We love our dogs, and our dogs love us, which is why it’s so important to feed them nutritious food. While kibble may be one of the most widely used sources of dog nutrition, veterinary science tells us that dogs also benefit from foods that come out of your fridge. In fact, there are lots of “people foods” that are also healthy for your pup’s continuing wellness, including digestion, skin and coat health, mouth health, and eye health.
Every dog breed, size, and age requires different nutrients and different amounts of them, and some dogs cannot have certain foods. As with anything wellness-related for your furry family member, please talk to your vet before deciding which human foods to regularly feed them.
FOR HEALTHY SKIN AND A HEALTHY COAT:
Keeping your dog’s skin and fur healthy is essential to his or her well-being. High-quality sources of protein and carbs can help with this, such as:
Chicken and fish: Plain, cooked, low-fat, unseasoned chicken and fish (i.e. salmon and tuna) are both fantastic sources of protein for your dog. They contain vital vitamins and nutrients that promote coat health (and digestive health, too!).
Eggs: You’ve probably heard that eggs are good for your dog’s coat health. Like the previous protein sources mentioned, eggs go beyond that to help aid your dog’s digestive health and promote healthy joints and muscles.
Oats: These simple carbs are great for dogs in small quantities. Oats are not highly processed and contain low amounts of gluten. In fact, oats are often found as a primary ingredient in high quality dog kibble. Giving your dog plain, unseasoned, and unsweetened oatmeal will help keep his or her skin and fur healthy and fluffy.
FOR AN UPSET STOMACH:
Upset stomachs are no fun for humans or dogs. Fortunately, there are a few simple foods that you can slide into your doggo’s food bowl to help ease his or her tummy. These foods can also be helpful if your dog seems to have lost his or her appetite.
Yogurt: Just as it is for humans, yogurt is a fantastic treat to give to dogs. Not only is it delicious, it’s also high in essential nutrients like calcium, which will help your dog’s entire body stay healthy and strong. If you buy yogurt for your dog, make sure it contains live, active bacterial cultures, and is plain with no added sweeteners.
Rice: This carb source is a good one to feed your dog, as it has little to no fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Some dogs can even eat rice on a daily basis. Because it helps regulate digestion, it’s a good food to give your dog to prevent or treat sickness. For some dogs, if they are having appetite issues, a chicken and rice mixture may help them get their desire to eat back (though if appetite issues continue, please consult your vet).
Pumpkin: Pureed pumpkin is a wonderful treat for your pooch, as it also promotes healthy digestion. Furthermore, pumpkin helps keep your dog’s urinary tract healthy. It can even help your dog shed some pounds if needed, as it delivers nutrients to his or her body without added carbs or fats.
FOR HEALTHY TEETH:
The smell of a dog’s breath is usually a result of their overall mouth health, which can be improved by keeping their teeth in good shape.
Carrots: These veggies are an ideal food to give your doggo as a health-promoting treat. Chewing them will help loosen up and get rid of plaque on your pooch’s chompers, making them great “toothbrushes.” And while the carrots are being used to help your dog’s teeth stay healthy, the nutrients in this veggie will also help their eyes stay healthy.
Apples: This fruity staple is also a great source of fiber that does a great job of scrubbing away at your dog’s teeth. If you’re going to give your furry friend apples as a snack, though, it may be a good idea to peel off the skin, as apple skin can get stuck in their teeth just as easily as it can in ours. Apples are also high in fiber, which means they will add nutritional value to your pup’s digestive system.
Our dogs love to give us puppy eyes, and we love to give them treats. If you’d like to give your dog a treat outside of their usual biscuits or bones, here are a couple of “just because” human foods that have a wide range of doggy dietary benefits.
Peanut butter: Dogs love peanut butter, and, fortunately, it’s a great treat and source of healthy protein for their diet, though it need only be given to them in small amounts and as an occasional treat. Make sure to buy natural peanut butter with no added sugars or flavorings (especially Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs).
Fruits and veggies: Lots of fruits and veggies, such as berries, watermelon, and green beans, are great little snacks to give your dog, as they provide a healthy sweet treat and are high in tummy-friendly fiber. Just make sure that whatever fiber-rich treats you give them contain no added sugars or spices and have the seeds and other hard parts removed.
As you may be starting to figure out, there are a lot of foods that are good for us that are also good for your pup. If you’re interested in learning more, start talking with your vet about which sources of protein are best for your dog as a supplemental food source. Then watch as your furry companion begins to thrive and live his or her best life, which, of course, will also help you live your best life!