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Meta: Whether you just got a dog or want to know more about your dog’s nutrition, check out this informative article all about what dogs can eat.
If you’re new to the world of dog ownership, you may be wondering just exactly what your new furry friend can and cannot eat. Most people know that dogs are sensitive to chocolate, but when it comes to other “human” foods, many are left in confusion. Questions about your dog’s diet can be daunting, but they don’t have to be.
Below, we’ll explore which foods your dog can have, and also which you should keep to yourself. Keep in mind, while this list is thorough, there’s no way it could cover every single possible food. If you ever have any questions or concern, consult with your dog’s veterinarian and follow his or her advice.
Before you give your dog “human” food or other treats, you must first ensure they are getting a nutritious diet. When looking for good all-purpose dog food, consider meeting with your vet first. Nutritional requirements vary from dog to dog based on several factors. Traits such as breed, size, overall health, and age all affect what kind of food your dog needs to eat.
Most veterinarians recommend feeding your dog a steady diet of commercial food. When it comes to wet food versus dry food, opinions are mixed. Some experts believe that dry food is better for your doggies dental health. Meanwhile, other experts say a wet food is best for dogs who don’t drink enough water.
The most critical tenet here is that you feed your dog a steady diet of nutritionally dense food. Nearly all commercial foods come with a wide array of nutrients to help keep your dog healthy during all stages of life. If you have any specific concerns about your particular dog, consult with your veterinarian.
When looking for good-quality commercial dog food, first find one that has a statement from the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This statement should mention that the food is both “complete” and “balanced” meaning that it has all of the nutrients your dog needs in the correct ratios.
Next, pick a food type that is appropriate for your dog’s stage of life. For example, if you have a puppy, choose food specially formulated for puppies. As your dog ages move toa food that caters to adult dogs. If your dog becomes pregnant, you’ll need food, especially for pregnant and nursing mothers.
Young puppies need to eat much more frequently than their adult dog counterparts. More specifically, dogs less than six months old need to eat three to four times per day. Once your puppy is over six months old, he or she needs food twice a day. After the dog is fully grown, your dog can get by with one or two feedings per day.
While every dog is unique, start by feeding your dog the serving size recommended on your dog food packaging. If you notice your dog shows severe signs of hunger, or starts gaining weight, check in with your vet for recommendations. It is essential to give your dog enough food without overfeeding.
Keep in mind, your dog’s diet should be at least 90 percent healthy, nutritionally balanced food. You can offer your dog treats and some “human” foods, but don’t exceed 10 percent of his or her total diet. Below we’ll explore which table foods are safe for your canine companion.
Can dogs eat avocado? Can they have apples? What about watermelon? Are peaches and pears okay? If you find yourself asking these questions or ones like them, then this is the article for you. While it can be tempting to treat your dog with your favorite human foods, it’s important to understand that dogs do not have the same digestive system as us.
In general, the following fruits are safe for dogs:
While the fruits listed above are safe for dogs, they should all be given in moderation. Most fruits contain a relatively large amount of sugar and should be saved for special occasions. Also note, while some may not consider them as fruits, dogs cannot eat avocado or tomatoes.
Dogs don’t technically need to eat vegetables, but it’s okay to share your veggies now and then. Below you’ll find a list of plants that are safe for your dog to have followed by a few that should be avoided. Keep in mind, that if you cook your vegetables with oil or fat, you shouldn’t share them with your dog.
The following vegetables are safe for dogs:
- Sugar snap peas
- Green beans
- Sweet potatoes
Don’t feed your dog potatoes, onions/garlic, mushrooms, asparagus, or rhubarb. All of these cause adverse health consequences in canines. Also, if your dog doesn’t seem to like a particular vegetable, don’t try to force them to eat it. Remember, veggies are treats for your furry friend, not a necessity for a healthy life.
People love to use peanut butter as a way to give their dogs a special treat. It is also helpful for hiding medicines and rewarding good behavior. While there’s no harm in giving your dog peanut butter on occasion, it should be saved as a specialty treat item. Also, when buying peanut butter for your dog, make sure that it does not contain xylitol.
Can dogs eat other nut butter? The answer to this question is both yes and no. Some nut butter is healthy and safe for your furry companions, while others can cause intestinal discomfort and other unwanted symptoms. When buying any nut butter for your pup, look for ones with the least number of ingredients.
Generally speaking, it is safe for dogs to have peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter. As we mentioned above, you want products that contain absolutely no xylitol. Natural nut butter with only one ingredient is the perfect treat for your furry loved one.
If you’re curious about other nut butter, we’ll say it’s best to avoid most of them. In particular, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts are not safe for dogs in any form. These nuts can cause gastric upset, neurological symptoms, and even pancreatitis.
As a final note, it’s okay to share roasted nuts with your dog on occasion. However, limit your pet’s intake and avoid the unsafe nuts we listed above. Also, take note that nuts or nut butter can cause stomach upset even when given in moderation. This unfortunate symptom comes from the high-fat content found in all nuts and seeds.
Have you ever wondered, “Can dogs eat popcorn?” What about other snack foods like chips or baked goods? In general, it is best to avoid feeding your dog any kind of fatty foods, including human junk foods. Remember, those foods are not healthy for you, and they are definitely not suitable for your pets.
While we’re talking about junk food, it’s also essential to avoid a few other foods as well. According to the FDA, you should avoid giving your dog most food scraps including chicken bones, molded foods, fatty foods, salty foods, and raw meat. It’s also crucial that you avoid giving your dog raisins, grapes, or currants. And of course, never give chocolate.
What About Dog Treats?
Just like junk foods are unhealthy for humans, most commercial dog treats are harmful to dogs. If you want to treat your dog, consider giving fruits or vegetables instead. If your dog doesn’t take to fruits and veggies, you can offer a lean piece of cooked meat as a treat.
Remember, a well balanced commercial food should be the main component of your dog’s daily food. Anything else you add should only constitute ten percent of the total diet. If your dog shows signs of weight gain, consider cutting out treats entirely until you can help them achieve a healthy weight.
Dental Sticks and Treats
For optimum health, it’s crucial that you care for your dog’s oral hygiene. This care includes professional cleanings and regular teeth brushing. However, if your dog develops dental problems, certain treats can be part of the solution. If you suspect that your dog has dental health issues, be sure to consult with your vet.
Meanwhile, you can also experiment with dental treats, diets, and chews. Keep in mind that the product you choose should match your dog’s size, chew style, and preference. Rawhides, dental chews, and dental-specific diets can all help reduce tartar and improve dental health. You can also try out chew toys such as Kongs, Gumabones, or Plaque Attackers.
Feeding your dog can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. But by following the guidelines laid out in this article, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your dog healthy and happy. Remember, nutritionally sound commercial pet food should make up the majority of your dog’s diet. But, the occasional healthy treat can make for a great bonding experience.