31 Healthiest Foods for Your Dog (and the 13 you NEED to avoid!)

Dog lovers are always trying to find the best way to please their fur friend. Even though most of us are really trying to keep our dogs on their canine diets, it seems that it is impossible to resist giving them some occasional bite of human food.

A lot of people feel that dogs should not be given any “people” food, however, if you’d like to reward your pet with table scraps, you actually can safely, just make sure that you choose people foods that aren’t harmful for canines.

31 Healthiest Foods For Your Dog

Here are a few “dog-approved” people foods that are actually perfectly safe… and even healthy!

Coconut and Coconut Oil

Coconut consists of Lauric acid, a beneficial fatty acid chain which produces a compound called monoglyceride monolaurin with the synthesis in both humans and dogs. This substance is highly beneficial, as it protects your pets from infection and it boosts their immune system, by fighting and destroying various viruses and pathogenic bacteria. Moreover, coconut contains a water-soluble protein, known as albumin, found in many animal liquids and tissues.

Many diseases and ailments, like yeast infections, smelly coats, hot spots, cuts that have been infected, and even cracked paws, can all be cured with just a jar of “virgin coconut oil.” When all forms of diet remedies have failed, then it is time to try out this miracle natural medicine for your dog. Virgin coconut oil means that it is unrefined, and it can be used for both dogs and humans. Coconut Oil can help reduce cancer risks. It also improves the digestion of your dog and becomes medicine for most digestive upsets.

Coconut oil also keeps the thyroid function in check. Both yeast and fungal infections can be prevented and treated with the use of this essential oil. The same is applied to arthritis and similar pains as well.  Interestingly, it also helps your dog to get a smooth glossy coat and healthy, supple skin. Finally, both coconut and coconut oil can balance your dog`s metabolism and keep their weight under control. In brief, coconut and coconut oil are something that your dog will definitely love to eat and it provides many benefits in the meantime. Just mix it with their food and that`s it!

Peanut Butter (Conflicting Information PLEASE READ CAREFULLY)

This is a favorite treat of many canines, and has been for years. It is recommended by many professionals as a safe snack, and is added to hundreds of dog treat products. Not only is it a good source of protein, but it also contains heart healthy fats, vitamin B, niacin, and vitamin E. But some information shows that it could be dangerous to dogs as well as humans. While I have not heard of any dogs having an issue with peanut butter, I will share what I have found.

Peanut butter is said to contain Aflotoxins, naturally occurring mycotoxins produced by Aspergillus, a type of fungus. These substances are cancer-causing/ carcinogenic and they have been shown to be toxic to the liver. Moreover, they are associated with liver cancer in lab animals.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil,

“A few years ago, Consumers Union looked into the question of aflatoxins in peanut butter and found that the amounts detectable varied from brand to brand. The lowest amounts were found in the big supermarket brands such as Peter Pan, Jif and Skippy. The highest levels were found in peanut butter ground fresh in health food stores.”

BUT, before you break out the Jif for you or your dog, you need to know that another issue with the cheaper brands is that they contain trans-fatty acids. These are one of the most toxic food substances today, due to the highly toxic process that makes foods more stable, and sit on shelves for a long time. Hydrogenation is the process of taking a plant oil, adding a nickel catalyst, heating it, and then removing the nickel catalyst. This results in a highly toxic fat that causes diabetes, heart disease and chronic inflammation. If the peanut butter you buy contains trans fats, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients don’t buy it!

In case the trans fats are not bad enough, roasting nuts are also believed to cause the fats in peanuts go rancid. In brief, if you are still planning on buying peanut butter, make sure it is raw and free of hydrogenated fats. However, the issue with aflotoxins is still present.  One option to avoid the effects of this toxin is to choose Earth Balance Creamy Coconut & Peanut Spread, as the coconut oil with the butter kills the fungus that produces aflotoxins.

Studies have found that coconut oil can kill viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses. It kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases. It also kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections, and even kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.

Popcorn

The best popcorn is the one that is air popped and free of salt and butter. This is a great low calorie treat and it contains bone-building minerals, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. So, the next time you watch a movie, snuggle up and share the popcorn with your dog.

Lean Meat

Think chicken, beef, or pork with no visible fat and no added sauces or seasonings can be a great training treat or can add a bit of good-quality extra protein to your dog’s diet. Lean meat is an excellent, balanced source of amino acids, the building blocks of muscle in your dog’s body. Meat is also a great source of B vitamins (Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxine, and Cobalamine). These vitamins are involved in energy metabolism in the body. Meat also makes a good meal replacement if you’re in a pinch and out of dog food.

