Feeding your dog anything other than pre-packaged dog food can be daunting as what may be delicious and harmless to us can prove to be toxic and deadly to our dogs. Take a look at our top 16 people foods for dogs to add some variety and nutrition to your dog's daily diet!
Brewer's yeast is high in calorie but rich in B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, and B9), antioxidants, and minerals such as chromium, iron, zinc, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. Brewer’s yeast is promotes healthy skin, coat, eyes, liver function, and even lowers anxiety in dogs. One thing that brewers yeast lacks is that it does not contain any vitamin B12 which is necessary in a dog's diet. Interestingly, some blends of brewer's yeast on the market have shown to be effective in repelling insects such as fleas, ticks, mosquites, etc away.
Brewer's yeast should not be given to dogs with a weak immune system or is prone to yeast infections. Brewer's yeast is more fit for smaller to medium sized dogs are a large amount can upset dog's stomach resulting in excessive gas. Brewer's yeast can also cause dangerous reactions when mixed with some types of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications.
Salmon is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids which is crucial for the health of your dog's immune system, skin, and coat. You can poach, grill, roast, steam, or bake the boneless salmon with no additives such as salt or pepper. Another option is to purchase salmon oil which is readily available at any pet store or to slip your dog any unwanted salmon skin when preparing your own food. Always make sure the salmon is boneless as there have been cases of salmon bones being lodged in dog's throats choking them.
Never take the risk of feeding your dog raw salmon as it could contain parasites that cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and even death. Neorickettsia helminthoeca is the usually the culprit behind Salmon Poisoning Disease and the death of unsuspecting dogs. When prepared properly, salmon is an excellent high quality food choice for your dog!
Chopped, steamed, raw, or canned, green beans are a good source of good source of fiber, vitamins K, A, C, and B6, calcium, iron, protein, and manganese. They are the perfect low calorie treat for overweight dogs. The best part is, dogs love to eat them. If your dog has a tendency to put on weight, then try replacing less than 10% of her regular food with green beans to fill her up and help her reach a healthy weight. Make sure to watch for any signs of stomach upset or allergic reactions when feeding your dog green beans for the first time as with any other types of food.
Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and veta-carotene(vitamin A) for our dogs. Pumpkin is frequently used to combat obesity and diarrhea in dogs. The fiber in pumpkin bulks up your dog's stool which absorbs water while creating an environment in the GI tract to produce beneficial bacteria and fatty acids through fermentation. This results in higher energy supply for cells while lowering the pH level of the Large intestines.
Plain canned pumpkin is the best choice to add to your dog's meal as it is higher in fiber content as fresh pumpkin is much higher in water content. If you choose to get fresh pumpkin, take caution as pumpkin can go rancid very quickly. Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Fresh pumpkin seeds wont last long so bake sure to bake the seeds which will allow you to preserve them for up to 1 month.
Parsley is great for dogs and safe in small amounts. Please note that parsley should not be given to pregnant dogs or dogs with kidney problems. Parsley can cause muscle contractions in pregnant dogs as well as cause excessive bleeding in dogs with kidney issues. Parsley contains vitamins A, C, and K, iron, folic acid, antioxidants, and chlorophyll. Parsley is widely used to combat bad breath in dogs but there are other health benefits such as replenishing the health of red blood cells, removing toxins from kidneys, as well as helping prevent arthritis with anti-inflammatory properties. At Puppy Pawfection, we like to use fresh/dry parsley from our garden or to brew a tea which we cool down for our dogs. Watch out for parsley seeds as these can be toxic to our dogs in large amounts.
Flaxseeds are derived from the flax plant and provide a ton of health benefits for your dog! Ground or oil, flaxseed is loaded with beneficial fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which is crucial for healthy skin and coat. Flaxseeds also contain lignans, which helps improve cardiovascular health and may help fight cancer.
If you are interested in incorporating flaxseeds into your dog's diet, make sure you use ground flaxseed or oil because whole flaxseeds will most likely pass through the digestive system without being digested. Also, keep in mind that flaxseed oil can go rancid very quickly when exposed to air and should not be used as soon as possible. For those of you who want a more convenient approach, flaxseed derived supplements are readily available for purchase at most food stores and pet chains.
You've probably seen pet foods or treats with sweet potato content and its for good reason! Sweet potatoes are starchy root vegetables with orange flesh that contain beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A and powerful antioxidants that help prevent disease and infection. Sweet potatoes are considered one of the best dietary sources of vitamin A and also contain calcium, fiber, potassium, vitamins C and B6. Sliced and dehydrated sweet potatoes are a great treat for your dog but make sure not to overfeed your dog as too much vitamin A can cause bone and muscle weakness.
Good yogurt is high is probiotics(good bacteria) which is very beneficial for the digestive system. They are also a good source of calcium and protein for your dogs! However, some dogs have a hard time digesting lactose after being weaned off their mothers'' milk so watch out for signs that yogurt might not be the best fit for your dog. Watch out for symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive gas which means yogurt might not be the best fit for your dog. If you are looking for probiotics, there are many over the counter supplements that can be used as a topper for your furfriend's food.
When buying yogurt for your dog, make sure you get a plain yogurt with no flavoring or sweeteners. Some sweeteners such as xylitol are 100x more toxic to dogs than chocolate. Always take caution when feeding people food for dogs as safe substances for humans can prove deadly for your dog.
Eggs are a great source of very digestible protein, riboflavin, selenium, vitamins A and B12, folate, iron, and beneficial fatty acids. The shells of eggs is also an excellent source of calcium and protein which help keep your dog's bones and teeth strong and healthy. Whole eggs help build muscle, strengthen their hair, and repair tissue in your dogs.
