Who doesn’t love to treat their pup to a delectable human snack from time to time? Even though 90% of a dog’s diet should consist of good quality pellets (divided over two to three daily meals), a nutritious treat can add a delicious burst of flavour and nutrition to your pet’s diet.
Human foods can be safe for dogs, provided you choose the right ones. Here are the top 10 human foods that are safe for dogs to consume. Read to the end of the article for more advice on a balanced diet for your dog.
Chicken and fish (cooked; without spices)
Chicken and fish are delicious and packed with protein – and of course, your dog is sure to absolutely love them. Fish is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost your dog’s immune system and promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.
MeatDogs love meat, which is tasty and high in protein. But as much as you may be tempted, avoid giving the bones to your pup: ingesting these can cause serious complications. On a hot summer’s day, try giving your dog a frozen meat snack or a frozen cube of broth with cubes of meat in it.
Humans love peanut butter, and so do dogs! This popular sandwich spread is high in protein, healthy fats, vitamin B, niacin and vitamin E. Try putting peanut butter into one of your dog’s toys – this will keep him busy for hours. Or, sneak your dog’s medication to him in a peanut butter treat. But be careful: avoid any peanut butter labelled ‘lite’ or ‘sugar free’, as it may contain xylitol which is highly toxic to dogs.
Given in moderation, these high-energy snacks are healthy and delicious for your furry friend. They’re also full of protein, omega-3, vitamins and minerals.
Oatmeal, whole-wheat rice and whole grains
These are an excellent source of fibre and essential vitamins and minerals, and they’re especially beneficial to elderly animals or those suffering from constipation. Bear in mind that oatmeal contains gluten and should be avoided in dogs diagnosed with a gluten or wheat intolerance.
Apples, bananas, watermelon, strawberries and oranges
These fruits are loaded with healthy vitamins, particularly vitamin C, and are a superb source of fibre. They can also help to clean the teeth while your dog is happily gnawing away, and apple is known to freshen the breath.
Fed in small quantities to lucky dogs who aren’t lactose intolerant, cheese – especially cottage cheese – offers a healthy dose of protein. If you’ve never given your pooch any cheese, start with small quantities and monitor him for any adverse side effects that may indicate an intolerance, like diarrhoea. If your dog enjoys and tolerates it, consider adding it to his diet in small amounts.
Bugs Bunny’s favourite food is great for dogs too! Given raw, they help to clean your pup’s teeth while providing fibre, vitamin A and beta-carotene. If your dog is on a diet, this low-calorie snack is a particularly excellent treat. Try giving your dog a frozen carrot on a hot day.
Another vegetable that’s packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and beta-carotene. Pumpkin is also filling while being low in calories, making it ideal for those doggies watching their figures. It can be fed raw or cooked, and will help to prevent constipation and keep bowel movements regular.
Cauliflower and broccoli
These high-fibre, cancer-fighting superfoods may not top your pet’s list of favourite treats – however, if he can learn to love them, they’ll provide excellent health benefits. Tip: keep the portions small, as these types of cruciferous veggies tend to cause gas. That’s not pleasant for your pup, or for you!
Am I feeding my dog correctly?
Lots of pet owners aren’t sure of the ideal amounts of food to give their pets, or how often
Ideally, you should weigh the food you give your dog, matching it to his body weight and activity level. Guidelines will be provided on the bag of food. This will prevent over or underfeeding – and remember, all calories count. So, even food given as a treat adds to your pooch’s daily intake. If you give a substantial amount of treats, you should reduce the amount of pellets given accordingly (but remember: treats should only form about 10% of your dog’s diet).
Vitally important: your dog must always have access to fresh water.
When it comes to soft food, this should be given as a treat only, and comprise a maximum of 10% of your dog’s diet. It’s not the healthiest thing to feed your dog, and because it’s sticky, it tends to cling to the teeth and promote plaque build-up and decay.
If you want to vary your dog’s diet and spoil him with something special, the treats we’ve listed are great options. But whatever you do, be sure to avoid these 10 dangerous foods for your dog – they can cause serious complications. Happy treating!