One of the most common question among dog owners is what can dogs eat as well as being safe for dogs? And this is an important question, as you do not want to give your dog the wrong food that can cause you beloved dog to become ill.
Seeing as dogs have become completely domesticated, it is quite easy to give them human food that could at times be bad for them. There are, however, certain foods that are safe for dogs could do them a whole lot of good. What can dogs eat, and what should they stay away from? Read on to find out…
A common misconception surrounding dogs is that they are omnivores. While there is a certain degree of truth to this, the more appropriate description for them is facultative/scavenging carnivores which means that they are more genetically inclined to consume meat as opposed to vegetables and other plant based food Even though they actually get a good amount of nutrition from plants, they are more likely to eat meat than they are to eat veggies.
However, it is actually impossible for them to acquire the balanced nutrition from meat alone, and this is why they need both. So, what should a dog eat? For proper dietary balance, dogs ought to eat both meat and other animal products, combined with recommended proportions of vegetables, and other plant based foods to thrive.
Unlike cats, which are considered obligate carnivores, dogs have a more receptive taste, and are happy to eat a completely plant based meal without qualms, but do not be fooled, there is no such thing as a vegetarian dog.
That said, let us take a look at some of the foods you ought to be feeding your dog for ideal weight, growth and development, below we will look at what can dogs eat, and the benefits.
What Can Dogs Eat?
Having established that dogs thrive off of both plant and animal based foods, it is important to know that it is easy to get the proportions wrong, and this is why it is recommended that you do loads of research before embarking on an actual diet plan for your dog. Below are foods that your dog can eat, and likely to do your dog a whole lot of good.
This is most certainly the safe for dogs and most convenient way of feeding your pup or grown dog. Often times, kibble manufacturers tend to use a balanced mixture of both animal protein as well as plant based food, making it quite ideal.
There are dogs that actually thrive on a kibble diet entirely, and the only other thing they are likely to be given is water. Before settling on a certain brand for your dog, understand what their actual needs are, and try and get advice from your vet on the kind of protein they should actually eat.
In addition, it is recommended that you supplement your dog’s diet with vitamins, minerals, mushroom extracts, pre and probiotic supplements and others so that they can have a wholesome life as well as optimal physiological functions.
2. Canned Dog Food (Chunks or Pate)
This kind of dog food is pretty much like kibble, and the only difference is that it has a significantly higher degree of moisture. Even though even adult dogs can have canned wet food, it proves more convenient for puppies, dogs with feeding challenges and senile canines that have trouble hewing and swallowing dry food.
The extra moisture actually works to your dog’s advantage, especially when you have one that is not too keen on taking water every so often. Canned food is safe for dogs.
Fish is an incredible source of nutrition for dogs, and salmon happens to be one of their favorites, and safe for dogs. You will find that salmon contains a lot of protein that dogs need, and it also comes with healthy fish oils that contain Omega-3 fatty acids.
These are ideal for the optimal development of your dog’s brain, as well as the improvement on immunity, sight and healthy skin and coat. Other types of fish that dogs eat are sardines and tuna. Other than the Omega-3 fatty acids, your dog benefits from a myriad of nutrients in fish which include;
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B2
Each of these nutrients plays an important role in supporting various physiological functions in your body, allowing your dog to enjoy good health and proper growth and development. Before serving fish, however, make certain that you get rid of bones, not so much because dogs cannot handle it, but because it is considered a choking hazard that could potentially harm your dog.
If possible, keep away from canned fish which could contain sodium, a compound which is largely toxic to dogs.
Meat, in whatever form, is considered a dog’s favorite meal. The best thing about it is that your dog is likely to gobble down just whatever form of meat your serve it. You can give it beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit, venison, lamb and even pork based on your canine’s preferences.
If you are going to serve it raw, and if your dog prefers it this way, make sure that you choose human grade meat which is less likely to contain harmful elements such as bacteria and other foreign compounds. Many domestic dogs have fallen sick in the past as a result of consuming raw meat that does not meat standards of safety.
What we like about meat is the kind of variety you can be able to serve. If you like to indulge your pet, they can have different types of meat every so often, a characteristic that encourages hearty feeding even in picky and un-enthusiastic dogs. Meat is safe for dogs.
Yes, you read right, dogs can eat bones. Dogs love bones, and they are genetically engineered to be able to handle bone right from the mouth t the gut. The jaws of a dog have the ability to crash bone so that they can ingest it in small pieces. More interesting, however, is the fact that a dog’s stomach is well equipped to digest bone so that all of it is dissolved.
The stomach of an average canine is highly acidic, presenting a pH of 1. This kind of acidity is strong enough to dissolve an aluminum nail in a matter of hours. This is why bones are no match to dog stomachs, and they prove a helpful part of their diet. They are able to obtain calcium which is needed for multiple physiological functions, the most note-worthy being the proper development of their bones and teeth.
