Our dogs are small, four-legged parts of our families, so it only makes sense that we feed them human food occasionally. Some of these food items are safer than others when it comes to feeding your furry friends. Let’s take a closer look at some foods that you already love that are totally cool to feed to your dog — and some that you might think are okay but should probably be avoided.
1. Peanut Butter
Most dogs love peanut butter, but this sticky treat is good for more than just silencing chatty puppies. Peanut butter is high in protein in addition to other vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy dog diet.
Just make sure you're not using any sugar-free peanut butter — the xylitol sweetener used in these low sugar versions is toxic to canines. Try to stick with raw organic peanut butter whenever possible.
There’s nothing quite like a perfectly cooked salmon filet, especially when you pair it with some fresh greens and a nice glass of wine. While you probably shouldn’t be giving your dog wine, salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for healthy coats and skin in dogs.
If your dog experiences dry skin, especially during the colder months, consider adding some cooked salmon or salmon oil to their diet. No sushi though — raw salmon can be dangerous for dogs.
Pumpkin is good for more than just pies during the Thanksgiving season. Pumpkin, either roasted or pureed, can be a great source of vitamin A and fiber, both of which are an essential part of a healthy diet. If your dog doesn’t mind roasted vegetables, you can feed them bite-sized chunks of the roasted squash. If they won’t eat the roasted pumpkin, mixing pumpkin puree into their food can help them get all the benefits without upsetting their mealtimes.
Ah, the incredible edible egg. These little protein-packed snacks are good for every meal, no matter how you cook them — and they’re a good protein boost for your dogs as well.
For a human, one egg contains roughly 13 percent of daily protein needs, in addition to a huge variety of different vitamins and minerals. Make sure any eggs you feed your dog are cooked though — raw egg whites can cause a nutrient deficiency in man’s best friend.
Okay, you might want to avoid this one — only because cheese-powered dog farts are something you need a gas mask to survive — but hear us out. As long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant (a small percentage of dogs are), cheese can be a great source of protein, calcium and healthy fats. Stick to low-fat options like mozzarella or cottage cheese to keep your dog from putting on too many cheese-related pounds.
Chicken is a fantastic lean protein and a great addition to any healthy diet, whether you have two legs or four. Cooked white meat chicken is a great supplement to add extra protein to your dog’s diet, and it’s a treat you know they’ll love.
Make sure you cook their chicken with little or no spices — too much salt or spice could upset their stomach — and don’t serve it to them too hot. If you run out of dog food in a pinch, remember that chicken is a good temporary alternative.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away — but in this case, we’re less worried about the doctor and more worried about the dentist. Brushing your dog’s teeth can be a chore at the best of times, so why not space out the time between brushings by feeding them apple slices? The firm fruit helps to clean their teeth, freshening their breath while providing fiber and vitamins A and C. Make sure you remove the core of the apple first — the core and seeds can create a choking hazard.
A cup of tea with honey and lemon is the best thing for a sore throat or allergy attack — which is exactly why you should be feeding your dog honey. Local honey, or honey gathered from hives in your local area, is a great option for dogs who suffer from seasonal allergies. (Side note — eating local honey helps with human allergies too!)
9. Brewer’s Yeast
It might sound kind of gross, but brewer’s yeast — the leftover product that’s left after alcohol is made — is packed full of B-Vitamins. This additive can even help improve appetite in dogs that might have trouble eating their dinner.
Sprinkle a little bit over your dog’s dinner — just make sure you’re getting actual brewer’s yeast, not baking yeast. Brewer's yeast is sold at health food stores and is used as a supplement. Baking yeast is sold at grocery stores and is used to make your bread fluffy. Don't confuse them, or you'll be stuck with a dog with an upset stomach.
Carrots are a great crunchy snack that are packed full of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. They’re high in fiber, low calorie, and taste great dipped in ranch dressing. Baby carrots are also a great treat for your dog — without the ranch, though.
In addition to providing them with vitamin A and fiber, baby carrots are great for cleaning your pup’s teeth. Make sure to keep an eye on them while they’re chomping on their carrots though — eating them too fast or not chewing them completely can create a choking hazard.
Foods to Avoid
What foods should you avoid feeding your dog at all costs?
- Garlic, onions, leeks, and other similar plants
Not all human foods are good options for puppy treats. Just be aware of the foods that you’re feeding your pet, and you should be good to give them a few tasty, familiar treats now and then. A healthy diet of dog food should be your first choice, but some human foods can be a great addition to their normal diet too.