A lot is said about the various human foods that are not suitable for sharing with our dogs, such as chocolate, crisps and grapes. A good rule of thumb to follow in general is not to share human food with dogs, for a wide variety of reasons. Many foodstuffs that we enjoy can actually be toxic to dogs, and various others that are not directly poisonous are often high in sugar, salt and calories, making them a poor choice of treat for your pet. Added to this, there is the additional range of problems that can arise from allowing your dog to eat scraps, such as inducing a propensity to begging and generally making a nuisance of themselves at mealtimes!
With these caveats in mind, however, there are some human foods that in small quantities, can be suitable for offering as an alternative to shop bought treats or even be beneficial to your dog’s health, should you wish to provide them with a little variety or something special. Remember to follow the usual rules about feeding and treating dogs: Don’t give too much, don’t let your dog eat from your plate, and make sure that your dog respects your mealtimes by eating his own dinner in his own bowl!
Probiotics such as live yoghurt or yoghurt drinks are renowned for aiding the digestive process and the balance of “good” gut bacteria in people, and these can have a similarly beneficial effect on your dog! They are also tasty, and generally palatable to dogs, and most dogs will enjoy a little live yoghurt added on top of their food or as a treat.
If you’re cooking with tuna or making yourself a sandwich, keep a little back for your dog! Pick tuna in spring water or brine rather than oil, and keep the water to add to your dog’s dinner, as well as offering a few flakes to your dog directly as a treat. Be sure to remove any little bones if you are cooking whole tuna steaks and wish to share some with your dog!
Many dogs enjoy the taste of mint, although you should steer clear of feeding them shop bought peppermint sweets! Like all sweets, peppermints can be high in sugar, or worse, an artificial alternative to sugar that might actually be toxic to your dog. Mint from actual mint plants, however, are perfectly fine to offer to your dog, and can even help with digestive upsets and to ease anxiety. Add a little mint to his meals now and then, or make up your own dog treats using mint!
Low sodium stock cubes, broths and plain chicken soup can all provide a treat for your dog. Use a little as a gravy with their regular meals, or mix some of their regular food into a paste with your stock, and use it to fill a Kong toy to keep your dog occupied! You can even freeze ice cube trays of stock to offer to your dog as a cooling summer treat.
This oily fish is packed with Omega 3 and essential fatty acids that can give a real boost to the lubrication of the joints of arthritic pets. Herring is also renowned for helping to boost the condition of the skin and coat, and fed in small quantities once or twice a week, can help to keep your dog in top condition.
Sweet potato or yams of various different types can be cut into cubes and fed raw to your dog as a healthy training treat, or boiled and mashed before serving cold. Other root vegetables such as pumpkin and other squashes also make for a healthy, tasty treat that is a little different! Pumpkin and other squashes can also help to aid with digestion.
Cinnamon (or any other spice for that matter) might seem like an odd choice to include for dogs, but look again! Cinnamon can help to boost mental agility and aid with concentration, and may help to make your dog more interested and engaged in training and learning new skills! Cinnamon is also renowned to have a lightly antibacterial effect too.
Feeding too much cheese to dogs can lead to obesity and related health problems, and it should not make up the main part of your dog’s staple diet. However, feeding small cubes of a low fat hard cheese as a special treat for your dog every now and then is fine, and many dogs seem to prefer the taste of cheese to that of most other treats! Plus, cheese is rich in protein and calcium.
Bananas are potassium-rich powerhouses that are just as delicious for your dog as for you! May dogs love the taste and texture of banana, and it can make for a good supplemental treat. Take care not to feed too much banana to your dog, as this may cause diarrhoea, and remember that bananas are relatively high in calories compared to most other fruits.
Ending the list with another superfruit, unsweetened pomegranate juice or the flesh from the fruit can be given to your dog for a tasty and quick antioxidant boost. Pomegranate is also rich in vitamin C, and can help to keep your dog healthy and active into old age.