen on the internet is “meat scraps.” Most meat scraps they are referring to are going to be fat. Fat is unhealthy for dogs just as it is for humans. Too much fat in your dogs’s diet may lead to pancreatitis. Another common “meat scrap” is bones. Cooked bones can cause major internal damage to your dog’s digestive system, and they act as slivers puncturing your dog from the inside. Never give your dog leftover bones from your meal.
Now that I’ve vented about the unsafe/unhealthy foods I’ve seen other websites suggesting for people to give their dogs, check out my ideas below that are actually beneficial to your dog’s health. The foods I suggest giving to your dog as treats or as mixers for their current food are not meant to replace your dog’s food completely, so be sure to give it to them in addition to their regular food.
Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and beta-carotene/vitamin A. It helps aid with digestion and is very low in fat and calories.
2. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are great for your dog’s skin and coat. Flax oil has a more concentrated amount of omega-3’s, but without the fiber.
3. Sweet Potatoes
As with other orange veggies, sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene/Vitamin A. They are also a great source of fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. Slice sweet potatoes and dehydrate them for a super-healthy, chewy treat for your dog.
4. Green Beans
Green beans are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. Because green beans are low in calories and fat, they make a great snack for dogs who need help maintaining a healthy weight.
Keep a bag of frozen peas in your freezer and occasionally add a handful to your dog’s meal. Peas are high in vitamin B, potassium, and phosphorus.
Blueberries are high in vitamins A, C, and E. They are also an exceptional source of antioxidants, iron, and zinc. Like peas, it is easy to keep frozen blueberries in the freezer and occasionally add a small handful to your dog’s meal.
Carrots are high in fiber and beta-carotene/vitamin A, but low in calories and fat. They are a great treat for helping to keep your dog’s teeth clean.
Apples are high in fiber and are a great source of vitamin A and C. Chewing apples can help clean residue off your dog’s teeth and freshen his breath. Be sure to remove the seeds and core before giving apples to your dog.
9. Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter is a good source of protein and contains heart-healthy fats, niacin, vitamin B, and vitamin E.
Watermelon is a delicious, low calorie food that your dog will love. It contains vitamin C, beta-carotene/vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium. In addition to the nutritional benefits, it has a high water content, making it a great snack for dogs during the hot summer months to help keep them hydrated.
In contrast to the healthy food/treat suggestions I’ve listed above, please take a minute to study the image below for foods you should NOT feed your dog.