When I was a kid, I’d sneak my vegetables to the dog when Mom and Dad weren’t looking. I didn’t want to eat them myself. It was truly a win-win-win scenario: I was happy because I got out of eating my veggies. Mom and Dad were blissfully unaware. The dog was happy because she, like all dogs, loved ‘people food.’
Every dog owner knows what grocery vice their pooch prefers, and we try to resist feeding them fattening or unhealthy ‘human foods.’ But did you know that some human foods benefit your pup? Just like humans, dogs have nutritional needs that a sack of chow doesn’t always provide.
Some health-minded pet owners choose to prep, cook and serve homemade doggy dishes, but with a busy schedule, it can be hard to find time to cook yourself a balanced meal, let alone for the family pet. But don’t worry! You can give all the extra benefits by supplementing store bought food with a few things from your fridge and pantry. Your dog will absolutely love getting special selections added to his dish every once in a while.
People Food That’s Good For Your Dog
For weight loss
Substitute a small amount of your dog’s regular dry food with chopped veggies such as celery, broccoli, apples, or cucumbers.
For Healthy Teeth
Crunchy foods such as raw sweet potato, carrots, and celery help clean your dog’s teeth by scraping the tooth surface and stimulating the gums. Try mixing a few chopped carrots (no need to peel) with your dog’s food. Chop all foods according to your dog’s bite size. (Carrots are great for people, too!)
For fresh breath
Sprinkle chopped parsley on kibble to give your pup a dose of potassium and calcium, and to neutralize breath odors.
For a Nice Coat
The key to a healthy coat is omega 3. Find it for Fido in cooked salmon or tuna. For best results, always choose wild, ethically-sourced fish over factory farmed or GMO fish. Click here to learn more. (Again, check out the human benefits too!)
For Strong Muscles and Bones
Dogs love bones, and they love having strong bones, too. Just like humans, they need calcium for that. Cottage cheese or plain yogurt are good sources of calcium, as is Broccoli. To build muscle, lean, raw meat is best. Other sources of protein, the building blocks of muscle, include peanut butter and unsweetened coconut.
Healthy Dog Treats
Very small pieces of any of the above foods work well as training treats. For a zero-cal treat, try ice cubes. Dogs are usually so excited to get a treat; they won’t even notice it’s just ice.
Coconut oil is also a healthy treat for dogs. It can keep their coats healthy, increase their energy and aid their digestion. You can feed your dogs coconut oil a spoonful at a time or mix it in with their other treats. However, most veterinarians warn that overweight dogs should be closely monitored while being fed coconut oil. (More on coco oil for dogs here)
Warning: Foods Dogs Should Never Eat
Many of these dangerous items are well known, such as chocolate. But the full list may surprise you! Check it out here.
Disclaimer: Always check with your vet before changing your pet’s diet. Remember that pets should never eat processed, packaged foods or be fed from your plate. Not only does this encourage bad habits, but pets also can’t handle the high-calorie counts of many people foods. 30 extra calories per day, equal to about three potato chips, can add up to 3 pounds in a year to your dog. Remember: keeping your dog healthy means you get to spend even more time together.