In our previous blog, we wrote extensively about table foods that your pet should avoid, but skimmed over some recommendations without any real substance. After more than a few questions for clarification or more rich explanations, we’re back for a follow-up!
Health Dog Snacks & Why
Before we dive in, it is important to note that most of these treats are situational and assume that you aren’t going to make them a massive part of your dog’s diet. Basically, we’re treating all of these as sometimes treat and specifying the exact form they should be served in (e.g. cooked, uncooked, without seeds, etc.) This doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is in mortal danger if they eat a seed or steal an uncooked piece off of the cutting board. As mentioned last time, contact the ASPCA’s 24/7 toll-free Animal Poison Control and/or your veterinarian for more specific information in the event of an emergency.
If you give your dog a bite of apple once, odds are you’ll never be able to crunch an apple again without hearing paws scurrying your way. Don’t worry, apples are extremely good for your dog! Not only are they packed full or dog-friendly vitamins, but the skin actually helps to clean and somewhat floss your dog’s teeth. Plus, they love apples an inordinate amount.
Pasta, Rice, & Oatmeal
Don’t go crazy with the salt during the cooking of your rice or pasta and you’ll produce an inexpensive dog-treat. This one is relatively lackluster because of its necessary prep-time, but worth mentioning in the event of a doggy stomach ache. If your dog is having stomach issues, a bowl of plain, cooked pasta or rice and chicken can help them to keep down some nutrients and get them through the issues. An even better option is plain oatmeal, which functions the same as pasta and rice with the addition of some healthy fibers; a little oatmeal can go in your dog’s food everyday to fight diarrhea or just provide nutrients.
Eggs are a homerun. Not only can dogs eat them cooked or raw, but the shells make for a fantastic treat. Similar to the apples, the next time your dog hears you cracking an egg, they’ll come and wait for the shells that you likely have no use for. There are a large number of vitamins in raw and cooked eggs alike that your dog can benefit from, most of which can be gained through the shell alone. A few of these every so often will make for a shinier coat and a happy dog.
Your veterinarian will love that you give your dog carrots. Not only that, but carrots serve dogs in a way similar to a bone, but with an incredible amount of vitamins and relatively few calories. Carrots are the ideal treat for an overweight dog that wants to feel spoiled and special without adding to their waistline. Benefits for any dog include teeth cleaning as they eat, excellent growth vitamins, and, as in humans, they’re good for your pup’s eyesight.
Cheese & Yogurt
Most dogs can have cheese and yogurt, but there are some that have heightened lactose intolerance. This is really a try-and-see kind of thing, but dogs almost always love both plain yogurt and just about any type of cheese. All dogs have some degree of lactose intolerance over the average person, so we definitely don’t suggest milk, but much of the lactose is lost during the cheese and yogurt making process, so these are mostly safe. Careful though, once you give a dog cheese once, you’ll never be able to make a sandwich in peace again (if you ever could).
Artificial butter and too much salt are not good for your dog, but popped unsalted popcorn is a fantastic and fun snack. In fact, unsalted popcorn is probably the best way to train your dog to catch things on command, useful if you’re hoping to teach them to catch a frisbee or ball later on. Your dog will quickly learn to time the relatively slow flying popcorn and take a lot of joy out of chomping them down.
Ah, peanut butter. Nothing is more hilarious or fulfilling as watching a dog lick up peanut butter in pure bliss. Dogs don’t discriminate on the brand or sweetener used, but you should: Stick to only peanut butters that do not contain xylitol, preferably a natural and unsalted variety. Even the best peanut butters can become too much of a good thing quickly, as the fat content is fairly high for a dog. Given in moderation, however, peanut butter is incredibly healthy, containing just about everything a dog needs, including protein, vitamins, fats, niacin, and more. Peanut butter makes a great reward or training treat if you can figure out how to keep from getting sticky in the process.
Depending on the dog and the meat in question, meats are an obvious choice for a table food. Many veterinarians and lists will avoid telling you that raw is okay, largely from fear of influencing your dog into injury and the liability that comes with that, but dogs are much more adapted to eating raw food than people are. If you are willing to accept the fairly small risk of getting your dog sick with salmonella or other foodborne illnesses, then you can feed them specific, unspoiled meat in raw form. Now, our veterinarian mostly recommends that you stick to cooked meats, preferably without too much seasoning, and always avoid giving them any cooked bones.
The best way to know for sure if a food is safe for your pet to have is to ask your veterinarian. Once your vet knows all about your pet’s specific health circumstances, they can recommend some fantastic treat options that allow you to spoil your pet with a little table food. In Salida, this means making an appointment with our veterinarian at Mountain Shadow Animal Hospital; whether you come into our veterinary clinic or take advantage of our mobile vet at-home service, you’ll get the best service in the area.