Healthy & Wholesome Snacks for Dogs

Categories: Dog Food & Nutrition
By Amy Wence

We’ve all heard the old myth not to feed tablescraps or “people food” to our dogs. While thereare table scraps and “people foods” that can bedangerous to dogs, there are also many that arebeneficial for them. Wholesome, fresh foods can bea healthy addition to your dog’s diet. Often times,dogs welcome fresh foods to their diet because itadds variety to their regular fare. Many dogs eatthe same commercial diet day in and day out. Isuspect this is why they lose interest in their foodand do not find it as appetizing. Fresh foods canmake a meal more appealing to them. Below is alist of healthy foods that can be fed, in moderation,to your dog. *Please note: These recommendations are for dogs with no healthissues. If your dog has any known issues, please consult your veterinarian before making a change in his diet.

 


Sardines
are a very healthy snack for dogs because they are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. My dogs love sardines! I add a couple of whole sardines to their meals about twice a week.I purchase canned sardines packed in spring water with no salt added.

Eggs are very nutritious and easy to add to a meal or as snack. They can be given scrambled or hard-boiled.



Fruits
, such as bananas, apples, watermelon,pineapple, blueberries, and pears, make for healthy snacks and can be given in small quantities. They are a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber,enzymes, and antioxidants. You may have to experiment to see which fruits, if any, your dog prefers. For instance, neither of my dogs like banana, but they love watermelon, and also enjoy apples and pears. When feeding fruits, like apples or pears, be sure not to feed the seeds to your dog.They contain a natural form of cyanide and can be very toxic. Aside from the core, the rest of the fruit is perfectly safe for your dog. It is best to feed fruits separately from meals because they digest more quickly. Citrus fruits should not be given because they are too acidic for dogs.

Veggies: Carrots, green beans, green peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, zucchini, and parsley are great for adding to meals. Dogs digest veggies better when they are steamed, finely chopped or grated, or freshly pureed. Veggies are also good sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and enzymes. Special Notes: Broccoli can cause gas and should only be fed in small amounts. Canned pumpkin (100% pure, not pumpkin pie mix) is great for relieving diarrhea or constipation. Veggies in the nightshade family (i.e.- potatoes) should be avoided for dogs with arthritis or other inflammatory problems. They can further aggravate the inflammation.


Dairy
: Lowfat cottage cheese, lowfat plain yogurt, and string cheese are all delicious snacks for dogs that are able to tolerate dairy. Cottage cheese and yogurt can be given regularly in small quantities. String cheese can be given as an occasional snack. My dogs love string cheese, so I like to reserve it for special occasions like vet visits and nail trimming. It serves as a highly valued reward, as well as a distraction.

Popcorn is a fun, occasional snack for dogs. Plain popcorn is best, as butter and too much salt are not healthy for dogs.

Cheerios are a perfect treat to use when training. They are small, low fat, and a good source of fiber. They are a healthy treat to give occasionally and in moderation.

For a list of foods that are not safe for dogs, please visit: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.html
References
• “Adding Fresh Foods to a Commercial Diet,“ Mary Straus, website: http://dogaware.com/dogfeeding.html#addfood
• “Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats: The Ultimate Diet,” by Kymythy R. Shultze, C.C.N., A.H.I, P. 21—23
• “Pet Food Nation,” by Joan Weiskopf, M.S. Veterinary Clinical Nutrtionist, P. 71-77
• “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets,” ASPCA, website: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.html