A Guide to Safely Sharing Food with Your Dog
Both humans and dogs love to snack, so it’s easy to feel guilty enjoying a treat in front of your dog, who is suddenly looking extra cute and very hungry. It’s okay to give in to those puppy-dog eyes and share your food with your dog. How could you resist? However, it’s important to keep in mind that sharing food with your dog should be done safely and in moderation. Some foods that are harmless to humans can be toxic to dogs. Here are a few tips to keep your pet safe from harmful snacks.
Keep it Under 10%
When feeding your dog treats in addition to their regular meals, it’s important to not overdo it. The dog food you feed your pet contains all the proper nutrients to maintain a healthy diet. By feeding your dog too many treats, they may not be hungry enough to eat their regular food, and won’t get those nutrients. As a rule of thumb, make sure treats make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Safe?
Fruits and vegetables can be great, healthy alternatives to store-bought treats, but not all fruits and vegetables are dog-friendly. Here is a brief list of what is safe to give your dog, and what should be avoided:
Safe: Apples, bananas, blueberries, pears, watermelon,
strawberries, cantaloupe, carrots, cucumbers, celery, green beans, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, red peppers
Unsafe: Grapes, raisins, avocado, onions, lemons, peaches and
plums (because of their pits)
These lists do not include every fruit and vegetable, so if you’re not sure, be sure to do a quick internet search before giving food to your dog.
Nuts and Peanut Butter
Nuts are something that can be safe for your dog but are best to avoid. Nuts like peanuts, almonds, and cashews are okay, but if you do decide to give these to your pet, try to make sure the nuts are unsalted. Too much salt in your dog’s diet can make them overly thirsty and even cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and death.
Nuts that should be avoided altogether are macadamia nuts and black walnuts because they contain substances that are toxic and deadly to dogs.
We have all seen the funny videos of dogs who are licking the roof of their mouth trying to eat peanut butter, and you’ve probably tried it on your own dog. Don’t worry; giving your dog peanut butter is okay! However, make sure to only give them a little bit. Also, avoid peanut butter that contains the artificial sweetener called xylitol, which can cause liver failure and low blood sugar for your dog.
Milk and Dairy
It’s a good idea to avoid giving your dog milk and dairy products altogether. Dairy is known to cause dogs to have digestive issues and diarrhea. It can also cause an allergic reaction in some dogs, causing them to itch.
It’s a well-known fact that dogs should not eat chocolate, but it’s still worth reiterating the dangers. Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems, tremors, seizures, and death. All chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate contain even higher levels of theobromine and are more dangerous. Be sure to keep all of your chocolate out of reach of your dog.
Sharing food with your dog is great, but if you are feeding your dog a regular and healthy diet of dog food, you don’t need to feed them between meals. Your dog will be perfectly happy and healthy without a snack. However, it’s nearly impossible to always resist feeding our dog an extra treat. If you do feed your dog some of your food, keep these tips in mind, and never hesitate to consult the internet before giving your pet a new food. Safe snacking!