Before serving your dog bones, however, it is imperative that you put into consideration their size and chew ability so that you do not serve smaller dogs massive bones that would otherwise prove useless to them since they cannot be chewed. Also, keep a keen eye on them to check for signs of choking, especially if your dog enjoys to eat in haste.
You definitely need your dog to have a good amount of vegetables if you want them to have a balanced diet. Seeing as there are many types of vegetables that a dog could eat, let us highlight some of those that are of most significance, and that carry a heavy nutritional punch for dogs all ages.
- Butternut squash – Rich in Vitamin A, several B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and calcium. Additionally, they are known to promote smooth digestion and easy defecation, especially for dogs with digestive issues.
- Carrots – Contain loads of beta-carotenes that act as anti-oxidants, Vitamin K1, fiber, and Vitamin A. they are incredible for proper eye sight, improved immunity and better digestion.
- Lettuce – Have lots of Vitamin C, fiber, iron and folate. They also have very small quantities of fat. As an added advantage, they deliver lots of moisture to the dog since they are made up of 90% water. They are really good for digestion.
- Cucumbers – Just like lettuce, cucumbers contain a good deal of water which aids in a myriad of physiological functions as well as improve digestion. They are also rich in fiber and vitamins such as Vitamin K.
Other vegetables that dogs can eat include green beans, broccoli, kale mushrooms, pumpkin, asparagus and parsley. Vegetables are excellent, and safe for dogs.
Dogs love fruit, and thankfully, there is an abundance from which to choose. Fruits are ideal for dogs since they provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and sugars necessary for energy production as well as being safe for dogs. Some of the fruits most loved by dogs include;
- Mango – This fruit comes with an assortment of vitamins which include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E and elements such as iron, folate and Zinc. Consuming mango will help improve your dog’s immunity and facilitate better digestion as well as impacting cardiovascular functions.
- Apples – Rich in Vitamin C, apples are some of the best fruits for dogs. They are also filled with Vitamin A and fiber. All these elements work to improve bone formation, keep your dog’s sight at its best as well as promote ideal digestive health.
- Cantaloupe – This fruit contains a good deal of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. On top of this, it gives your dog natural sugars that act as a source of energy. Cantaloupes also have loads of water which is a good deal of moisture for your dog.
- Blueberries – Aside from having an abundant quantity of Vitamin C which is ideal for a myriad of physiological functions, blueberries have a high quantity of anti-oxidants which are idea for keeping certain diseases away as well as improving your pet’s immunity. They have been proven to play a role in keeping certain types of cancer away.
8. Peanut Butter
If you are looking to find a healthy food on which your dog can snack on in between meals, this right here is the most ideal choice. Peanut butter contains a good deal of healthy fats that work to promote the cardiovascular functions of your dog. In addition, there is an abundance of Vitamin B and Vitamin E in the same which are great for your dog’s skin and fur and for improving immunity.
Before serving your dog peanut butter though, make sure that it has very little salt, if any at all. In addition, it is recommended that you limit the portions since it is known to contain many calories that could actually cause your dog to gain an unprecedented amount of weight over a very short time, especially where physical activity is low.
For best results, feed peanut butter to your dog only a few times a week, and even then, just a small serving of a table spoon.
A dog’s diet would not be complete without the occasional egg. Considered a super food, eggs are actually pretty small, but they pack quite the nutritional punch. In an egg, there is a good deal of protein, essential amino acids as well as fatty acids which are ideal for the ideal growth and development of your dog. Your canine will also obtain selenium, iron, folate, Vitamins A and B and riboflavin.
Bear in mind, however, that your dog could have a serious egg allergy that could be potentially harmful. Try and limit the number of eggs you serve your pet and allow them only a few a week. You can serve the boiled, fried or in baked recipes, but try as much as possible not to serve them raw.
What Can Dogs Not Eat?
As with all other animals, dogs react negatively to certain types of food. Some are known to be pretty dangerous and have actually caused a significant number of dog deaths. Below are foods that dogs can’t eat, and you should never serve your dog, as they are not safe for dogs.
1. Onions and Garlic
Dogs cannot eat these foods, and they have been proven to be toxic to dogs and should not be included in their meals. Eating any of these could lead to anemia due to damage of red blood cells. Even though they may not cause a lot of harm in small quantities, you should try as much as possible not to give them to your dog.
