I know you do it. Most people occasionally give their pets “people” foods. Contrary to what you may have heard, human food for dogs isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you’re giving healthy options. Here are five of my favorite human foods for dogs. You may be surprised at what you can safely – and nutritiously – feed your dog from the table.
One of nature’s nearly perfect foods, sweet potatoes are so healthy they should be fed to your dog daily! Sweet potatoes are a source of potent antioxidants that aid in healing, cancer prevention and fighting the effects of aging, and they have wholesome dietary fiber to help maintain normal bowel movements. They also contain Vitamins A, C and B6, and minerals manganese, copper and iron.
How to feed: Feed whole after baking (microwave works great and saves time!) or in the form of “wonder chips” – thinly sliced and baked in canola, olive, coconut or other low-fat cooking oil.
Oily fishes such as salmon, sardines and anchovies are excellent sources of super-nutritious omega-3 fatty acids (DHA/EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent skin problems and allergies, treat arthritis and heart disease and have been linked with improved behavior and intelligence in dogs.
How to feed: Add oily fish to your pet’s regular food in the form of freshly prepared, canned or pouches.
One of my favorite low-calorie dog treats also happens to be loaded with powerful phytonutrients. Full of Vitamins A, K and C, carrots pack a powerful antioxidant punch. Additionally, carrots can support a dog’s vision, heart and stabilize blood sugar levels.
How to feed: During warm weather, slice carrots and freeze them in ice cubes for an “ice surprise.” Cooked carrots can be added to your dog’s regular food or used as part of a healthy home-prepared meal.
Broccoli has been shown to have anti-cancer effects, aid in fighting infections, treat skin and heart problems and help metabolize drugs and excrete toxins. If your dog has oxalate bladder stones, you may want to skip broccoli. If your dog has struvite bladder stones, you may want to feed more broccoli. Be sure to talk with your vet.
How to feed: Broccoli can be fed both raw and cooked. A raw floret is a healthy treat that costs pennies yet provides incalculable benefits. I recommend combining steamed or cooked broccoli with other superfoods and fish for a health infusion whenever a pet is fighting an infection or recovering from injury.
Once known as “the gold of the Incas,” this ancient grain is being rediscovered today due to its remarkable healing properties as a potent antioxidant. One of the few complete protein vegetable sources, quinoa is also associated with preventing heart disease and cancer and reducing the risk of diabetes.
How to feed: Quinoa is easy to prepare; just boil for about 15 minutes. I use quinoa in a variety of dog recipes, combining it with fish and meat plus two to three vegetables.
Don’t neglect offering your dog certain fresh, whole foods simply because they’re “people” foods. As always, be sure to talk with your veterinarian before changing diets.