Dogs always seem to enjoy any tasty morsels of human food they are given and many people wonder if it is possible to feed their dog entirely on scraps of human food. The simple answer is ‘no’. Dogs have complicated nutritional requirements and these would not be met by a diet of entirely human foods. It is certainly recommended that you feed your dog top quality dog food. Having said that, there are some human foods that make a nutritious treat for your dog and some that should be avoided – we give you all the info here.
Interestingly, since earliest times, man has realised that some foods are better than others for their dogs. The Romans used to feed their dogs meat with bones and barley soaked in milk as they believed this diet would keep the dogs strong. Until the 19th century, dogs were given a wide range of different foods – particularly kitchen scraps. In the 1860s James Spratt was working in London and noticed that many street dogs would gather at London docks to feed on the sailors’ discarded dried meat and biscuits. Spratt created the first commercial pet food made from a mixture of vegetables, wheat biscuits, beetroot and beef blood.
Today, pet food is a multi-million pound business and supermarkets and pet stores are filled with a huge array of dog foods created by experts. As well as food for the average dog, there are speciality brands for puppies, elderly dogs, dogs of different ages and ones that have different lifestyles. Certainly it is advisable that if you have a small breed dog you buy an appropriate dog food for them and likewise, if you have a Great Dane sharing your sofa, he will benefit from a ‘big dog’ food!
Are human foods good for dogs?
In recent years, many dog owners have felt that commercial dog foods are too processed and have been keen to give their pets home made meals prepared with natural ingredients. The trouble is that it is almost impossible to meet your pet’s dietary requirements with human food and Vets recommend that you feed them with quality dog foods that have been specifically designed to meet your dog’s needs – and importantly, help them to maintain a healthy weight.
The bottom line is that human foods can be used as a tasty treat for your dog, but should not be used to replace their basic diet. This will come as good news as we all know how hard it is to resist pleading canine eyes looking lovingly at the steak we are serving!
Follow these guidelines
The key to success is to give your dog a carefully chosen human food treat occasionally and in moderation. The foods that we enjoy, include rich and fatty foods and these should not be given to your dog. Many others are also not easily digested by your pooch and can cause an upset stomach.
It is very important that you know exactly what human food you are giving your dog and that it will not cause them problems. For example, if you give a dog meat in a sauce, there could well be an ingredient in the sauce that unsettles their stomach. Meat skin, fat and gristle is not only bad for humans, they will not do your dog any good either.
What human foods are good treats for dogs?
Dogs are primarily carnivores – meat eaters- so giving your pet a meaty treat is a good idea as long as you prepare the meat first and should only be given lean cooked meat that has been checked for bones and cut into manageable pieces. Dogs love cooked chicken, but turkey, pork and beef are all popular canine treats.
Cooked fish is good for dogs but do ensure that all the bones have been removed. Salmon and sardines are as good for dogs as they are for humans.
Dairy products are rich in vitamins and calcium so make a good treat for your dog. Many dogs thoroughly enjoy a piece of hard cheese but surprisingly, will enjoy a spoonful of cottage cheese as much. If you have boiled an egg for breakfast, a small piece of it is a great way for your dog to start the morning too! If your breakfast usually includes some yoghurt, you may well find that your dog enjoys a spoonful too!
Fresh fruit and veg
Like humans, many dogs enjoy a snack of fresh fruit or vegetables, but it is important to ensure that you only give your dog a modest amount as these contain a high amount of sugar which is not good for them.
If you are cooking vegetables for dinner why not give your pooch a spoonful of carrots, pumpkin, peas, green beans or broccoli to enjoy? On the fruit front, a slice of banana, a few blueberries or a slice of apple (without core or seeds) will all be much appreciated by your pooch.
On a hot summer’s day, they will enjoy a mouthful of refreshing watermelon as much as you! If you are giving your pooch a little piece of plum, apricot, cherry or peach, make sure they do not grab the fruit stone as these are not good for them. Here you can find the list of vegetables you can or can’t feed your fur.
Is fibre good for dogs?
When it comes to grains, you do have to be careful which ones you give your dog as some of them are very fibre-rich so only give a very small amount as an occasional treat. Such foods include corn, oatmeal, rice and bread.
What human foods are bad for dogs?
There is quite a list of human foods that are just unsuitable for your dog – and in some cases even toxic. The following list of foods should NEVER be given to your pooch – no matter how appealingly he looks at you.
- Grapes, raisins, lemons, limes and avocado
- Onions, leeks and garlic
- Coffee, tea, drinking chocolate and any drink containing caffeine
- Nuts – especially Macadamia nuts
- High sodium foods such as bacon
- Spices such as cinnamon, curry etc
And how about peanut butter? Can I feed my dog with peanut butter?
What human food is good for dogs? If you have any doubts about how you are feeding your dog or whether you can supplement their diet with human food, why not pop along and discuss this with your Vet?