By Janet McAfee
As a general rule, you should not feed your dog people food, inspire of his pleading looks at the dinner table. Several foods are extremely toxic to dogs including onions, chocolate, grapes, raisins, processed foods, garlic, macadamia nuts, avocados, and unbaked bread dough. Xylitol artificial sweetener, used in sugar free gum and candy, can also be very harmful.
With the apparent surge in canines with cancer, whether due to increased incidence or just more reporting, dog owners are exploring ways to prevent illness through improved diet. There are numerous human foods that are beneficial to Benji’s health, and not surprisingly these foods also have great nutritional value for humans.
Organic is best. If you serve your pup bites of chicken, organic range-free without hormones added is best. Make sure chicken has no bones or skin included. Organic produce is best, otherwise be sure to wash pesticides off with a fruit and vegetable wash. If you have questions about the safety of any specific food you are considering feeding your pet, consult with your vet or do some online research first. Here are some human foods that will provide variety to your dog’s diet and keep him healthy.
BLUEBERRIES – These healthy berries make great training treats for your canine companion. Their deep blue color is the result of anthocyanin’s which are powerful antioxidants. This fruit is a great source of fiber, manganese, and vitamins C and E. The tannins found in blueberries help prevent urinary tract infections.
BROCCOLI – This can be cut in small florets and served to the pups either fresh or steamed. This healthy vegetable supports the detoxification process in dogs and humans alike. It is rich in potassium, calcium, protein, and vitamin C. My dogs love this special treat.
GOGI BERRIES – These berries are typically available only at health food stores. Gogi extracts may prevent the growth of cancer cells and lower cholesterol levels. They are a healthy alternative to use for treats when training your pup.
KALE – This healthy vegetable can be steamed and chopped and easily added to canned dog food. One to 3 tablespoons per day will keep your pup healthy. I chopped up a couple of teaspoons of steamed kale for one of my cats and she lived to the ripe old age of 24.
CARROTS – Carrots are one of the healthiest vegetables you can feed your dog. They are high in all vitamins, A through K, and low in calories. They make a good crunchy in-between-meal snack.
PUMPKIN – Feeding your dog pumpkin loads him up on good fiber, vitamin A, and anti-oxidants to help alleviate diarrhea and constipation. When my dog had diarrhea, I served her a couple teaspoons of canned pumpkin to alleviate this condition. As always, call your vet when your animal has diarrhea for more than a couple days, or in the case of any other serious medical issue.
SWEET POTATOES – Cooked sweet potatoes make a great tasty addition to your pooch’s food bowl. This good is a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals.
GREEN BEANS – Dogs love these. If you have an obese dog, this low calorie vegetable can be chopped up and substituted for 1/3 of his regular food. Green beans have anti-inflamatory properties that help prevent and improve chronic skin conditions.
Certain human foods can be a supplement, but should never replace your dog’s regular food. Always consult with your vet when your dog has a chronic or serious medical problem. Adding a little variety to Benji’s diet will make him a healthier and happier companion.