2. Chocolate, Caffeine
Do you sometimes allow your dog to lick some of your chocolate and chocolate ice cream? You need to stop. Chocolate and caffeine are substances that contain methylxanthines. When ingested by a dog, you may observe certain reactions which include panting, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst, frequent urination, hyperactivity and in severe cases, irregular heart rhythm, seizures, tremors and eventual death. If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog ingests chocolate, you might want to check in with the vet as soon as possible.
You should never feed your dog Alcohol, it has been known to produce the same effects in dogs as it does in humans. The main difference is that it takes very little for a dog to experience them. after ingesting alcohol, you may notice reduced coordination, diarrhea, vomiting difficulty breathing, tremors, unresponsiveness due to coma and even death. If your pet ingests alcohol, rush to the vet as fast as you can to avoid death.
Avocados contain a compound called persin which is toxic to dogs. When ingested, it could lead to the accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity, leading to poor oxygen intake and eventual asphyxiation. It would do you and your dog a great deal of good to keep avocados away from their diet.
5. Grapes, Raisins and Sultanas
Grapes, in their fresh or raw form, have been proven to be extremely toxic to dogs. They mess the renal system when they are ingested, leading to renal failure, and in severe cases, death. Smaller dogs are more prone to this problem, especially if they ingest the grapes in high quantities.
Even though dogs are not particularly allergic to salt as a whole compound, they are incredibly sensitive to sodium which is one of the two elements present in salt. Excessive salt intake can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and even seizures. In severe cases, salt could prove fatal to dogs.
If you have been feeding your dog high salt diets but have noticed little side effects, it would be best that you stop. It is likely that your dog could suffer severe dehydration, and this is why it is important to keep your dog hydrated.
7. Synthetic Sugar
The synthetic sugar called Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs. For this reason, you should stay away from processed foods such as cakes, cookies, biscuits, chewing gum and candy. Do not also your dog to go anywhere near toothpaste because, even though it contains a good number of toxic substances to dogs, it also has a high amount of Xylitol.
When consumed, this synthetic sugar causes your dog to experience extremely low sugar levels, weakness in the muscles and even seizures. In extreme cases, this compound can lead to liver damage and to eventual death.
8. Dairy products
Even though dairy products contain a good amount of protein, some can cause a myriad of side effects on dogs. In most cases, these effects are related to gastro intestinal functions and you might notice diarrhea, vomiting, excess gas, pain and general discomfort.
While you are allowed to give dogs a bit if dairy, it is recommended that you limit the quantities and monitor the canine after it has ingested them. in case you notice any adverse effects, rush to your vet for treatment.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Food?
Seeing as dogs are facultative scavengers, it is expected that they have the tendency to prefer raw foods, especially meat. If you have no problem feeding your dog raw meat, try and make certain that it is, indeed, safe by selecting human-grade meat that is certified and free of potentially harmful bacteria.
Otherwise, it is a safer method to actually cook your dog’s meat through to avoid trouble with the digestive tract.
Choosing a Diet Plan for you Dog – What to Consider?
Dogs often times have different physiological needs based on their age. Puppies are more dependent on a high protein diet combined with a good amount of carbohydrates. This is because they are in the growth process and need more protein for growth. Adults need a balance of both protein and carbs for energy and for muscle mass development and maintenance while older dogs need high protein and high energy foods to help them sustain proper muscle mass and give them energy to stay fit.
2. State of Health
A sick dog will likely need a more immunity friendly diet, meaning that you may have to incorporate more fruit and vegetables as well as dietary supplements. You may want to include Omega-3 tablets, calcium, multi-vitamins and others.
Lactating dogs also fall into this category, and you may have to give them a lot more protein than usual as well as calcium and fluid rich substances for better lactation.
3. Size of Dog
Naturally, a smaller dog is likely to consume a lot less food than a large dog. Make certain that the nutrients and quantities of food are as they should be so that a dog gets as much nutrition as it needs to, its size notwithstanding.
4. Breed of Dog
While this may not seem much like an important factor, you might want to feed your dog based on its breed. This is because some are more responsive to high calorie foods than others, and you might find yourself dealing with an obese canine over time. Be certain to research on the feeding habits of your dog before coming up with a diet plan.
When you have a dog as a pet, it is almost as though you have another sibling or a best friend, and it is only natural to want to share your plate of food. Even though it is a show of affection, you might unknowingly feed your dog harmful food, leading to adverse effects, that is why it is important to understand what dogs can eat, and what they should avoid.
Thankfully, dogs are a lot let sensitive than cats, and they make better feeders. There is a wide array of foods from which you could choose in your quest to provide your dog with a stable and balanced diet, but there is need to exercise caution so as to avoid those that are harmful to them.
Be certain to be mindful of you own dog’s allergies and sensitivities, and if you are afraid that you may not get it right, talk to your vet about it. Hopefully this article has helped you understand what dogs can eat, and what dogs can’t eat.