Do's and Don'ts of Sharing Human Food with Your Dog

The Do’s and Don’ts of Sharing Human Food with Your Dog

Before feeding your dog table scraps, know what’s safe! Discover 5 human foods good for dogs and 5 to avoid, preventing vet visits and ensuring their health

We all know that look. Those puppy eyes staring up at you from under the dining table, silently (or not so silently!) begging for a bite of what smells so good. They think, whatever you’re having, I’ll have some of that!

Not so fast! First it’s not a good idea to get your dog in the habit of being hand fed from the table. Once started, it’s a hard habit to break. Since many human foods and recipes are not suitable for your furry companion, as temping as it is to share, it’s crucial to know what foods are safe, and which ones could be harmful or even toxic, leading to an emergency trip to the vet, which can be costly and stressful for both of you!

In this post, we’ll highlight five human foods that are healthy for dogs and five you should avoid at all costs.

Five Healthy Human Foods for Dogs:

Lean Meats: Cooked chicken, turkey, and beef are packed with essential proteins that dogs need. When serving these meats, make sure they are unseasoned and boneless. If you want to give a dog a bone, be sure to use the proper kind, like beef bones suitable for gnawing, which can be beneficial to their teeth and gums, aside from being a yummy treat!

Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon helps keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy. Remember to prepare the salmon properly by checking for bones. It’s okay to feed the skin but don’t add any spices that could harm your dog. The best way to cook salmon for a dog is to poach it in a little water to maintain the nutrients. You can also sear the skin using a beneficial oil that is safe for dogs such as coconut (easy for their system metabolize), or sunflower oil, or olive oil (rich in Omega 3s).

Carrots: This crunchy vegetable is an excellent low-calorie snack for dogs. Carrots are high in fiber and vitamin A and can even help with dental health. It may take a bit of patience if your dog is resistant to veggies, but over time you may find they absolutely love it and will run when they hear you peeling and chopping!

Blueberries: These little fruits are powerhouses of antioxidants and vitamins. They make for a perfect treat and can be added to your dog’s regular food or given as a snack. It’s always a good idea to use fresh organic fruits and vegetables where possible, to avoid any pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

Peanut Butter: A favorite treat for many dogs, peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats. However, ensure its unsalted with no added sugar and doesn’t contain xylitol, a harmful artificial sweetener which can be fatal. To play it safe, you can also try peanut butter formulated specifically for your canine companion. There are a variety of options available and some even offer a combination of flavors like pumpkin, which is a great source of fiber.

Five Foods to Avoid Giving Your Dog:

Grapes and Raisins: These might seem like harmless treats, but they are an absolute no-no. Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. Even a small amount can be lethal. If you’re going to share fruits with your furry friend, there are a number of choices which are healthy such as peeled apples, bananas, fresh blueberries, strawberries, and watermelon, which is a terrific snack on a hot summer day. Just be sure to remove the seeds and don’t let them chew the rind.

Chocolate: The theobromine in chocolate is extremely dangerous for dogs. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate have the highest levels, but all types should be kept away from pets. As much as humans love to indulge, be sure to keep any chocolate foods far away from your dog to avoid an unwanted illness, which is rare cases can be fatal.

Garlic and Onions: These common kitchen ingredients can damage a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia and sometimes even death. It’s essential to be cautious with dishes that might contain these ingredients. If you are preparing home cooked food for your dog, or partially home cooking, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a professional to ensure you are using safe and beneficial ingredients as well as providing balanced nutrition.

Macadamia Nuts: Consumption of these nuts can cause symptoms like weakness, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. There are some nuts which are safe for your dog such as peanuts, which is the safest one to avoid any adverse reaction. If you opt to give your dog peanuts, make sure they do not contain any salt, added sugars or seasonings.

Caffeinated Beverages: Tea, coffee, and other caffeine-rich drinks or foods can lead to rapid breathing, restlessness, heart palpitations, and seizures in dogs. Always keep these beverages out of reach from your dog and make sure they always have clean fresh water available at all times. Some pet parents also give their pooches filtered water only, since additives in tap water such as chlorine, can be harmful and off-putting to your beloved pet.

While sharing food with our pets can be a great bonding experience, safety should always come first. It’s always a good idea to double-check the safe use of any human food you are considering giving to your dog. When in doubt, consult with a veterinarian or canine nutrition expert to ensure the health and happiness of your furry friend is always your top priority.

(See our post on gourmet pet food!)

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