Despite the fact that we are often told "don't give people food to your dog," there are actually quite a few people foods that are just fine–even beneficial–to our canine companions. Including these foods as supplements or treats can add variety to your dog's diet as well as provide a boost to his health. Though some foods can be toxic, or at the very least, unhealthy for your pooch (I wouldn't recommend polishing off an entire bag of potato chips together), you can rest assured that the foods listed here are healthy for dogs unless yours has an allergy or special sensitivity. These twenty foods are not meant to replace a regular canine diet. It is always safest to introduce new foods one-at-a-time and in small quantities.
20 people foods you can share with your dog
1. Apples Apples are a great source of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. They help clean teeth and freshen breath. Just be sure to remove the seeds and core, as they can be choking hazards, and seeds, in large quantity, can be toxic.
2. Blueberries Blueberries are as good for our dogs as they are for us. They are an antioxidant and a great source of fiber. They can be frozen as a crunchy treat.
3. Brewer's Yeast Brewer's yeast is an excellent source of vitamin B, which is good for your pooch's skin and coat. Dogs love the taste, so sprinkle it on your dog's food to help with picky eating or appetite issues. Please don't confuse brewer's yeast for baking yeast, which will make your dog very sick. Do NOT give baking yeast to your dog.
4. Carrots Carrots are a great snack or treat for dogs. Baby carrots are convenient and well-liked by most canines. They are especially good for pets on a weight loss program, because they are low in calories and high in fiber. Carrots are high in beta-carotene/vitaminA and are excellent for dental health.
5. Chicken Cooked chicken is often a staple of feeding your dog a homemade diet and can also be used as a treat or added to regular food for picky eaters or for added protein.
6. Cottage Cheese If your dog digests dairy well (proceed with caution...not all dogs do), cottage cheese can be a good source of calcium. It is easy to add to your dog's food, and most dogs love it. Other types of cheese can also be given sparingly, as they are high in fat.
7. Eggs Cooked eggs can be added to your dog's food or given as a snack. It is a great way to give your pooch a protein boost, and eggs also soothe upset tummies. Eggs are a good source of riboflavin and selenium.
8. Green Beans Green beans are a healthy, low-calorie treat for your dog. They are a source of fiber, vitamin K, and vitamin C. They can be given raw or cooked, but it's best to avoid the canned variety, as canned green beans often contain added salt. Frozen green beans make an excellent treat, and since green beans are filling, they can be used to replace some of your pet's food for weight management.
9. Oatmeal Oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber. It can help if your pooch has irregular bowel issues, especially if she is getting on in years. Always use plain cooked oatmeal, never oatmeal with added sugars or flavors.
10. Parsley A bit of chopped parsley over your dog's food or baked into homemade treats is great for your pooch's breath and is a good source of calcium, potassium, and beta-carotene.
11. Peanut Butter Peanut butter is a great source of protein and good, heart-healthy fats. It also contains vitamin B, niacin, and vitamin E. Raw, unsalted, natural peanut butter is the way to go. Your dog can lick it off a spoon, you can bake it into treats, or it can be frozen into an ice cube tray or a Kong.
12. Peas Peas can be added to your dog's food or given as a treat. They are great frozen or fresh. Peas are an excellent source of vitamin B, thiamin, phosphorous, and potassium.
13. Peppermint Peppermint is strong, so it's best used sparingly as an ingredient in homemade dog treats to help with upset tummies or bad breath.
14. Popcorn Popcorn is a fun treat you and your dog can enjoy together. For your pooch, it must be air-popped and free of butter, oil, and salt (it's probably best for you that way, too). Popcorn is low in calories and contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.
15. Pumpkin Pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber, so it can help tremendously with digestive issues, keeping things moving through the GI tract at the right pace. It is also an excellent source of beta-carotene/vitamin A. Always use plain, cooked pumpkin (the canned variety works just fine). It can be given alone or mixed into your dog's food, and most dogs love it.
16. Rice Rice is great for an upset tummy. You can serve either brown rice or white rice. Brown rice is higher in protein and lower in fat. White rice is an easily digestible carbohydrate, which is a great source of energy.
17. Salmon Cooked salmon and salmon skin is a great source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. It keeps your dog's coat healthy and shiny and provides immune system support. Salmon oil can be added to your pet's food as a supplement for the same effect.
18. Squash Like pumpkin, any kind of squash can be used to bulk up your dog's stool. It is a good source of beta-carotene/vitamin A. Cooked squash can be added to your pet's food, or it can be sliced and frozen for a crunchy treat.
19. Sweet Potato Sweet potatoes are another great source of fiber. They contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta-carotene/vitamin A, and manganese. Add a scoop of cooked sweet potato to your dog's food or slice and dehydrate for a chewy treat.
20. Yogurt Plain yogurts with active bacteria can be used as a probiotic, which is excellent for your dog's digestive system, especially if he has a sensitive tummy. Yogurt is high in calcium and protein. It can be used as a treat, frozen in a Kong, or mixed with your dog's food. Be sure to steer clear of yogurt with artificial sweeteners or added sugars, and if your dog is overweight, choose a low fat variety.
Whenever introducing a new food into your pet's diet, be sure to take things slow by introducing it in small quantities. Though these foods are very healthy for most canines, some dogs may have sensitivities, so always use caution. Once you know your pet is good to go, you can slowly increase the amount you offer. It is also important to only introduce one new food at a time so that if there is a sensitivity or reaction, you'll be sure to know which new food is causing it. Introducing the new foods one-at-a-time will also ensure your pet's system isn't shocked.
It's important to know that some foods that are healthy for us are toxic to dogs, so be sure to do your research before supplementing with something new. A list of foods that have proven toxic to dogs and should not be given in any quantity are: alcohol, avocado, chocolate, coffee, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, raisins, and yeast dough.
What people foods do you give your dog?
This article, written by me, originally appeared as a contributor article on Hybrid Rasta Mama. It appears here, with minor changes, with permission.