Most people know that dogs need a balanced and nutritious diet. Most people also know that dogs can be fed treats as part of that diet. As well as being a useful training aid, feeding your dog treats is a great way to bond with them! But how do you know the foods you are giving to your canine companion are safe for them to eat?
There are many dog treats which can be bought off the shelf such as dried treats and soft treats. These treats are a sure-fire way to ensure your dog feels rewarded for good behaviour. But what about when your dog wants to share something that you are eating? Many human foods are fine for dogs to eat, however there are certain foods that could make your dog feel sick and in certain cases can make them extremely unwell. Read on to see which foods your dog can and can’t eat.
Apples are a great treat for dogs! Apples are low in fat and high in vitamins A & C, fibre and protein: making them an ideal treat. Make sure your dog doesn’t eat the apple core, as the small pips can cause them to choke.
Tomatoes are also great for dogs to eat. Tomatoes are packed full of nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium and folate. However, the green flesh and stem of an unripe tomato contain a toxin called solanine. If you feed tomatoes to your dog make sure that there is no green flesh or stem on the tomato as this can make your dog sick.
Grapes should be avoided at all costs. Grapes and their dried equivalents – raisins and sultanas – can be very toxic to dogs and in some cases can cause renal failure and death. Be especially careful with cakes and bakery products as these often contain dried grapes.
Another good source of vitamins and nutrients, oranges make a tasty treat for canines. If you feed oranges to your dog make sure that they are peeled. Orange peel is tough for dogs to digest and is likely to give your dog a sore tummy. Although oranges are safe for dogs to eat, sometimes the strong citrus smell will put your pet off – so don’t be put out if your dog isn’t interested in sharing your snack!
Although you may not know it, all dogs are lactose intolerant! Even so, cheese can be a brilliant treat for dogs when fed in very small quantities. Cheese is very fatty so should only be fed sparingly. If after eating cheese your dog develops diarrhoea then perhaps it doesn’t agree with them so avoid feeding it in the future. Make sure not to feed blue cheese to dogs as the ingredients in ‘mouldy’ cheeses can bring on seizures in dogs and in the worst cases can lead to death.
Eggs are good for dogs just like they are for humans. When feeding eggs to your dog make sure that they are cooked thoroughly so as not to pass salmonella or e-coli on to your pet. Eggs are very high in fat and protein which your dog needs but only as part of a balanced diet. Eating too many fatty foods can make your dog put on weight and can lead to health conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
Feeding popcorn to a dog is a bit like feeding popcorn to a young child and care should be taken when doing so. If you feed popcorn to your dog then only feed plain popcorn as too much salt is bad for them and the sweeteners in sweetened popcorn can be toxic for your dog. Another thing to watch for when feeding popcorn is that small kernels or partially popped kernels can be a major choking hazard. For these reasons, perhaps it is safer to not feed popcorn to your dog.
In the same way that humans can, dogs can have severe allergic reactions to peanuts. While peanuts are full of energy and contain beneficial nutrients and minerals, they also contain a lot of fat. Eating to many fatty snacks such as peanuts can cause your dog to gain weight which could put excess pressure on their joints and internal organs.
Bananas are a true superfood. They are high in vitamins and minerals and are low in cholesterol. Due to being a soft food they are easy for both young pups and older dogs to chew and swallow. Bananas should only be fed in moderation though, like most fruits they contain a lot of sugar which when fed excessively can cause diseases such as diabetes in dogs.
Chocolate could well be the worst thing that your dog could eat. Just like cheese, chocolate contains milk which dogs can struggle to digest. However, the main problem is that chocolate contains theobromine which is very toxic to dogs. Dark chocolate contains more of the toxin than milk chocolate or white chocolate but you should not allow your dog to eat any chocolate.
Feeding your dog foods such as apple, banana or eggs can be a great, healthy alternative to store bought treats. Remember though that treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s daily food intake. As we have discovered, there are some foods which dogs definitely can’t eat. The good news is that there are many more foods which dogs can eat! When feeding any new foods to your dog try to start off small so that you are aware if they have an adverse reaction. If your dog has a reaction after eating new foods, especially grapes, peanuts or cheese: then you should consult your vet.
Common adverse reactions in dogs to foods are:
If your dog shows any of these or any other adverse reactions to foods then consult your vet immediately.
Now you know which foods your dog can and can’t eat, why not try training them a new trick or command using the Clix Multi-clicker