8 Safe People Foods That Are “Dog-Approved”
Can you imagine if you had to eat the same food every day? Your dog can’t either—maybe that’s why he’s begging for a scrap of that delicious “people food” you have on your fork. If your pooch’s puppy eyes are as effective on you as Chilly’s are on me—and you can’t resist giving him just a nibble off your plate—then I offer good news! Many of your favorite foods are safe for dogs, and are actually beneficial to their health.
Here are 8 safe people foods that are “dog-approved”:
- Baby carrots. One of Chilly’s favorites (especially when it’s dipped in plain hummus – yum!), baby carrots are great for a dog’s teeth and are low in calories and high in fiber and beta carotene/vitamin A.
- Yogurt. A good source of available calcium and protein, yogurt also contains active bacteria that can act as a probiotic and is good for your dog’s digestive system. When choosing yogurt, pick one that does not contain artificial sweeteners or added sugars. For pudgy pooches, pick a fat-free yogurt that does not contain fat substitutes such as Simplesse or Olestra. And who doesn’t enjoy frozen yogurt as a nice summer treat to enjoy in the park?
- Salmon. Give your dog’s coat some extra shine and support his or her immune system with this great source of omega 3 fatty acids. There has also been some indication that consuming salmon may benefit dogs with allergies. Feed your dog cooked salmon (raw salmon can carry a parasite that can make your dog sick), add salmon oil to his food bowl, or slip him some of your unwanted fish skins.
Eggs. Eggs are a good source of easily digestible protein, riboflavin and selenium, making them a healthy snack.For dogs that are susceptible to an upset stomach, scrambling up an egg can be a great protein boost. Be sure to use cooked whole eggs, as raw egg whites can cause biotin deficiency, which can negatively affect a dog’s skin and coat health. Consider bringing cooked eggs to your next training or agility class to encourage good behavior (although you may be “hounded” by other canine students for a sample).
- Green beans. A filling treat that’s low in calories, green beans are great for dogs prone to weight gain and can even be used as an inexpensive way to replace some of his regular food. Green beans are also a good source of plant fiber, vitamins K and C and manganese. Select beans that have no added salt and serve straight from the can or as a frozen treat.
- Apple slices. Next time to you grab an apple for yourself, slice one up for your furry friend as well. Leave the skin on but take the seeds out—the skin is full of plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that are said to be protective against some cancers in humans. Apple seeds contain cyanide, which is poisonous. Apples are a good source of fiber as well as vitamin A and C, and also help to clean residue off a dog’s teeth, which helps to freshen their breath.
- Oatmeal. A great source of soluble fiber, oatmeal can be especially beneficial for some older dogs who have difficulty maintaining a regular bowel movement. It is also a great alternate grain for dogs who are allergic to wheat. Keep in mind oatmeal should always be fed cooked and plain with no sugar or flavoring.
- Sweet potatoes. The simple, healthy and reasonably priced sweet potato is great sliced or dehydrated as a chewy treat for your dog. According to Ernie Ward, DVM, a practicing veterinarian and author of CHOW HOUNDS: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter – A Vet’s Plan to Save Their Lives, this super food is rich in dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Dr. Ward recommends feeding your dog sweet potatoes at least weekly.
Read Before You Feed
A properly balanced diet coupled with a health care program can help your dog live a long and healthy life. The suggestions above are not meant to replace your dog’s normal diet; they’re ideas for alternative treats or for adding a little variety to your pup’s meals.
Always consult your veterinarian before introducing something new to your dog's diet and never feed your dog toxic human items such as: chocolate, onions and garlic, grapes and raisins, yeast dough, artificial sweeteners (xylitol), macadamia nuts, avocados, alcohol or coffee. For more information about unsafe people food and animal poison control visit www.aspca.org (search people food to avoid feeding your pet).
The thoughts and opinions here are solely those of Kristen Levine, based on her many years of experience working with pets. Before you chose to make changes to your pets diet, be sure you check with your veterinarian.