We all hear about human food that can be really harmful to dogs if they are fed any of it. But what about the “people” food that your dog can eat – are there things we can safely give to our pets without making them ill? The answer is yes, there's a lot of our food that dogs can eat and in fact, most of them are really good for your pet because not only are they nutritious, but given in moderation they can add a lot of taste and variety to your pet's diet!
Below are 10 sorts of “people” food which you can safely give your dog so they have a more varied diet:
Yoghurt is a great source of calcium and protein especially live yoghurt that doesn't contain any sort of sweeteners including artificial ones. Live yoghurt contains good bacteria which act as probiotics. However, if your dog is overweight, make sure you choose a fat-free live yoghurt and avoid any that contain any sort of fat substitutes. Many dogs really enjoy a summer treat of frozen yoghurt which is a great way to reward them when they've been well behaved in a training session!
If you need to add fibre to your dog's diet, sweet potatoes given in moderation are a great source of dietary fibre and as a bonus they contain vitamin B6 and C as well as manganese and beta carotene. Good pet stores actually sell dehydrated sweet potato slices as a chewy dog treat which make great rewards when you are trying to teach your pet a new trick or two – the good news is that this type of treat is usually a lot cheaper than many others that are not quite as healthy!
Flax seed is full of omega-3 fatty acids which are considered as essential when it comes to maintaining your dog's skin and coat is great condition. If you are using whole flax seeds, you need to grind them each time you add them to your dog's food because the oil turns rancid very quickly. As a bonus the seeds are a great source of fibre too. If you want to add flax seed oil to your pet's diet, you need to bear in mind that it's a lot more concentrated and does not boast the fibre content of the seeds.
Every now and again, dogs really enjoy fresh fish and it doesn't get much better than offering them some salmon which is full of omega-3 fatty acids. These are great at supporting your dog's immune system as well as keeping their coats and skin looking really good. If your dog suffers from allergies, they could also benefit from eating salmon because of the omega-3 fatty acids it contains. The thing to bear in mind is that salmon needs to be cooked when fed to dogs because the raw fish may introduce a parasite into your dog's system which could make them ill.
Green beans are a great source of fibre as well as vitamins K and C as well as manganese. Dogs that are prone to put on weight can be fed green beans as a substitute for part of their regular food to help keep the weight down. Some dogs really enjoy chewing on frozen green beans which you can offer them from time to time as a treat in the hotter summer months.
If you are looking for a good source of digestible protein to feed your dog, look no further than cooked eggs. Not only do eggs offer lots of protein but they also contain riboflavin and selenium. Dogs that are prone to get upset tummies can benefit from being fed cooked eggs which will give them a real protein boost when they need it most. You shouldn't feed raw eggs because they may cause your dog to suffer a biotin deficiency and then there's the risk of salmonella associated with raw eggs.
Many people often forget that dogs love apples and they make a brilliant treat full of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) which are thought to protect against certain forms of cancer. Apples are a great source of vitamins A and C. However, you should never let your dog eat the seeds or the core of apples because the seeds do in fact contain cyanide. Obviously one seed would not be harmful but should your dog be allowed to eat too many apple cores, this could be a real cumulative problem.
Another great source of fibre, pumpkin also contains beta carotene. All dogs need a good amount of fibre in their diets because it keeps the GI tract working which in turn means the cells that line the gut remain healthy.
Brewer's yeast is something the majority of dogs really love which is great because it is brimming with B vitamins! These keep a dog's coat and their skin looking great. You can buy Brewer's Yeast from good health food stores.
If your dog needs more soluble fibre in their diet, you won't go far wrong than occasionally including some oatmeal in their food. Older dogs can really benefit from being fed oatmeal because it helps keep their bowel movement regular. Dogs that are allergic to wheat can be fed oatmeal as an alternative. However, you have to feed oatmeal cooked to dogs without any flavourings or sugar.
Whenever you change your dog's diet, you have to do this gradually to avoid them suffering any sort of tummy upset. The rule of thumb is to feed your dog any of the above making sure it only makes up around 25% of the weekly calorie intake. You can prolong your dog's life by feeding them a well balanced, nutritious and varied diet with each of these “people's” foods offered as occasional weekly treat rather than completely replacing the food you normally give them.