Making healthy food choices for your dog can greatly enhance their quality of life. As a dog owner, you are probably intrigued by the idea of your dog living a longer and healthier life. Healthy food choices can be a major factor in your dog’s ability to be more active, playful, happy and loving. Here, we will highlight a few key points that can lead you in a better direction with your pup’s food and diet.
Give your dog some people food…
This may be the opposite of what you originally thought was an appropriate diet for your canine pal. But believe it or not, there are some human foods that are actually VERY healthy for your pet. Incorporating vegetables into your dog’s diet can greatly increase their daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals. It can also decrease the feelings of hunger by providing a more fulfilling level of satiety. Just as with humans, fresh veggies allow the body to have better digestion and internal functioning.
Vegetables that are safe for dogs include:
- Baby carrots
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce, chard and even herbs like cilantro, basil and parsley.
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes: These should be used in moderation as they dense in calories.
Fruits that are safe for dogs: (Should be used in moderation)
- Small slices of apples
- Bananas (Dense in sugars and should be used in moderation.)
Foods that are UNSAFE for dogs:
- Anything in the Allium family. This includes: onions, shallots, garlic and scallions which can cause anemia in some dogs.
- Raisins or grapes: Believe it or not, these have been known to cause kidney failure in some dogs.
- Avocados: The skin of the avocado is not toxic to canines. However, the pit is the biggest concern. If a dog gets a hold of a pit, it can break off into fragments and cause an intestinal obstruction. The delicious center of an avocado is okay in small doses for your dog. Be sure to avoid over consumption as avocados are full of healthy monounsaturated fats. Avoid feeding avocado to a canine that is prone to weight problems.
You can check out more dangerous foods for canines here.
Double check your doggy treats…
It is important to double check what types of treats you are providing your dog with. The best way to do this is to read the list of ingredients. You should be able to understand and pronounce everything that is on the label. If there is something- or many things- that you are unsure of, try something new.
Do research for which type of dog food you want to provide…
If you have a dog that has a specific health concern or issue, be sure to research or educate yourself on the different types of foods that are available. Be sure to ask your veterinarian for tips and ideas on which foods or brands to select. There are many food companies that have created special formulas that are designed to assist and aid with specific health concerns (Ex. urinary health issues, obesity management, pain management, arthritis or stiffness, age related issues, etc.) Many brands will also provide supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids, prebiotics and probiotics, glucosamine, calcium, etc.
Depending on your dog’s specific needs, small adjustments can be made that can really enhance their health and nutrition. This will lead to a happier and more fulfilled life for your canine.