In order for dogs to stay healthy, it’s important that they should get their daily nutritional requirement from a high quality, balanced pet food. Of course, every dog enjoys an occasional treat; but as their owners, we should make sure we’re offering the right sort of treat!
The reasons for this are:
- Some human food can be toxic to dogs and can make your dog seriously unwell
- Treats and scraps can unbalance your dog’s digestive system, and cause an upset stomach. In particular, foods with high fat content can cause a condition called pancreatitis
- What seems like a small treat to us, can actually be highly calorific to dogs, and may lead to them becoming overweight – which in itself carries its own health issues
- Overuse of treats or scraps can lead some dogs to refuse to eat their normal food without them or become very fussy
- Too many vegetables can give them flatulence!
- Bones can cause serious damage to their throat, stomach and intestines, even perforation
With all of this in mind here’s a helpful guide to the types of foods you can offer your dog, in small amounts alongside their balanced diet:
It’s perfectly safe for dogs to have cooked eggs as a treat every now and then, but try to avoid raw eggs as they can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
Raw and cooked carrots, cucumber and green beans are fine as an occasional treat, just make sure solid veggies are cut up so they aren’t a choking hazard.
Fruits such as apples, bananas
Small amounts of fruit are ok, but remove any pips and the core as this could be a choking hazard. Fruit is high in natural sugars so should be fed in moderation only.
Read: Can Dogs Eat Apples?
Rice & pasta
These are digestible carbohydrates which are OK to feed – particularly if your dog has been unwell as they are nice and bland and if your pet has had an upset stomach can allow the digestive system to recover.
White fish is safe for dogs to eat, and is a good source of protein as well as omega fatty acids which can help maintain a healthy skin and coat. Fish should be cooked before feeding to your dog as they can contain harmful parasites, and try to remove the bones.
Plain boiled chicken is a tasty treat as well as a good option if your pet has had an upset stomach. The same goes for turkey, but IN MODERATION this Christmas! – Ed.
This can be a great tasty treat, used in moderation, particularly in activity feeds or Kong toys, but it must not contain Xylitol which is sweetener and is very toxic to dogs. Other types of nut such as macadamia can also make your dog unwell.
Read: Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?
Some foods are NOT suitable though…
As well as raisins are very poisonous to dogs and can cause severe acute kidney failure. Avoid any cakes, pies, or fruit loaves that may contain dried fruit – especially around Christmas and other holidays.
Onions, garlic, chives, shallots and leeks
These are all toxic to dogs causing serious anaemia which can be life-threatening. They can often be hidden in pre-prepared ready meals, including onion powder.
Generally best avoided as dog’s don’t produce enough of the enzyme lactase which is responsible for digesting milk, so can lead to intolerance such as loose stools and gas. Not actually dangerous in most cases, but definitely unpleasant!
As chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to dogs, it’s important to keep all chocolate out of reach. Dark chocolate contains the highest quantities of theobromine, whereas white chocolate less so. Symptoms of chocolate toxicity include vomiting, diarrhoea, and even seizures.
Cakes, biscuits & other sweet treats
As well as being very high in calories and therefore not suitable, often these can contain a sweetener called xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), liver failure and seizures.
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