Healthy Human Foods for Dogs
Many foods that people eat are known to cause dogs and other pets to become overweight or have serious digestive problems, with the majority of veterinarians suggesting not to feed them food from the table. We have found that this depends on what type of food it is, as many people-type foods are excellent for dog, cats and pets as long as it doesn’t comprise over 25% of their daily caloric total. Healthy human foods for all pets helps save on the food bill and makes them feel like they are part of the family. If it is good enough for you, it is good enough for the pets …. as long as a certain amount of common sense is used.
For any serious diet change in your pet, make sure you contact your veterinarian if the dog is on routine medications. Upsetting the vitamin and mineral balances in your pet’s diet can have negative effects on their health. Medications interact badly with some chemicals and nutrients. It is best to be careful about what they are fed, making sure it is safe.
Good nutrition combined with a health care program almost always will extend your dog’s life by as much as 15 percent. And if you are like me, that little bit keeps your best friend around a little more. The suggestions we make or use ourselves are not meant to replace your dog’s normal, balanced diet. Rather, they are alternative ideas for human food to be used as rewards, treats or for adding a little variety to your dog’s meals.
APPLES for dogs
Apples are wonderful for dogs if given in small amounts, especially quartered apples with the skin left on. First remove the seeds as they are extremely toxic to dogs. A small amount of seeds are safe, but the seeds contain the poison “amygdlin” which is a form of cyanide.
Stirring applesauce or applesauce with cinnamon into their food provides variety. First give them a bite of a spoon to see if they even like it….repeat this for several days as they may discover, “Not bad!”
Cyanide from the apple seeds prevents the blood from carrying oxygen throughout the body, especially if too much is consumed. But as long as the seed casing is not broken, the dog’s body will detoxify itself and the cyanide will eventually pass through the dog’s body totally intact.
The apple itself is a very crisp and sweet which dogs enjoy and love to munch on. Eating apple skins will make their own skin very healthy, containing plant chemicals referred to as phytonutrients. These chemicals are thought to be cancer preventives in humans and a source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and fiber.
Dogs enjoy the taste of brewer’s yeast (purchased at health food stores…not baking yeast which makes dogs very sick), a yeast left over from making alcohol. Not only full of Vitamin B for the animal’s skin, coat, and their metabolism, but many dog owners swear by it as a flea preventive. Once the yeast enters the dog’s system, it gives off an unpleasant odor to fleas which they do not like…so off they go.
Brewer’s yeast is also said to stimulate the dog’s immune system. If the dog is a picky eater, sometimes by sprinkling brewer’s yeast on the dog food it will perk up an appetite. It also contains biotin, minerals including zinc, and high quality proteins which assist in the control of shedding. The advantage of Brewer’s Yeast is that it is good for dogs and their owners alike.
Cooked EGGS are excellent for dogs
Eggs are very healthy for dogs, as long as they are cooked, containing digestible forms of protein, riboflavin, and selenium. They are particularly good as a protein boost for dogs with digestive issues.
Scrambled eggs are a dog’s favorite meal or mixed with their usual canine feed. My pickiest dog will eat scrambled eggs, or those who are ill. Raw egg whites cause biotin deficiency so they should be avoided, even though many dog owners feed raw eggs as part of their dog’s raw food diet. Try to put out a little effort by boiling them or scrambling them. No salt or pepper should be used at all.
A good source of omega-3 fatty acids, flax seed contains essential fatty acids good for a dog’s skin and coat. Ground flax seed is best consumed by dogs prior to feeding as it is known to go rancid pretty quick. Flax seed is a good source of fiber, while flax oil is more of a concentrated form of omega-3 fatty acids but without fiber. If you do have flax oil or seed, make sure they are stored in the refrigerator inside a dark air-tight container.
Also called linseed oil, flax seed oil has been suggested as more pleasing than fish oil supplements. Flax seed oil has more levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) as opposed to fish oil, while also containing omega-6 fatty acids. ALA ultimately converts to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in some species, of significant benefit in immune disorders and chronic inflammatory body management.
Green beans in a dog’s diet is an excellent source of many things—Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, and manganese. It is a low-calorie filler for obese or heavy dogs or helps dogs maintain a healthy weight. A treat for many dogs is frozen green beans as they are empty calories and can be used for dogs who are continuously hungry and “munch happy.”
As any old-timer will tell you, a daily breakfast of oatmeal provides an excellent source of fiber. It is the same for our dog. Oatmeal can be extremely beneficial for older dogs with irregular bowels. Also, it provides a wonderful diet source for animals or people allergic to wheat. For dogs, it should be cooked plain with no sugar or flavorings.
Pumpkin is considered an excellent source of beta carotene and fiber, with beta carotene a source of Vitamin A. Boiled fresh pumpkin mixed with their food helps defer the new over-the-counter digestible foods that advertise a lower stool amounts. The pumpkin helps to clean out the bowels that have a certain amount of “packing” in them.
The pumpkin seeds that are processed are used by many dog owners to remove worms in the intestines, as much as 1/2 tsp daily of the ground seeds. A good thing to do is add half-cup of ground pumpkin to the dog food, toss it with the ground pumpkin seeds with the dry food or mix it with some canned food.
Yogurt has been around for awhile in the diet for dog and pets, an available source of calcium and protein. Plain yogurt with no sugars or artificial sweeteners with live active bacteria should be used which acts as a probiotic. Yogurt for heavy dogs and obese pets should be one that contains fat substitutes (fat-free) such as Simplesse or Olestra. Many dog breeders who have sickly puppies will add yogurt to the puppy’s diet to build up there immune system.
Dogs and pets who beg at the table are doing so because of their need for close companionship—they are part of the family. The dog hears its owners conversing at the table while they are eating delicious smelling food. Why should they not have the same right?
A dog or pet who eats off the table and becomes obese is an animal who is continuously fed fattening and unhealthy foods. Usually an obese dog or pet has an overweight owner, unless there is a health issue involved or it is an older pet not getting exercise. Feeding the family pet healthy foods or placing a bowl of healthy food on the floor beside their owner makes them feel wanted and part of the family.
The pet’s serving bowl does not need everything that is served on the table nor large servings, only small amounts of food they are safe eating. It is not feeding them at the table that make them obese, it is what is fed to them and the amounts served. Use common sense… but allow them to feel part of the family. After all, aren’t they our best friends?