When it comes to giving your dog a special treat, there are plenty of human foods for dogs that will put a smile on her face. In fact, several human food options can actually provide a whole food nutrition boost to the menu.
While people food for dogs can be a healthy addition to supplement your canine’s diet, you should keep it to 10% or less of their calorie intake. Avoid all highly processed foods, and always do your research before giving your dog people food – many common foods which are good for people are actually toxic to our pets! Yes, there are plenty of things dogs can't eat that are perfectly safe for people!
Choose foods that add nutritional value by sticking to nutrient rich options such as:
Eggs are an excellent source of highly digestible protein that even the most finicky canines find absolutely delish! Because they are designed to be everything a growing chick needs to develop, they have a complete amino acid profile, and are a true protein superfood.
Eggs are also rich in Vitamin A and B12, riboflavin, iron, selenium and fatty acids. They are, however, relatively high in cholesterol so it is important to feed them in moderation – no more than 2-3 eggs per week.
It is best to cook eggs before serving them. If you buy organic eggs, you can also grind up the shells from hard boiled eggs and add them right to the dinner bowl for a boost of calcium to support healthy bones and teeth.
2. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a fantastic addition to your dog’s diet as long as you keep in mind that it is rich in both fat and calories and should be fed in moderation as a treat. It also contains lots of protein, niacin, and vitamins B and E.
To pick out the best for your pup, consider going for unsalted or “natural” style peanut butter to avoid the additions (including sodium and sugars) that make some brands taste so good to people.
IMPORTANT: Never buy “diet” or “sugar free” versions of peanut butter for your dog. The artificial sweetener Xylitol, sometimes used in peanut butter, is highly toxic and potentially deadly to dogs. Always check the label!
3. Lean Meats and Fish
Lean meats and fish are one of the healthiest people foods you can feed your canine companion. Stick to a simple preparation and avoid spices, salt, and the addition of extra fat during the cooking process. Poaching, steaming and broiling are all excellent cooking methods.
Cartilage and connective tissue found in meat are both excellent supplements, particularly for bone and joint support for aging seniors. However, avoid feeding any bones as they are brittle when cooked and can present a serious risk for either choking or damage to the digestive tract.
Low in calories and rich in dietary fiber, carrots are a healthy people food snack for dogs. Packed with vitamin A, carrots boost eye, skin and coat health and support a healthy immune system.
You can feed them raw or cooked. In fact, a whole carrot is a great alternative to rawhide and can help keep teeth clean during a nice long (supervised) chew.
Fun Tip: Frozen chopped carrots make a nice cooling treat for dogs to enjoy on a hot summer day!
Considered one of nature’s superfoods, blueberries are perfectly safe for our furry friends. In addition to having high amounts of vitamin C, blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants which provide long term immune system support against “free radicals,” compounds that hasten aging at the cellular level.
Blueberries are just the right size to use as a reward during a training session. You might be surprised how enthusiastic your pooch will be to learn that new trick with these tasty, bite-sized, natural treats offered as a reward!
6. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes aren’t just for Thanksgiving dinner! They make an excellent and inexpensive supplement to your dog’s diet. They offer plenty of natural fiber and are a low-glycemic source of carbohydrates.
These tubers are also nutrient dense with lots of vitamin A, B6 and C, as well as plenty of potassium, calcium and iron. They are, however, relatively high in calories so be sure to keep them in moderation for pudgy pups.
In general, dairy products can be difficult for some dogs to digest because they contain lactose which some canines lack the enzymes to digest. However, because yogurt is fermented it is full of probiotics that can be very beneficial for the digestive system, even for dogs.
Try adding a very small amount to your pooch’s regular meals, starting with a single tablespoon. As long as she tolerates it well, a few tablespoons of plain nonfat yogurt can be added as a daily supplement to her meals. Just avoid all flavored varieties which have added sugars. And, artificial sweeteners are definitely on the list of things dogs can't eat.
Pumpkin is a nutrient and fiber dense food that can be an effective treatment for mild diarrhea in dogs. It is one of those human foods for dogs that is packed with nutrients too. It is particularly rich in vitamins A, C, and E as well as potassium and beta carotene.
It is important to limit the amount of pumpkin you feed to 1-3 tablespoons at a time, depending on the size of your furry friend. Also, be sure to use either steamed or roasted pumpkin or plain canned pumpkin. Do not use any prepared pumpkin that has been spiced in advance (nutmeg, in particular, is a toxin for dogs).
Like blueberries, peas are perfectly sized for a handy and healthy training treat, a fantastic alternative to many processed treats full of fats and preservatives.
Feed them fresh or frozen to give your canine a healthy boost of thiamin, potassium and phosphorous. Avoid canned peas which are often full of sodium.
Although it is not very nutrient dense, cooked rice is a bland food that you can safely feed your dog when he has a sensitive stomach or diarrhea. Of course, it is also important to check with your vet if your dog has either symptom to make sure it is not a sign of something else that might need medical attention.
To make rice more palatable, consider cooking it in low sodium chicken broth or mixing in a bit of chicken breast.
Here at Lolahemp, we are dedicated to helping pet owners find natural ways to improve their pet’s health and quality of life. That includes giving you helpful information about the right people food for dogs that can actually add value to your pup's diet!