Is human food good for dogs? It can be challenging to resist the temptation of feeding people food to dogs. Pet owners need to be extra cautious with what morsels they share with Fido, as the consumption of toxic food is the number one worldwide cause of poisonings in dogs in recent years.
For this reason, it is important to know what human food dogs can eat and which ones must be avoided.
What Human Food Is Good for Dogs?
When sharing human food with dogs, choose functional superfoods. If you have not heard of them, these are the types of food that not only offer additional nutrients but also possess holistic qualities.
They can help improve the body functions of dogs and hinder and combat canine ailments. We have listed down seven safe, functional canine superfoods and their health benefits for dogs.
1. Fresh Berries
Several varieties of berries, including blueberries and cranberries, are healthy additions to your dog’s diet. These fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals, high in fiber, and praised for their potent antioxidative properties.
They help reduce the susceptibility of dogs to various debilitating health issues such as cognitive decline and cancer.
Slice fresh berries into smaller portions when preparing them for dogs. Feeding them whole to dogs, especially small breeds, is not advised as it can be a choking hazard. They can get lodged in their throats. They can also destroy a dog’s teeth.
Always offer them small portions to prevent digestive issues like upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another human food good for dogs. It is a rich source of medium-chain fatty acids, including capric acid, caprylic acid, and lauric acid, which promote healthy skin, good gut health, and fresh breath.
Another beneficial compound found in coconut oil is ketones. They are linked to improving brain functions and reducing seizure attacks in dogs.
When choosing coconut oil for dogs, skip buying refined varieties since they greatly lack health-boosting properties. Opt for the cold-pressed or extra virgin coconut oil instead.
As with any human food, feed your dog coconut oil in moderation. Since it is high in fats, excessive consumption can cause several canine ailments such as obesity and digestive upset in dogs.
3. Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms such as maitake, reishi, and shiitake are great human foods for dogs. They carry powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties, which aid in maintaining well-functioning immune systems in dogs.
Their high antioxidant levels promote healthy kidneys and liver and ward off cancer.
Medicinal mushrooms can be given to dogs cooked but never raw, as they are potentially toxic. The cooking process helps eliminate the toxins they possess.
Another great option is to buy medicinal mushroom extracts. Always check the label and ensure that they are organic, free from fillers, and 100% made from the fruiting body of the medicinal mushroom.
Read: Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?
4. Sheep and Goat Dairy
Goat and sheep dairy are some of the human foods dogs can have. They are excellent sources of protein as well as bone-strengthening minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Aside from their nutritional value, they also boast natural anti-inflammatory properties that soothe dogs’ digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Goat and sheep dairy make an excellent alternative to cow dairy since they have smaller fat globules, allowing better digestibility.
Moreover, the type of casein protein goat and sheep milk carry is less inflammatory than the protein found in cow dairy. Thus, they are less likely to cause nasty side effects such as upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and loose stools in lactose-intolerant dogs.
Although goat and sheep dairy are good for canine health, they should be offered in small amounts. They have higher fat content than cow dairy and may cause unhealthy weight gain in dogs if consumed excessively.
Fish is a healthy treat for dogs. It is also one of the common ingredients in many dog food, as it has omega-3 fatty acids. They aid in maintaining strong joints, a healthy cardiovascular system, and good cognitive function in dogs.
Deboning is important when preparing fish for dogs. This is to prevent the risk of choking and mouth injuries. Be sure to avoid feeding undercooked fish to your canine friend as it may harbor harmful bacteria and parasites.
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6. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and bok choy are great for our canine companions and us. Many of them are great sources of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties such as quercetin and kaempferol.
They reduce the dangers of cognitive problems, heart issues, and tumor growth. Cruciferous vegetables are an excellent source of fiber too, which is necessary for keeping a well-functioning digestive system.
Pet owners should be aware that several cruciferous vegetables like spinach and kale contain antinutrients such as glucosinolates and oxalates. These compounds can cause thyroid and kidney issues when ingested excessively.
In some cases, cooking can eliminate most of these chemicals. However, as there might still be trace amounts left after cooking, it would be best to serve cruciferous vegetables in small amounts.
7. Natural Probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that support a healthy microbiome in the stomach. They prevent harmful pathogen growth in the digestive system and improve nutrient absorption in the body.
Other wonderful health benefits they offer to dogs are better metabolism, fresher breath, and a stronger immune system.
Always check the ingredients list of store-bought probiotics before feeding them to dogs. Make sure they are free from harmful additives and other dangerous ingredients such as xylitol.
What Human Foods Are Dangerous for Dogs?
Now that we have finished covering safe human food for dogs, here is a list of human food that should be kept away from your canine companion.
1. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts possess an unknown toxin that can induce depression, fever, and tremors in dogs. Moreover, they are high in fats, which can contribute to canine obesity and the development of pancreatitis.
Alcohol contains ethanol, which is extremely dangerous to canines. Ingesting it can cause poisoning and in severe cases, heart attack, coma, and death.
Nutmeg carries the compound myristicin, which can induce toxicosis in dogs when consumed in large amounts. Some common toxicosis symptoms to look out for are seizures, abnormal heart rate, and high blood pressure.
4. Raw Yeast Dough
During the fermentation process, raw yeast dough produces alcohol, which is toxic to dogs. Aside from that, ingesting raw yeast dough can cause intestinal blockage since it expands in the stomach.
Coffee contains caffeine that can trigger dangerous side effects in dogs. It can abnormally raise their blood pressure and cause seizures. Without immediate vet treatment, it can lead to death.
Chocolate contains two toxic compounds for dogs, which are caffeine and theobromine. In mild cases, it can cause restlessness, increased thirst, and vomiting. Severe symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include seizures and heart failure.
7. Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins produce an unknown chemical that can cause acute kidney failure in dogs. Scientists believe that tartaric acid found in the fruit is the potential cause of these deadly side effects.
Dogs can enjoy a taste of human food occasionally. For dogs that have any known health issues, it is important you speak to your veterinarian before adding any human food to your dog’s diet to ensure that it fits their nutritional requirements.