January is a time when many of us think about how we can improve our diet and exercise. While you’re making efforts to incorporate more fresh vegetables and other ingredients into your daily meals, don’t forget about your four-legged family members!
Today’s post on dog-worthy foods is a guest article from writer Ash Stevens.
We may have all grown up with dogs eating kibble, but commercial dog food is a rather recent development. Dog food started being produced in the 1930’s, so those big, heavy bags of kibble haven’t even been around a hundred years. Our growing understanding of canine nutrition and balanced diets has allowed companies to create some premium dog food, but the home kitchen still possesses some alluring tastes and smells that can make a positively drool-worthy treat for the average dog.
The list of canine-friendly veggies goes on and on. Green beans, peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower are all safe for dogs. Many of them can even be prepared along with our own veggie sides and be grilled or baked. Vegetables like carrots, zucchini, celery, and cucumber can be eaten raw and once grated, sprinkled over their bowl of dinner kibble. Herbs like mint and parsley can also be included, and they happen to make for some colorful breath-freshening treats.
When it comes to fruit, it’s hard to go wrong. Apples, oranges, bananas, melons, and berries make a pleasant addition to just about any dog belly. They pack a blast of sweet flavor that their taste buds are sure to appreciate, and their bodies will enjoy the extra vitamins and minerals. While most dogs may be ready to scarf down fruits in their entirety, please be aware that certain fruit seeds and skins dogs should avoid: apple seeds, stone fruit pits, and banana peels. Stay on the safe side and set aside the fruity extras for the trash or compost pile.
Brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat breads can be eaten in moderation by many dogs. These foods come with a helpful boost of energy plus fiber and other nutrients, but they should still be kept to a minimum. In general, (safe) human foods should comprise no more than 10% of a dog’s diet*.
Anyone cooking up chicken and beef at home knows the alluring powers meat has over dogs. Dogs may eat commercial dog food thanks to modern life and advanced technology, but before that, they were eating scraps. And before they were eating table scraps, they were hunting in packs for animals. Without a doubt, meat is a craving they’re hardwired for.
Many of us already feed our pup leftover morsels of meat, but some people have taken it a step further by adopting a diet of raw meat, organs, and bones for their dogs. There’s debate on both sides concerning the safety, benefits, and nutritional balance with putting a dog on a raw diet but lean cooked meat will generally get a thumbs up from the dog doctor.
If you feed your dog occasional morsels from the kitchen, keep in mind that chocolate isn’t the only food that dogs should avoid. There are potential health risks for dogs who consume grapes, avocados, and macadamia nuts, so avoid handing out these doggie no-no’s**! As always, remember to talk with your vet so that you can learn more about the individual needs of your dog and the human foods that would best fit with their lifestyle. Then you’re all set to prepare some healthful foods for you and your dog!
Happy cooking, everybody!
Ash Stevens is a mother and writer who loves spending time in the garden, searching for simplicity, and figuring out ways to get the Labrador to parent her children. If she isn’t writing about family and relationships on her blog, then she’s playing badminton with the kids and their furry friends. You can follow her on Twitter at @AshStevens000.