Puppy Pawfection recommends feeding cooked eggs as there are some minor risks to feeding raw eggs. Raw egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors which can interfere with digestion in dogs. This is not very common but if you decide to feed raw eggs to your dog, look for evidence of digestive upset. Also, prolonged feeding of raw egg whites can also lead to a biotin deficiency. Raw egg whites contain an enzyme that ties up biotin and prevents absorption of biotin into the body. Biotin is a B complex vitamin that supports healthy skin, digestion, metabolism, and cells. Stay safe by cooking the eggs prior to feeding.
To feed your dog whole eggs, we suggest you boil the egg, split into portions and offer it together with their mainstay diet. You can also remove the shell, dry them thoroughly, and crush the shells in a food processor or coffee grinder into a powder. You can mix half a teaspoon of this powder in your dog's meal as a protein and calcium supplement for your dogs.
Apples are tasty crunchy treats that freshen and clean your dog's teeth. Apples are a great source of vitamins A and C, fiber, phosphorus, calcium, and phytonutrients. However, make sure you don't allow your dog to eat any seeds or the core. Apple seeds contain cyanide, a toxic substance. Although a few apple seeds will likely not harm your dog, this harmful substance can accumulate over time if ingested regularly. Apple cores on the other hand are choking hazards for dogs. At Puppy Pawfection, we like to cut our apples in slices so its easier for our dogs to eat them. Also, we love to experiment with DIY apple treats which are abundant over the internet. As with any other treat, make sure you feed them in moderation.
Oatmeal is not for regular feeding but is a great choice for the occasional additive or for when your dog has minor gastrointestinal issues. Oatmeal is a great source for soluble fiber and linoleic acid (type of omega-6 fatty acid). Oatmeal is great for older dogs who need help keeping regular bowel movements. On the other hand, oatmeal is a great alternative source of grain for dogs who are allergic to wheat.
Peas (snow peas, sugar snap peas, and garden peas) are among one of the healthiest snacks for your dog. They are a wonderful source of vitamins A, B, and K and contain essential minerals like iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Peas are also rich in protein, fiber, and antioxidants which promote healthy skin, heart, and eyes.
Peas can be fed fresh, frozen, or thawed, but caution should be taken when considering canned peas as they are usually very high in sodium, which can be harmful do dogs. Peas should not be given to dogs with kidney problems and they contain purines, a natural chemical found in other foods and drinks. Purines produce uric acid which are filtered through the kidneys which can lead to kidney stones and other kidney conditions.
Carrots can be an excellent treat for your dog that are affordable and easily found in groceries. Carrots can be a great source of Beta-Carotene, vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B1, and B6, potassium, and fiber. However, like many vegetables, each cell of a carrot is protected by a thin wall of cellulose. Cellulose cannot be metabolized by dogs and as a result, you will notice that chunks of carrots can pass through you dog's digestive track. This can easily be addressed by cooking or steaming the carrots. Fresh or frozen carrots will not provide as much nutritional benefits but are trusted to support canine dental health by gently scraping your dog's teeth and preventing plaque build up.
While being highly nutritious, carrots are low calorie. For example, one baby carrot is only about 4 calories making it an extremely healthy treat option. One thing to note is that despite being low in calories, carrots contain natural sugars which can cause problems for diabetic dogs. As with any treat, caution should be taken to ensure your dog doesn't choke on any treats.
Nori, Kelp, and Spirulina are different types of seaweeds that are beneficial to dogs. Seaweed is rich in protein, galactans, vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, zinc, copper, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, sterols and chlorophyll. Please note that dried wild seaweed that you find along beaches can be a hazard to your dog's health. Nearly 2/3 dogs that get sick from beach dried seaweed die as the digested seaweed expands inside the stomach clogging up the digestive track.
Seaweed promotes good for maintaining a healthy coat, cognitive function, joint health, tissue regeneration, and metabolism. Click here to learn more about how Nori, Kelp, and Spirulina help keep your dog healthy.
You may be thinking "aren't fats bad?" but in this case it isn't. Coconut oil is truly what you would call a super food. Coconut oil contains 64% Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) which helps with digestion improvement, immune system support, weight loss, and thyroid, skin, and coat health. MCFAs in coconut oil are made up of 48% lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. It also has 8% carylic acid, 7% capric acid, 6% oleic acid, 2% linoleic acid, and also some myristic and palmitic acids.
Most of the health benefits mentioned above come from coconut oils come from MCFAs. Another benefit is that MCFAs are efficiently metabolized to provide an immediate source of energy which helps overweight dogs lose weight and help sedentary dogs feel energetic. Coconut oil offers a plethora of benefits to your dog's skin, digestive system, immune system, metabolic system, musculoskeletal system, brain, eyes, ears, and mouth. Visit this in-depth article to find out more about the benefits of coconut oil to your dog.
Peanut butter. A favorite treat of many canines. Not only is it a good source of protein, but it also contains heart healthy fats, vitamin B, niacin, and vitamin E. Stuff peanut butter into a Kong to keep your dog busy for hours. Choose raw, unsalted peanut butter. NOTE: Be absolutely sure that you're not using sugar-free or "lite" peanut butter that has artificial sweeteners, particularly xylitol, as these substances are incredibly toxic to dogs.
These are just a few of the human foods that you can toss your dog’s way. Remember to try them in small amounts. If your dog experiences any sort of reaction, immediately consult a veterinarian. Before giving your dog any people food, do your research to make sure it’s safe. Never feed your dog toxic human items such as: chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, yeast dough, artificial sweeteners, macadamia nuts, avocadoes, alcohol, or coffee. Consult your veterinarian with any questions on what is safe and what is harmful.