5 Surprising “People Foods” That Are Good for Your Dog
See those puppy dog eyes? Sometimes it’s hard to resist feeding your dog some of the same stuff his human family is eating. But many pet owners are concerned that “people food” could be bad for their pups. Some food humans love, like coffee, chocolate and grapes, are bad for dogs, but there are five surprising foods that are healthy for canines.
Long a favorite of some dog owners for hiding “surprises” like medicines and dog supplement pills, a small chunk of cheese is a nutritious and filling snack for dogs. It’s full of protein and oils that bring a shine to long-haired coats, and cheeses come in many satisfying flavors and textures that your dog will like to lick. However, cheese is full of calories — about 115 calories per one-ounce slice of cheddar — and canines, as well as their bipedal best friends, should be cautious not to go overboard with cheese. There’s also the possibility your dog may be lactose intolerant, so try very small portions at first to make sure not to upset his or her digestion. Also, don’t feed your pup any of those cheeses infused with chili or peppered with jalapeños. You may like the bite, but your dog’s tummy probably won’t.
When we think of animals who eat fruit, birds, monkeys and turtles come to mind. But dogs like fruit too! Fruit with heavier textures, such as bananas and cut apples and pears, may appeal to your dog’s sweet tooth and will offer plenty of vitamins and zero fat. Crunching on apples also helps clean a dog’s teeth without a brush. However, be sure not to include grapes (and raisins, of course) or avocado on your dog’s snack menu. Grapes can cause kidney failure in some dogs, so it’s best to stay away from these, even if your dog is intrigued by the round fruit. Dogs, birds and rats are also prone to poisoning by persin, which is found in avocado fruit and leaves, so keep your guacamole to yourself. And if you do share your fruit with your furry best friend, be sure to remove any large seeds and pits.
You wouldn’t think that a dog’s big meat-eating teeth would be good for chewing on tiny grains of rice, but this staple is surprisingly good for man’s best friend. Especially good for calming an upset stomach in dogs (and kids, too), plain boiled white rice is an easy people-food snack for your dog. Combine it with some wet dog food from a can to stretch out a meal for a dog on a diet.
We usually think of fish as a cat’s delicacy, but dogs like fish too. Oil-rich fish like tuna and salmon are great for your dog’s health. However, be careful about feeding your dog bottom-feeding fish like carp because these may be carrying potential toxins that your dog shouldn’t be exposed to. Also, although you may like sashimi, feed your dog cooked fish rather than raw to avoid possibly exposing him to extra bacteria. Although most dogs will be able to delicately debone a fish with their muzzles, be very careful about letting your pup chow down on bony fish. It’s best to take out all but the smallest bones before you serve it to your dog to minimize the risk of choking.
Eggs are a great source of protein and taste great to dogs. There’s some controversy among dog owners over whether to let their pets enjoy the eggs au naturel or whether to cook them first. Raw eggs can carry salmonella and other bacteria which are as harmful to dogs as they are to humans. Just like with raw meats, you should consider the source of your eggs before you decide to feed them to your dog without cooking them. If you do cook up the eggs, try to use as little oil or seasonings as possible, or use the oil from a cut of meat (no surprise here: dogs like bacon) to grease the pan rather than margarine or vegetable oils. Plain scrambled eggs go well on top of dry dog food, but your dog may prefer his eggs sunny-side-up!
About the Author: Brent Harte is an animal lover who attended the University of Arizona and now works at VitaHound.