Whether you're feeding your pet's table scraps or supplementing their diet, here are good and bad foods for Fido.
We know it's best to avoid feeding man's best friend scraps from the table, but sometimes those puppy dog eyes get the better of us and we can't resist offering them a treat from our plates.
But just because a food is good for us doesn't necessarily mean it's safe for dogs.
Here's a list of dog-approved foods, as well as some items you should never share with your canine companion.
Keep in mind that every dog is different, so try these foods in small amounts, and if your dog reacts to any of them, consult a vet.
- Peanut Butter: Giving your dog the occasional dollop of unsalted peanut butter is a treat both of you can enjoy. (Just make sure your brand of peanut butter doesn't contain xylitol.) It's an excellent source of healthy protein and fat for dogs, and it's a perfect photo opportunity.
- Yogurt: Rich in protein and calcium, plain yogurt is an ideal treat for dogs, especially if your dog suffers from digestion problems. Make sure to opt for yogurts that do not contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- Oatmeal - Oatmeal is a good source of fiber, making it great for dogs with intestinal irregularity problems, and it's also safe for dogs with wheat allergies. Before serving it to your pet, cook the oatmeal and do not add sugar.
- Chicken - If your dog needs extra protein in his diet, cooked, seasoned chicken is an easy addition to his regular meal. It is also a good meal replacement if you don't have dog food.
- Salmon - Dogs can also benefit from omega 3 fatty acids, so slip some cooked salmon into the food bowl for a shinier, healthier coat.
- Broccoli: This vitamin-rich veggie can be a great occasional nutrition boost for dogs. However, it shouldn't make up more than 10 percent of a dog's diet, as it could cause gastrointestinal irritation.
- Pumpkin - You can serve your dog pumpkin, raw or canned, as a source of fiber or vitamin A. It is also a useful addition to dog diets if your dog is experiencing digestion problems.
- Green Beans - Nutritious and low in calories, green beans are a good option that will load up your dogs with iron and vitamins. Make sure to feed your dog only fresh or canned beans with no added salt. Something to consider: Most types of beans contain a type of protein called lechithin which, depending on the amount, can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if not destroyed by cooking. Green beans only contain 5 to 10 percent of the lettuce in beans, which cause most of the problems, and green beans are generally safe when eaten raw. If you're still concerned, you may want to cook your green beans before serving them to your dog (or family).
- Cottage cheese: This soft food is rich in calcium and protein, so it can be a good addition to dog food. However, avoid it if your dog has trouble digesting dairy. Other cheese: In small amounts, cheese makes a great treat for pets, says the American Kennel Club, as long as your dog isn't lactose intolerant (which is rare in dogs, but possible). Choose low-fat options like mozzarella.
- Carrots: This vegetable is low in calories and high in fiber and vitamins. Also, crunching carrots can be good for dogs' teeth.
- Eggs - If your dog needs a protein boost, give an egg an occasional scramble for a healthy snack. Eggs are high in protein, but they are also high in fat, so don't give your pet too many. Don't feed your dog raw or undercooked eggs, warns the American Veterinary Medical Association. There is a risk of contamination from bacteria like salmonella, and that can make your dog sick.
Food not suitable for Fido
- Chocolate - You've likely heard that you should never feed a dog chocolate, and there's a reason for that. That delicious candy contains caffeine-like stimulants known as methylxanthines. If ingested in large quantities, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and even death.
- Grapes and Raisins: While this fruit is nutritious for you, it is toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.
- Onions: They can make you cry, but they can make your dog very sick by causing damage to his red blood cells.
- Avocado: Avocado leaves, fruits, seeds, and rind contain a toxin called persin that can cause an upset stomach and shortness of breath.
- Alcohol - Even drinking a small amount of alcohol can result in significant poisoning for a dog, which can lead to vomiting, seizures, and even death.