Helpful or Harmful: What Can You Feed Your Dog?
It’s a familiar situation for a dog owner. You’re sitting down to a delicious meal, and you’re hungry. But just as you’re about to take the first bite, you feel beady eyes boring into you. Sure enough, your dog is sitting there, staring pleadingly at you. Your poor, starving dog, who is trying to convince you that they have literally never eaten anything, ever, in their lives.
Those puppy dog eyes can be very effective. You might find yourself wondering – would one bite hurt?
Of course, we’ve all heard horror stories about a single grape killing someone’s beloved pet. Any sensible pet owner knows that not every type of human food is suitable for dogs. However, if you’re looking to give your dog a treat, or even supplement their regular diet, there are plenty of foods that are safe for dogs to eat. However, it’s important to know which foods are safe – and which foods aren’t.
Foods Your Dog Can Eat
Many fruits and vegetables, as well as most types of meat, are suitable for your dog. You might notice that commercial dog foods include turkey or chicken, as well as rice and vegetables. While you should supplement your dog’s diet in moderation, here are a few foods that are fine, even nourishing, to feed to your dog.
Fruit and Vegetables for Dogs
Fruits and vegetables are usually fine to feed your dog. There are a few notable exceptions, which we’ll discuss later. While individual dogs may vary, here are a few foods you can give to your dog:
· Sweet potatoes
· Cooked potatoes
Always be sure to cut vegetables like carrots into bite-size pieces, preventing your dog from choking. While most fruits and vegetables contain protein and fiber that’s good for dogs, too much can lead to an upset stomach. If your dog suffers from vomiting, diarrhoea, or nausea after eating one of these treats, it’s possible that you’re feeding them too much.
Meat for Healthy Dogs
Meats are a popular treat for our dogs. Fortunately, most of them are perfectly safe for our precious pets to eat.
However, it’s always best to serve your dog meat that’s been properly cooked. Raw salmon, for instance, can contain a parasite that may harm your dog. So, this means that you can’t share your sushi with your pet!
Always make sure meats like turkey, chicken, and fish are properly boned. Small fish bones or the dreaded chicken bones can stick in a dog’s throat, or even cause digestion problems and damage. If you want to give your dog a meaty treat, pull off bite-sized pieces of meat, instead of giving your dog a whole carcass or even part of one.
Also, make sure the meat hasn’t been cooked with foods that aren’t safe for dogs. Garlic and onions aren’t suitable for dogs, but they’re a popular ingredient to cook alongside meat.
Other Dog-Friendly Snacks
There are other human foods that can provide nutrition and protein to dogs. As always, it’s best to serve these foods in moderation.
· Peanut butter
· Cooked rice
Scrambled eggs can make a delicious breakfast for a dog. However, if you supplement the eggs with a splash of milk, be sure not to add too much. Milk in moderation is fine for dogs, but it can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, since dogs are prone to lactose intolerance.
Bread also contains a lot of sugar. Remember that your dog is much smaller than you are and can only tolerate sugar and salt in smaller amounts.
Peanut butter is another well-known, popular snack for dogs. If your dog doesn’t like taking their medication, try smothering the pill in peanut butter or another treat, like a piece of ham. The peanut butter hides the taste of the pill and encourages your dog to swallow it properly!
Foods Your Dog CAN’T Eat
Just about every dog owner will find themselves frantically Googling “Is [this] food safe for dogs?” after their pet has somehow got their paws on something they weren’t supposed to eat. While most foods are fine for dogs, at least in moderation, there are some foods you’ll definitely want to keep out of your pet’s diet.
This is something every dog owner knows – chocolate is very, very bad for dogs. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, stimulants which dogs can’t tolerate. If your dog eats too much chocolate, you should seek a vet’s advice immediately.
The darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration of poisonous stimulations. If you dog does eat some chocolate by mistake, a lot will depend on how much they ate and how dark the chocolate is. For example, a single dark chocolate could kill a small dog, but a larger dog could eat a handful of milk or white chocolate and suffer only mild stomach upset.
Nevertheless, if your dog does eat some chocolate by mistake, it’s best to get them checked out regardless.
Alcohol can lead to ethanol poisoning in dogs, which can result in death. While it’s unlikely that a pet owner would crack open a beer to share with their pet, it’s important to keep an eye on your drink. Dogs are sneaky, and they can drain your glass of wine or beer faster than you think. Never let your dog drink even a tiny bit of alcohol.
· Raisins and Grapes
You may be tempted to give your dog a raisin as a treat. Resist the temptation. Grapes and especially raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. A larger dog may be able to eat a few grapes or raisins and be fine, but the compounds can quickly build up in their system.
There are a few other foods that your dog can’t eat, which may surprise you:
· Lemons and Limes
· Macadamia Nuts
Your Dog and Human Food
There’s nothing wrong with giving your dog a little treat from time to time, presuming you keep it in moderation and avoid the dangerous foods.
However, all dogs are individuals. A treat that’s fine for one dog could upset another dog’s stomach. If in doubt, leave it out!