Dogs are very single-minded when it comes to food, they tend to demolish it like they haven’t eaten in months and give little thought to calories and portion control. Since they’re walking hairy trashcans with legs, that will thoughtlessly eat anything, it’s up to us to keep them on the straight and narrow for the kinds of foods that are good for dogs.
Many of us treat our furry friends as children and are guilty of pampering them too much. It’s probably got something to do with the way they stare at us with those big brown eyes as we eat or the unlimited amounts of drool they produce.
When our will is finally broken and we hand them a titbit from our plate, we can unknowingly be giving them food that is unhealthy or even toxic to dogs.
Some foods can be choking hazards for dogs, or cause allergic reactions. Other foods have the potential for bacterial infections like Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. Coli. Additional problems include possible damage to teeth, blockages in the intestines, elevated sugar or salt and fat levels in the blood, exposure to parasites, and more long-term conditions such as pancreatitis.
Foods That Are Good For Dogs
It is very important to only feed our dogs human foods that are good for dogs, and known to be safe. So, with this in mind, we’ve compiled a handy checklist of common foods that are good for dogs:
- Beef – A fantastic food for dogs that is a rich source of iron and protein. However, we need to remove all the unhealthy fat trimmings, as lean meat is a must when we give Beef to dogs. Make sure to remove any bones, and cut the meat into small portions to prevent choking.
- Chicken – A great source of protein that is naturally low in fat. Do take care to remove all the chicken bones, as they can be a major choking hazard. Chicken should also be fully cooked before you give it to your dog. Never ever give your dog raw chicken, as this can be highly dangerous.
- Pork – Pork is high in fat, so make sure you remove the fat trimmings. Pork can also contain a large number of parasites, so it’s very important to thoroughly cook it before you give it to your dog.
- Lamb – There are a small number of dogs that can have a food intolerance to the proteins in beef or chicken. Lamb is a great replacement. Be aware that there is a high-fat content, so make sure you remove as much excess fat as you can to make it a little healthier for your furry best friend.
- Turkey – Extremely low in fat with the skin removed, it’s even healthier than chicken. Do remove all the bones, as, like chicken, they are a dangerous choking hazard to your dog.
- Eggs – Eggs contain protein, B-12, Riboflavin, Fatty acids, Omega-3, and Phospholipids. Eggs are best fed to your dog cooked, never given raw.
- Sardines – Sardines contain essential DHA and EPA which is critical for brain health, and the bones are also rich in calcium. Try to avoid the varieties containing sunflower oil, palm oil, and corn oil. The best sardines for dogs are the ones canned in plain water. Also, it’s healthy for your dog to limit their sardine intake to just once or twice a week.
- Tuna – Tuna is another lean healthy protein source for dogs, but you should make sure that it’s plain and doesn’t contain oil or spices. Dogs should only eat tuna in moderation as there is a risk that it may contain Mercury.
- Salmon – An excellent food source that contains Tryptophan which helps produce Serotonin – the happy hormone. It’s also rich in Omega-3s that can give your dog a shiny coat. Salmon is said to be a calming food, so is a wonderful diet addition for those of us with hyper or anxious dogs.
- Shrimp – Contains B-12 and can be given as an occasional treat. Avoid giving shrimp to your dog if it contains any seasonings. Shrimp should be thoroughly cooked before you give it to your dog, as raw shrimp is potentially harmful. Always remove the shell and tail, as they are a choking hazard.
- Sweet Potatoes – Contains Vitamin C, A, Iron, Calcium, and Potassium, as well as lots of fiber. Sweet potatoes are also low in fat to keep your furry friend trim. They’re good for your dog’s eyes, nerves, bones, skin, and muscles. Sweet Potatoes are best given to dogs in moderation, especially those that have Diabetes.
- Corn – The kernels contain healthy antioxidants and protein and can be given to a dog occasionally. However, never give your dog corn on the cob. If your dog accidentally swallows the corn cob, there’s a very real danger it can get stuck in your dog’s gut. Call your vet ASAP.
- Popcorn – Should always be eaten without salt or butter. Take care to remove all un-popped kernels as they can damage your dog’s teeth.
- Broccoli – This can be eaten by your dog either raw or cooked. Broccoli should be consumed in moderation because too much can cause digestive upset.
- Carrots – These fantastic orange vegetables are a safe food for dogs, and contain a healthy source of Vitamin A and fiber. It’s always advisable to cut them into small pieces to prevent choking. Large frozen carrots can be used as chew toys and can help with dental health.
- Lettuce – Is safe, but give it to your dog in moderation, as too much can cause diarrhea.
- Asparagus – Is safe, but needs to be cooked as the stiff stalks can be a choking hazard.
- Cauliflower – Is great for dogs, but in moderation, as too much can cause a digestive upset.