Broccoli

Broccoli is an excellent occasional nutrition boost for dogs, as it contains many vitamins. However, making more than 10% of dog`s diet can cause gastrointestinal irritation.

Green Beans

Beans are good treat for your dog as well, due to the fact that they are low in calories and very filling. Opt for beans that have no added salt.

Pumpkin, Squash and Zucchini

Pumpkin is rich in fiber and beta-carotene/ vitamin A. This helps with digestive issues and keeps the GI tract moving. Besides pumpkin, squash is also a good source of beta-carotene and vitamin A. It can be added to bulk dog`s stool. However, make sure you remove the seeds. Finally, zucchini just as other squashes is healthy and delicious snack. It is rich in vitamins, folate, and potassium. Each part of the vegetable is healthy for you and your fur friend and it isn`t toxic to dogs.

Seaweed Nori

Dried edible seaweed is a Japanese stable usually associated with sushi. It can be found on some supermarkets and of course, in those with Asian food items. It is rich in protein, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, soluble fiber, and minerals like copper and zinc. In addition, it contains chlorophyll and some less-known sterols, both of which have been researched for their effects on regulation metabolism. This seaweed is beneficial for anti-tumor response, immune function, and slow metabolism. Moreover, it doesn’t have any strong flavor of smell, which makes it adequate to many dishes. The thin sheets can be torn and soaked in broth and added to food afterwards. You can also add them dry.

Baby Carrots

Low in calories but high in beta-carotene/ vitamin A and fiber, baby carrots are amazing for dog`s teeth.

Peas

Peas are rich in potassium, thiamin, phosphorus, and vitamin B. They can be added right to your dog`s food, regardless of whether it is thawed or frozen.

Parsley

This herb is a great source of potassium, calcium, and beta-carotene. The best thing about it is that it is believed to improve “doggie breath”. So, the next time you prepare some treat for your dog, add a few tbsp of chopped parsley in order to enrich its flavor and color as well as to improve your dog`s breath afterwards.

Mint

Although strong, peppermint is completely safe for canines. You can use it as an ingredient, when prepare your own homemade dog biscuits. Besides its ability to freshen your dog`s bad breath, mint is known for ability to settle upset tummies as well. So, use it the next time your dog is a bit “barfy”.

Spirulina

Being an excellent source of minerals, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and protein, this type of algae is an ideal addition to a healthy diet. However, besides its nutritional value, spirulina provides other health benefits as well. According to some experiments based on both humans and animals, spirulina promotes heart health by lowering the amount of fat in the blood. It reduces inflammation too. For a 45 lb (20kg) dog, the maximum dose should be 1-2 tbsp. Speaking of new foods and supplements, start gradually and introduce them to your dog step by step.

Pineapple

Pineapple is beneficial for your dog in small amounts and it can be a special treat for your dog. It is known for its amazing fiber, vitamin, mineral, and fructose content. It has the ability to boost your dog`s immune system and to improve digestion.  It contains an enzyme, known as bromelain, able to decompose protein, which is crucial for a dog. In other words, giving your dog a pineapple contributes to increase in his ability to absorb the protein. Once your dog`s ability to digest is increased, he is able to absorb more essential elements from the food he consumes.

Cranberries

Fresh cranberries provide numerous health benefits and contain vitamins A, B1, B2 and C. They have the ability to prevent urinary tract infections. However, it is important to limit your dog`s intake of cranberries as it may cause gasses.

Fruit Salad

Many fruits make a healthy, sweet and tasty snack for your dogs. Some of the best options are the watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, cantaloupe, and apples.

Pears

Even though pears are safe for dogs, their core and seeds can be toxic to dogs. So, make sure you don’t simply toss a whole pear to a dog and leave it like that, as he may get sick. It is recommended to cut the pear up and give the fruit to your dog while tossing the core away.

Apple Slices

Apple slices are able to freshen your dog`s breath by cleaning off his teeth. Apples are an excellent source of vitamins A and C as well as fiber. However, make sure your remove the seeds and core before giving your dog an apple, as they may choke the dog.

Carob

Although chocolate is poisonous to dogs, there is no reason why your pet cannot enjoy carob. Besides the absence of theobromine and caffeine, compounds that make chocolate deadly for dogs, it actually provides many health benefits. Carob is rich in fiber, pectin, vitamins, and minerals.

However, give your dog carob in small amounts. In case your dog experiences any sort of reaction, consult a veterinarian right away. Do your research to make sure it is safe prior giving your dog any people food.

