Healthy Human Dog Snacks to Make Your Pooch Happy
Although I’m considered a human nutrition expert, I am not a canine nutrition expert. Such experts have their own educational requirements. Many canine nutrition experts are actually vets with additional training in canine nutrition. With that stated, there is some overlap between what is good for humans and good for dogs. As a new puppy mom, I had to brush up on what is safe for canines. Because my puppy is somewhat picky, I have experimented with how to supplement her diet. I’ve come up with a current list of healthy human dog snacks that are easily available for your puppy. Keep in mind that puppies and dogs are like humans, and there may be a human food item noted that does not agree with your pooch! You are the best judge on this.
Healthy human fruit dog snacks
Just as humans should be eating fruits and vegetables, your canine friend can benefit from the same. For humans, fruits and vegetables are not only a source of vitamins and minerals, but also antioxidants. Diets rich in antioxidants can lower disease risk in humans and animals. You can identify a diet high in antioxidants by looking at the color of foods. For your canine friends, here are your colorful and safe fruits and vegetables:
Healthy human vegetable dog snacks
- Green beans
- Pumpkin (plain)
- Sweet potatoes
- Squash (acorn, butternut)
Healthy human fats for dogs
One of the important fats for humans and animals is omega-3-fatty acids. These fats confer anti- inflammatory benefits. Healthy fats from safe human foods can help joints, skin, fur, and cardiovascular health. Some common human food sources of these fats include certain eggs, seeds, walnuts, and fish. With this stated, not all of these food items are canine safe. Safe foods include:
- Chia seeds
- Natural peanut peanut butter (no additives)
- Fish oils (from tuna, salmon, fish oil pill squeezed on food)
- Eggs (Egglands Best brand has omega-3-fatty acids)
Other human foods that work for dogs
Every dog owner has encountered diarrhea or loose stools. The recipe for treating often involves mixing some lean meat with rice. Just as the case with humans, rice is bland and gentle to the GI tract and works to rest digestion and bind the bowel movement. Additionally, cooked oatmeal provides some soluble fiber which can help firm up stools. Some safe carbohydrates for your canine friend include:
- Plain cooked oatmeal (you can mix in chia or flaxseeds)-I put this on the lick mat as well
- White rice
- Bread (provides mostly calories, but can be perceived by some dogs as a treat)
- Fully cooked eggs (raw eggs can make both humans and animals sick due to food borne pathogens)
- Lean meats including ground beef, chicken, turkey
A word on dairy snacks for dogs
I have added cottage cheese, Kefir, and yogurt to kibble. With regard to dairy, dogs can be lactose intolerant just like people. With that in mind, I would recommend that you use the lactose free version of cottage cheese if possible. Kefir and Greek yogurt pose less of a problem as far as lactose intolerance. Do proceed with caution, and limit to just a topping. Some cheeses have minimal lactose as well and are not usually a problem. If used as a training treat, I would try and use a lower fat cheese such as string cheese. The added benefit of string cheese is that it is individually wrapped for transport to the park or dog training classes.
I don’t remember all the nifty stuff on the pet market to help dogs eat when my dog Mollie was with me. In addition to Kongs stuffed with kibble and treats, the pet market now has many other creative options. My new puppy Carmel enjoys eating all sorts of vegetable baby foods off a lick mat. The mat can be spread with various human foods such as all natural peanut butter, light cream cheese, or baby food versions of the safe fruits and vegetables noted above. Additionally, many people freeze the mats spread with food to prolong the licking process which is apparently soothing to dogs. Lastly, if not self soothing, it will keep your puppy busy for a bit and that could soothe you!
Another trend is the use of West Paw brand Toppl toys. These cups can also be stuffed with all sorts of good stuff and frozen (kibble, yogurt, oatmeal, fruits, veggies). The idea is to make the dog work for the food and make the eating process not just about inhaling food but also making it mentally stimulating. Speaking of stimulating, I’ve even put kibble in muffin pans covered with tennis balls to make breakfast really interesting! Ah…for the love of dogs.
Take away notes for healthy human dog snacks
What’s good for human nutrition may not be good for your dog. In fact, it may be life threatening (grapes). Be sure to check detailed lists of safe dog foods such as what is published by the AKC when you are feeding human foods to your dogs. Keep in mind that dogs are like humans in that some may be sensitive to certain foods.
Many fruits and vegetables are safe and a healthy addition to a dog’s diet. They are often lower in calories and can be cooked up or even served on lick mats in the form of baby food. And they are perfect Kong and West Paw Toppl stuffers. Healthy fats from safe human foods can be a source of omega-3-fatty acids to help joints, skin, fur, and cardiovascular health. Serving up some human foods such as white rice and cooked plain oatmeal can help GI problems such as diarrhea (always check with your vet to rule out medical problems requiring medical treatment). Adding some lactose free dairy can be an excellent source of calcium and probiotics.
Do you have any more foods to add to this information? Do you feed your dog in a special way to foster additional mental stimulation?
Use this information at your own risk. Although I am a licensed IL dietitian/nutritionist, I am not your dietitian. The information in my blog Chew on This located at www.mydietmatters.com is for educational and informational purposes only. It is also my own opinion and subject to change in the future. Please consult with your own medical professionals for individual treatment.