- Zucchini – Perfectly edible for dogs, as long as they’re plain and without seasoning.
- Bell Peppers – All non-spicy bell peppers can be given to dogs, especially the red variety which is the most nutritious.
- Celery – Contains Vitamin K, B6, potassium which is good for blood clotting and bone health. This vegetable is approximately 95% water and should be given to your dog in moderation, as too much can cause excessive urination. It’s quite stringy, so to prevent choking, cut it into small manageable chunks.
- Mushrooms – 99% of mushrooms are edible but not the wild mushroom variety as it may cause mushroom poisoning.
Fruit & Nuts
- Watermelon – Perfectly healthy, you can cut them in pieces and freeze them as a treat. Just remember to remove the seeds, as they can cause an obstruction in the stomach. The rind may also cause gastrointestinal upset, so it’s best to remove that too.
- Oranges – These are great in moderation, but don’t overdo them. Too much can cause a stomach upset due to the fruit being acidic. It’s also high in sugar.
- Mango – contains a lot of fiber, but make sure to remove the skin and pit to prevent choking.
- Cherries – Are safe to eat for your dog but remove the pits to prevent choking.
- Pineapples – Are good in moderation. However, too much can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
- Blueberries – Are a great source of fiber, high in vitamin C, and are naturally low in sugar and calories. They can also be frozen and given as a treat
- Blackberries – Are packed with vitamins and minerals and can be given fresh or frozen.
- Banana – High in potassium, B6, and Vitamin C, Bananas are packed with healthy vitamins and minerals. However, as they are high in sugar, it’s best given to your dog in moderation.
- Strawberries – contain Vitamin C, magnesium, B1, B6, potassium, and Iodine. Dogs should eat strawberries in moderation as they also contain a high amount of sugar. Whenever possible, go for organic, as strawberries are one of the most pesticide-laden fruits you can buy.
- Tomato – Ensure that the Tomato is ripe for an occasional treat. Limit the amount your dog has because tomatoes are naturally acidic. Also, unripe tomatoes are not good for dogs because they contain Tomatine which can be harmful.
- Peanuts and Peanut Butter – Unsalted peanuts contain B-12 and protein but are high in calories and fat, so it’s safe but in moderation. When giving peanut butter, do read the label carefully to make sure it doesn’t contain Xylitol which is very toxic to dogs. Also, you shouldn’t give salted peanuts to your dog as too much is not good for anyone, let alone your dog.
- Coconuts – Coconut oil and coconut milk are incredibly safe and healthy for dogs. Coconuts contain natural antibacterial and anti-fungal elements, and can also treat skin issues.
- Milk – This is good for dogs in small amounts. However, some dogs are lactose intolerant, so start slowly and see how your dog reacts to it.
- Cheese -. Low-fat varieties of cheese such as Mozzarella or Cottage cheese are an excellent addition to your dog’s diet (in moderation). However, some dogs are lactose intolerant, in this case, cheese may be something you’ll need to avoid.
- Yogurt – Unflavoured Organic yogurt is a great healthy option for your dog. Yogurt contains beneficial live bacteria which can prevent leaky gut syndrome and a host of other conditions. Take care to read the label, as some brands contain Xylitol.
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- Bread – Bread is okay as an occasional treat, as too much can cause constipation. It also contains empty calories, so too much will go straight to your dog’s hips. No one likes a wobbly bottom!
- Never give Raisin bread to dogs. If you’re baking bread, keep it away from your furry friend. Dogs have no willpower when it comes to delicious smelling food, and Raw dough can be extremely dangerous to a hungry dog.
- Rice – Rice can be given to dogs in moderation, as too much can lead to weight gain, especially in dogs that have diabetes. Brown rice is harder to digest for your dog.
- Oatmeal – This is a great addition to your dog’s diet, but plain and without sugar. It is a good source of fiber, but try to limit it to once or twice a week as too much can cause diarrhea.
- Honey – Honey can be given to dogs, but in small quantities, as it contains a high amount of sugar. Don’t give to dogs under 1-year-old to prevent Botulism poisoning. For health reasons, limit to 1 tablespoon per day for large dogs and half a teaspoon for medium to smaller dogs. Manuka honey is particularly healthy for dogs.
- Pasta – Plain pasta is safe for dogs to eat, but like rice and bread, pasta contains mostly empty calories. It can be given to dogs in moderation but not as part of a regular diet.
Dogs just love food, and half the time they wolf it down so fast, they barely even taste it. Our furry friends are governed by their noses, so if it smells yummy, they’ll happily eat it. With this in mind, it’s up to us to be responsible adults in this situation and make sure they only eat safe healthy food for dogs.
If you are ever in doubt about the quality of the food that you are giving your dog, ask your vet.
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All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice