Good and Bad People Food for Dogs

You’ve seen the face.  You know, the one that only appears when you’re standing at the kitchen counter preparing a meal, or eating at the dinner table, or just having a snack on the couch.  The look says, “Can I have some?  Please?  I’ve been good today.  Just a little piece, please?”

Pet owners have strong opinions about people food for dogs.  Some forbid it, while others treat it as the dog’s regular, hard-earned dessert.  A third group keeps treats out of the kitchen and dining area to discourage begging, but occasionally uses people food for treats and training.

No matter what group you fall into, it is important to know what foods are harmful for dogs, and which foods are healthy additions to their diet.  (In moderation, of course.)  DogTails’ new food series, Dog Treats, tackles this issue today.  Check out our list, and keep an eye out at home, as food-loving dogs often find both equally appetizing.

The Good

Yogurt is a cool, tasty treat most dogs love.  Stick to plain, unsweetened yogurt, as the flavored varieties often include too much sugar or artificial sweeteners – both of which are not good for dogs.  Some experts even cite plain yogurt as a source of healthy bacteria that helps dogs regulate their digestive systems.  Like humans, certain dogs will have a negative reaction to dairy, so keep the serving size small, especially when it is first introduced.

Sweet Potatoes are healthy vegetables that are often used as ingredients in pet foods.  You can serve them cooked or slice and dehydrate them to make yummy chewy treats.  Modern Dog magazine highlights this food as a great source of fiber and select vitamins.  Similarly, squash and pumpkin are also healthy veggie treats for dogs.

On the carnivore’s side, Lean Meats are a great source of protein for dogs.  When feeding dogs fresh lean meats like chicken, beef and pork, you will want to make sure that: 1) the meat is well-cooked, 2) the fat has been trimmed, and 3) there are no seasonings.  Certain herbs and spices (see below) are hazardous to your dog’s health and should be avoided.

Chicken Broth can help make your dog’s dry food more palatable.  If you’re going with the store-bought variety, make sure you pick up the low-sodium option.  Regular canned broth contains too much salt for dogs, and could cause excessive thirst or an even more serious reaction.

We recommend giving people food to dogs only in moderation, and always paying careful attention to the dog’s behavior and health when introducing a new treat.  If you have any questions at all regarding appropriate food choices, contact your veterinarian.

The Bad

On the flip side, we have foods that dogs should avoid eating.  Grapes can harm a dog’s kidneys, and should be avoided, along with raisins and wine.

Chocolate is a well-known toxin for dogs.  Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which can negatively affect a dog’s heart and nervous system.  Baking chocolate contains the highest level of these compounds, and as a result it is the most dangerous to dogs if consumed.

Alcohol is also extremely dangerous for dogs.  It can cause symptoms ranging from nausea to difficulty breathing to coma.

As mentioned above, certain herbs and spices should also be avoided.  These include garlic, chives, onions and mustard seeds.

Finally, candy is also off-limits.  These products often contain excess sugar and in some cases, harmful artificial sweeteners like Xylitol.  So remember, with Halloween just around the corner, steer your dog away from the candy baskets!

For a complete list of toxic foods, visit the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States websites.

We invite you to share your dog-friendly recipes here, or on our Facebook page.

Photo by Andrew Vargas via Flickr. Photo is cropped.

3 Comments on “Good and Bad People Food for Dogs

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