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Food You and Fido Can Share

We've been reminding everyone about foods, plants and poisons that Fido shouldn’t be allowed to eat. The flip side is "What foods are good/safe for Fido?" Before we get to what you can safely give Fido, we're going to cover a few more NO-NOs.

General Rule of Thumb #1: Never feed Fido any random commercially prepared human food. This is the SAFE approach. The problem is that you usually won't know exactly what additives may be present. Bad additives include Xylitol {ex: in some peanut butters}, onions, garlic, raisins/grapes, macadamia nuts and more. None of these additives are bad for you or me but all are a problem for Fido. Unless you've read the list of ingredients, it's always safest to simply not feed Fido any commercially prepared human food.

General Rule of Thumb #2: Avoid all salted or fried foods. Dogs are more sensitive to increased salt levels than most people are. No salted nuts, salted popcorn, potato chips or other salted foods. Dogs also have shorter digestive systems. This makes dealing with greasy foods more difficult for them causing increased occurrences of diarrhea etc.

General Rule of Thumb #3: Avoid all things dairy. While quite a few dogs don't have a problem with dairy, many dogs do. At any time, random dogs can develop a sudden intolerance for or allergy to dairy.

General Rule of Thumb #4: Don't feed raw foods, especially raw eggs. In addition to all the usual risks from salmonella and other bacteria, raw egg whites are a special problem for dogs. Prolonged feeding of raw egg whites will cause biotin deficiency in your dog. This is because raw egg whites contain an enzyme which binds to biotin and prevents your dog from absorbing biotin. Biotin is an important B-complex vitamin which promotes healthy skin, digestion and aids healthy metabolism.

All raw meat and fish require special handling and proper supplementation to be successful. If you’re not prepared for the special handling required for raw food, play it safe.

Some vets will often tell you to simply not feed Fido any human food. First, unless you've double checked what's in whatever you want to feed Fido, it really is safest not give Fido human food. Second, commercially prepared dog food really does contain all the nutrients most dogs need. Anything from your table is likely to be both nutritionally deficient in some respect as well as making Fido prone to becoming overweight.

It’s up to you to be sure Fido only eats as much of what’s healthy and no more.

With all the caveats above, here are some of the human foods you can safely and happily give Fido. Underlined foods are especially healthy to share.

Eggs - Be sure they are fully cooked! Cooked eggs are a great source of various nutrients.

Popcorn - Unsalted! No unpopped kernels as they can become a choking hazard.

Raw Carrots - Helps with gum/dental health. Can improve bad breath.

Cheese - if your dog is not lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, then small quantities of cheese are fine as treats. Most cheeses are high in fats and should be limited to small quantities.

Peanut Butter - Great for hollow toys designed for the purpose. READ THE INGREDIENTS LABEL! Many commercial peanut butters include Xylitol. Make certain Xylitol is not listed in the ingredients. Tip: If the ingredients list includes sugar alcohol but doesn’t list which one, assume it’s Xylitol.

Coconut meat and milk - Contains Lauric which can help strengthen the immune system. Don't let Fido chew on the shell.

Honey - Can get messy but contains vitamins and small amounts of pollen. The small amounts of pollen in honey can help build resistance to pollen related allergies. Local raw honey is best for this as the trace pollen will be from local plants in your region. Consult your vet if this interests you.

Quinoa - Good alternative to corn and wheat in some dog foods.

Salmon - Cooked only! Otherwise an excellent food for dogs.

Shrimp - Cooked only! Similar to salmon.

Canned tuna - Packed in water only, no spices. Keep quantities small as all tuna contains some mercury and is high in sodium.

Turkey - No skin or fat. No bones. No garlic, onions or spices!

Chicken – Same as Turkey.

Plain Yogurt only - Avoid flavored yogurts as the flavorings can have Xylitol added. Be certain your dog isn't dairy intolerant!

Fresh green beens/peas - Low in calories but satisfying for most dogs. Can be part of a weight reduction plan.

Pumpkin - fresh or canned so long as there's no added sugar or spices. Easy on Fido's stomach.

Sweet potatoes - Similar to pumpkin but should always be steamed or baked first then allowed to cool. Serve unseasoned.

Fresh apples - Sliced. Skin can be on but avoid seeds. The seeds naturally contain cyanide.

Plain oatmeal - Another good alternative to corn and wheat. No added spices or flavorings!

Nuts - Some nuts are safe and some are not. The only 'safe' nuts are peanuts and cashews. Treat all other nuts as being unsafe. Only unsalted nuts should be shared with Fido. Only small quantities should be shared as treats because nuts are high in fats.

Remember: The calories in treats you share from your table count! Don’t forget to include them when figuring Fido’s total diet. 

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