Turmeric

Probably found in your spice rack, turmeric is one of the most promising cancer prevention foods. Curcumin, its active compound has been found to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells in many types of cancer. It encourages cancer cell death by providing strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Even though there are not studies in dogs that prove a clear cancer preventive function, there are many different studies done on other species showing a clear efficacy of curcumin against cancerous cells. For instance, a dose of 80 mg/kg body weight was effective in preventing induced cancer in guinea pigs.  Although this is not directly relevant to dogs, it still demonstrates that only small amounts should be used. So, the next time you make treat for your dog, add few tsp of turmeric. By doing so, you will boost his intake of antioxidants and enrich the flavor of the treat.

Cinnamon

Occasional sprinkle of cinnamon is just as good for you and your dog. It has been long used to boost energy, brain health, circulation, and digestion as well as to cure gas and nausea. However, make sure you don’t overdo it! Too much cinnamon is associated with an anti-clotting effect.

Flax Seed ( Milled or Oil)

Flax seed is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients which are good for the coat and skin. If you decide to use whole flax seed, make sure you grind them right before feeding, as this type goes rancid very quickly. Speaking of the flax oil, it contains more omega-3 fatty acids but it lacks the fiber. Keep both oil and seeds refrigerated in air tight dark container.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber, which is especially beneficial for older dogs experiencing bowel irregularity issues. In addition, it serves as good alternative grain for dogs allergic to wheat. Don’t forget to cook oatmeal before giving it to your dog.

Rice/ Brown Rice

Rice serves as good bland meal when your dog has an upset tummy. You can find several types of rice available. For instance, the white or instant rice is easily digestible carbohydrate, making it an ideal source of energy. This is especially beneficial for older dogs. On the other hand, the brown rice is lower in fat but higher in fiber and protein than the white rice.

Pasta

Taking into consideration that pasta is basically four, water and sometimes eggs, dogs are definitely allowed to eat pasta. All of the ingredients found in pasta are safe for dogs, so any type of pasta works well for your dog. However, it is recommended to use whole grain pasta. On the other hand, make sure you avoid the commercial pasta sauce, as they are usually acidic and contain salt and sugar, ingredients which can lead to upset dog`s tummy. Finally, some dogs are allergic to wheat. If this is the case with your dog, leave pasta off the menu.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are another good source of dietary fiber. Moreover, they contain manganese, beta-carotene, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. You can slice and dehydrate the sweet potatoes and use them as chewy treat for your fur friend.  Unfortunately, there are numerous dog treats available on the market and we often tend to neglect the simple, cheap, and healthy options available at the grocery store.

Cheese and Cottage Cheese

As long as your dog is not lactose intolerant, cheese and cottage cheese are a great treat for him. Luckily, only small percentage of dogs is lactose intolerant. However, if you are not sure, observe your dog`s reaction.  Choose low or reduced fat variants and don’t overfeed. Note that many types of cheese are high in fat. Usually, cottage cheese is the best option, as it is high in calcium and protein.  It is fairly bland so it can be a good way to add some protein to dog`s diet.

Eggs

Eggs are rich in easily digestible selenium and riboflavin, making them a healthy snack.  Scrambling up an egg for your dog is a good way to enrich your dog`s diet with protein.

Greek Yogurt and Kefir

Yogurts are highly recommended as they are rich in protein and calcium. However, make sure you opt for yogurts that don’t contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Moreover, yogurts that contain active bacteria, known as probiotic, are good for the digestive system of your dog.

Salmon and Tuna

These fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are responsible for supporting your dog`s immune system as well as for keeping his coat shiny and healthy.  Speaking of salmon, you can feed your dog salmon, slip them some of your unwanted skins, or add salmon oil to food. On the other hand, tuna is a classic cat snack. However, this doesn’t mean that dogs cannot eat tuna too. To the contrary, they surely can, as it is offering vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Liver

This meat is a good choice but it must be used in moderation. It is available in both freeze-dried and fresh form. The fresh variant can be found in most grocery stores while the freeze-dried option is available in most pet stores. If you decide to prepare your own homemade training treat, just cook the fresh liver and then bake it. It is a great source of vitamin B, vitamin A, and vitamin K. Moreover, it contains iron too. However, too much liver may be detrimental and even toxic to dogs, as it is rich in vitamin A. The best would be to use it moderation. It is recommended to avoid using more than 1 kg of fresh liver/kg body weight daily.

