If the way to your dog’s heart is through her stomach, you undoubtedly love sharing snacks with your most loyal companion. While we love making our pups happy by showering them with treats, it’s even more important to keep them healthy and safe.
The good news is, there are some foods that you and your four-legged friend can enjoy together, and even benefit from. Although this list is by no means extensive, check out 13 of the healthiest “people foods” you can enjoy with your dog!
1. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter and dogs seem to be a classic combination! The creamy food can be given as a high-protein treat that’s also rich in healthy fats, but it’s still high in calories and should be given in moderation. Try filling a stuffable toy with the stuff to keep your pooch occupied — pop it in the freezer for a longer-lasting treat!
The biggest thing pet parents should look out for is xylitol in peanut butter. The artificial sweetener is often found in “sugar-free” foods, candy, and gum, and it can be deadly to dogs.
2. Chicken / Beef / Turkey
Poultry is a wonderful way to treat your dog to lean protein, and a bit of beef is good for them, too! The trick here is to make sure that it’s plain: no sauces, seasonings, marinades, etc. All these flavorings can contain excess amounts of sugar and salt that’s not good for your dog, plus they can contain ingredients like onions and garlic that can actually be toxic to your dog.
Most pups can tolerate a little bit of pork too, as long as it follows the “plain” rule, but for some, it’s still too rich. Other meats like rabbit, lamb, and duck are okay, too. However, pups should never be fed processed meat such as bacon, sausage, pepperoni or any other kinds of deli meats. Carcinogenic ingredients and high fat contents can lead to health problems down the road.
(Note: some dogs are lactose intolerant, and any dairy products should be given in small amounts.) Full of calcium and protein, cheese is a wonderful and tasty snack to treat your dog, as long as they can tolerate it. Mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheese are all good choices for your hungry hound — in moderation, of course.
Crunchy, cold carrots are a favorite treat for many dogs, and luckily, they’re healthy to boot! They’ll give your pooch a dose of vitamin A, beta carotene, and fiber, plus they’re low in calories.
If your pooch is a fan of carrots, you’re in luck because there are plenty of other good-for-them veggies that they can try. Green beens, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, and cucumbers are among other foods they can safely enjoy raw or steamed.
5. Plain Yogurt
As with cheese, lactose intolerant dogs should stay away from this dairy-based snack. However, those that have no problems with it can get calcium, protein, and digestive cultures from plain yogurt. Anything that’s flavored will likely have too many ingredients and too much sugar.
Again, the key to this treat is to keep it plain; steer clear of pumpkin pie filling, which is filled with spices and sugar. However, cooked canned or fresh pumpkin is very good for our pooches, is great for sensitive stomachs, and provides beta carotene and fiber.
Scrambled, sunny-side up, or hardboiled, our dogs love ’em! Eggs are filled with protein, riboflavin, selenium, fatty acids, and more. Their shell also contains calcium, so you can throw those crunchy pieces right into the scramble, or chop up whole hardboiled eggs to treat your dog.
This fish is another lean protein that your pooch may enjoy! The added benefit of salmon is omega-3 fatty acids, which helps support immune system health, skin and coat health, and more. If you want to give your dog an added boost of omega fatty acids, consider adding an omega supplement to their diet.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Cooked, plain sweet potatoes are a wonderful addition to your dog’s diet and is loaded with fiber, beta carotene, and vitamins B-6 and C. Plain cooked regular potatoes can also be a healthy snack for your dog, just know that they can be toxic when they’re raw, since they’re members of the nightshade family. Don’t let your pup get into potato plants!
The flesh of an apple is a wonderful sweet treat for dogs, supplying them with vitamins A and C, plus some fiber. Make sure to cut the fruit into slices and don’t let your dog eat the whole apple — the seeds in the core are toxic.
Other fruits that are both tasty and nutritionally beneficial are pears, watermelon, pineapples, mangos, and bananas. As with apples, keep stems, pits, and seeds far away from your pooch!
These little superfoods are filled with antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals, and most pups love ’em! Low in calories, they make perfect training treats, and you can even freeze them for a chilly treat. Your pup can also safely enjoy strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Just don’t overdo it on the latter two: they naturally contain xylitol, so consuming large amounts can be problematic.
As long as your dog isn’t sensitive to grains, plain oatmeal is a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. This is usually food that’s easily digestible, so it can be good for dogs experiencing tummy troubles, and you can also add dog-safe fruits, veggies, or eggs into the bowl.
13. Coconut Oil
The benefits of coconut oil are well-known for humans, but did you also know it’s also healthy for dogs? The antiviral, antibacterial oil is full of medium chain fatty acids (MCT’s), which can help improve digestion, oral health, skin, coat, and more. While most humans don’t eat this stuff by the spoonful, but our dogs do! The healthful cooking and baking ingredient can be added to food, put in a stuffable toy (and frozen, if desired), or straight out of the jar!
Just remember that it’s still high in calories so, as always, moderation is key.
Want to learn more? check out 20 Fruits & Veggies Your Dog Will Love!, and make sure you know 7 Fruits & Veggies That Are Harmful To Dogs. As always, do your own research and consult with your vet before feeding your dog anything new.