Foods that we love and are healthy for us aren’t necessarily healthy for our dogs. Why? Because animals have different metabolic systems and break down food differently to us humans.
Vet expert, Dr Alister Webster sheds light on eight foods and provides clear answers as to whether they will help or harm your dog.
- Milk/dairy: YES and NO
Some dogs, like humans, are lactose intolerant. So while feeding your dog a healthy probiotic-rich food like yoghurt may seem like a great idea, if you find your dog is suffering from excessive flatulence, diarrhoea or vomiting, he or she could be lactose intolerant. Try small servings and play it by ear – at the first sign of a gastrointestinal issue, steer clear from lactose products.
- Chocolate: NO!
This one is a big no-no. Every year, around the holiday season, numerous dogs make visits to vets having become ill after sneaking into the chocolate stash. The blame can be laid on the compound theobromine, found in chocolate, which is unsuitable for dog digestion and which can cause a range of symptoms from vomiting to diarrhoea. Always consult a vet if your dog has consumed chocolate, simply to be on the safe side.
- Bones: YES and NO
Dogs love to chew on bones and they make wonderful treats! However, be careful to only supply your dog with raw bones, as cooked bones can splinter easily and if digested could cause real damage. Avoid chicken bones at all costs.
- Leftovers: NO
The metabolism of a dog is very different to a human and therefore they don’t easily digest the foods we give them as leftovers. Human foods that are typically oily and fatty may lead to unwanted side effects such as diarrhoea and vomiting. Feeding your dog scraps can also develop dependence which may lead to them rejecting pet food specifically formulated for them.
- Peanut butter: YES BUT OCCASIONALLY
Peanut butter makes a great treat for dogs – putting it inside one of their chew toys can give them a great challenge as they try to lick it out. Full of heart healthy fats and proteins, natural peanut butter (no added salt or sugar) can be an excellent energy boosting snack for your dog. It is important though to feed it in moderation.
- Eggs: YES
Scrambling an egg is a clever way to give your dog a protein boost, particularly if they’re active. Dog’s will see it as a treat and you’ll be making sure they’re getting a great source of protein and riboflavin.
- Apple slices: YES
Apples are a good source of Vitamin A and C and can actually help to clean residue from your dog’s teeth, assisting with bad breath! Make sure you’ve removed the core and the seeds, as these are potential choking hazards.
- Omega rich foods: YES
Dogs can benefit from omega rich foods as much as humans. Fish like salmon and chia seeds, or even omega supplements designed for dogs, can help reduce joint swelling and inflammation experienced by older dogs.
Your dog deserves a balanced diet just as much as you do! Take care to make sure they’re receiving all of the energy they need in their daily diet. If you’re unsure about a particular food and whether or not it is harmful for your dog, always take the time to check- just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean it’s good for them!
By Veterinarian Dr Alister Webster