Foods That Are Toxic

Never feed your dog toxic human items such as: chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, yeast dough, artificial sweeteners, macadamia nuts, avocados, alcohol, or coffee. Consult your veterinarian with any questions on what is safe and what is harmful.

Chocolate

You’ve likely heard that you’re never supposed to feed a dog chocolate, and there’s a reason for that. That delicious candy contains caffeine-like stimulants known as methylxanthines. Chocolate also contains theobromine, a naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean, theobromine increases urination and affects the central nervous system as well as heart muscle. While amounts vary by type of chocolate, it’s the theobromine that is poisonous to dogs. If ingested in large amounts, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, seizures and even death.

White chocolate has the least amount of theobromine, with 1 mg per ounce. Far on the other side of the spectrum is baking chocolate, which has a huge 450 mg of theobromine per ounce! Knowing which chocolate is the most toxic is important, but may have you wondering how much does it take to poison a dog. The list below should be helpful.

White Chocolate: 200 ounces per pound of body weight. It takes 250 pounds of white chocolate to cause signs of poisoning in a 20-pound dog, 125 pounds for a 10-pound dog.

Milk Chocolate: 1 ounce per pound of body weight. Approximately one pound of milk chocolate is poisonous to a 20-pound dog; one-half pound for a 10-pound dog. The average chocolate bar contains 2 to 3 ounces of milk chocolate. It would take 2-3 candy bars to poison a 10 pound dog. Semi-sweet chocolate has a similar toxic level.

Sweet Cocoa: 0.3 ounces per pound of body weight. One-third of a pound of sweet cocoa is toxic to a 20-pound dog; 1/6 pound for a 10-pound dog.

Baking (Dark) Chocolate: 0.1 ounce per in a 20 pound dog.

Grapes & Raisins

While this fruit is nutritious for you, it’s toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. The type of grape or raisin doesn’t seem to matter, and the amount consumed may be a single serving of raisins or a pound or more of grapes. (Raisins are much more concentrated.) Researchers are exploring the possibilities: a mycotoxin (fungal toxin), pesticide, herbicide or heavy metals, but thus far the actual toxin is unknown at this time.

Some clinical signs are vomiting and jittery (hyperactive) behavior are seen immediately to within the first 24 hours after ingestion. Diarrhea may also be seen, and the vomitus and feces may contain partially digested grapes or raisins. After 24 hours, the dog may be come anorexic, lethargic and depressed. Additionally the abdomen may be painful, the dog may stop drinking and urinating. Ultimately, the kidneys fail, and without aggressive treatment, many dogs will die.

Onions & Garlic

Garlic and onions of all forms — powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated — can destroy a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. That can happen even with the onion powder found in some baby food. My dog has been given chicken and steak scraps that were seasoned with garlic and onion powder, making him sick for a full day. I recognized what was wrong and fed him Annie Chun’s Seaweed Snacks. He loves them and they stopped his symptoms. The symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, dullness, and breathlessness.

Cooked liver: 4 ounces for a large dog; 2 ounces for a smaller dog.

Good dog food full of iron.

Lean meats like ground beef and lamb.

Fish, nuts and vegetables.

Foods with Vitamin B9, like carrots, egg yolks, pumpkin.

Green vegetables like beans and leafy produce full of chlorophyll like dried Seaweed.

Avocado

Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark contain a toxin called persin that can cause upset stomach and breathing difficulties.

Alcohol

Even drinking a small amount of alcohol can result in significant intoxication for a dog, which can lead to vomiting, seizures and even death.

Coffee, Tea, & Other Caffeine

Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal for a dog, and it is said there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, fits, and bleeding. In addition to tea and coffee – including beans and grounds — caffeine can be found in cocoa, chocolate, colas, and stimulant drinks such as Red Bull. It’s also in some cold medicines and pain killers.

Macadamia Nuts

Dogs should not eat macadamia nuts or foods containing macadamia nuts because they can be fatal. As few as six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog ill. Symptoms of poisoning include muscle tremors, weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters, vomiting, elevated body temperature, and rapid heart rate. Eating chocolate with the nuts will make symptoms worse, possibly leading to death.

Candy & Gum

Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods are sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol can cause an increase in the insulin circulating through your dog’s body. That can cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop and can also cause liver failure that can occur within just a few days. Initial symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. Eventually, the dog may have seizures.

Salt

Eating too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination and lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, and seizures. It may even cause death.

At A Glance Guide of The Best & Worst People Food For Dogs.

Source: www.healthandhealthytips.com

 

 

 

 

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