Nutrition plays an important role in the growth and health of every living organism. It determines a great percentage of what a dog’s health should look like. Food is vital, but what kind does your dog need to be ingesting?
Your diet not only helps you grow physically but affects your productivity and mental development. It’s the same way with dogs. A dog with a healthy diet will have a better mental health and generally be happier than a poorly fed pup.
Dogs are usually not very picky when it comes to food. They could eat almost everything they get their paws on, but unfortunately, not everything is actually good for them. The fact that it’s human-approved doesn’t always mean it’s dog-approved.
The task is now left up to you as their owner to watch and regulate what goes into your dog’s mouth and forms part of their diet.
As much as your food tastes too good to not share, or as much as your dog looks so miserable not having any, resist that urge to let your pup have his way. Once you’re sure nothing in the dishes could pose a problem to their health and well-being.
Can I feed my dog human food?
Human foods are relatively healthy for dogs. However, you should be careful not to feed them too many as some of them are too fatty for dogs to properly digest because of the difference between their digestive system and a human’s.
Eating these harmful human foods can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, pancreatitis. Many of the mentioned meals also contain an unhealthy amount of sodium.
Generally, it is best to know what products are unhealthy for your fur friend to make sure to stay away from them.
What Foods Are Bad For Dogs?
Some of these foods aren’t necessarily instant poison to your dog, but consumption in large quantities, or over a long period can be harmful to them.
It could also provoke allergic reactions. Here’s a list of foods that vets do not recommend:
This could be a piece of paradise for you, but chocolate is a poisonous food for dogs. It contains a harmful stimulant called theobromine that can cause kidney failure in dogs. Dark chocolate is especially poisonous.
• Onions, Garlic, And Chives
Everything in the onion family can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage leading to anemia. Though they may not be evident, even for a few days, look for signs like weakness, vomiting, and breathing problems.
Avocado plants contain a substance called persin which is in its leaves, bark, fruit, and seed that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Keep your pup away from avocado plants as well. The avocado seed is also capable of fatal obstruction in the intestines or stomach.
Alcohol can not only intoxicate your dog but lead to sickness, diarrhea, and central nervous system damage even in small amounts.
• Macadamia Nuts
They contain a toxin that affects the muscles and nervous system resulting in weakness, swollen limbs, and panting in dogs.
• Artificial Sweeteners like Xylitol
Sweet foods that humans crave like soda, chewing gum, etc. often have an artificial sweetener called Xylitol that causes an insulin release in human bodies.
In dogs, however, it can cause hypoglycemia followed sometimes by liver failure and blood clotting disorders.
• Dairy Products
Deliciously tempting things like ice cream and milk can be lactose intolerant for many canines. Milk-based products can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems for your pet. It can also cause itching from triggered food allergies.
• Coffee, Tea, and Other Caffeine
Keep your dog away from cocoa, coffee colas, and energy drinks. Caffeine is also found in some cold medicines and painkillers.
It raises their blood pressure and can lead to cardiac arrhythmia (increased heart rate).
• Cooked Bones
Raw uncooked bones are okay for your dog to chew on but cooked bones can easily fragment and cause constipation or fatally perforate their gut.
• Grapes And Raisins
Cakes, biscuits, or other foods with raisins should be avoided. They may cause severe liver damage and kidney failure.
• Raw or Undercooked Meat, Fish, or Eggs
Raw food could have organisms that cause food poisoning. Some fish, especially salmon, have a parasite that causes salmon poisoning disease. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, and lymph nodes. That is why the fish should be cooked to kill the parasite.
Too much salt could lead to sodium ion poisoning.
Salt also causes dehydration and makes dogs very thirsty. Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, high temperature, seizures, or even death.
Too much sugar can cause obesity, dental problems, and even diabetes.
Other foods include;
- Corn on the cob.
- Coconut and coconut oil in large quantities.
- Citrus fruits.
- Yeast dough.
- Apple seeds.
- Fat Trimmings.
Why is it important to feed my dog healthy food?
Healthy food boosts the immune system and improves long-term health by saving your pet’s organs from stress. Your dog’s kidneys and liver would have to work harder to remove toxins such as chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and other harmful elements from unhealthy food from your pet’s body.
It also helps your dog look better and live longer.
Healthiest Foods For Dogs
Just as they are unhealthy foods, there are also healthy human options for your dog. Here’s a list of healthy products your dog can eat;
• Fresh Fruits
Fruits are good for dogs as long as the seeds are taken out. Seeds, stems, and leaves can be unhealthy.
• Lean Meats
Too much fatty meat can lead to obesity and acute pancreatitis, so lean meats like chicken or even lean beef are healthier options.
Vegetables high in vitamins like carrot sticks, green beans, cucumber, and zucchini amongst others are good for dogs. They boost their immune system and contain essential nutrients for proper growth.
• Cooked White Rice and Pasta
The carbohydrates here are energy givers. Cooked rice with chicken broth is also good to give to your dog when they have an upset stomach.
Proteins should never be left out of your dog’s diet. The eggs and meat should be cooked and the bones should be removed to avoid any choking or splintering in your dog’s stomach. Foods like chicken, turkey, pork, lean beef, and fish, especially salmon and sardines, are rich in Omega-3 and serve as very good sources of protein for your dog.
In small amounts, it is a healthy snack for your dog. It shouldn’t be considered an option for dogs that are lactose intolerant.
Foods that are high in fiber are wonderful for dogs with high energy requirements and young dogs. The fiber in meals like corn, quinoa, rice, oatmeal
and small amounts of plain bread are very healthy.
• Treat Food
These foods are approved to give your dog as a treat, in moderation of course. Foods like peanut butter (the ones without xylitol or added sugar), coconut, honey, plain popcorn, etc. are safe for your dog’s consumption.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
It’s one thing to feed your dog and it’s another to know how regularly you should. It is recommended to give your pup a meal twice daily. Three times a day is also another healthy option, but the trick is to make sure your pup has at least 12 hours apart in between meals.
Overfeeding your dog can cause indigestion, heart problems, diabetes or worse, a shortened life span. It’s highly vital that you monitor just how much food he gets into his system daily.
What To Do If Your Dog Ate Something They Shouldn’t
If your dog accidentally ingests something harmful to him, visit a vet immediately. Don’t try to wait and watch for symptoms.
In cases of poisons like chocolate, with a vet’s recommendation, get activated charcoal or Endosorb.
Also with a vet’s recommendation, in cases where vomiting has to be induced, use hydrogen peroxide.
This, of course, should never be your first option without talking to a proffesional first. Getting your pet to the vet should be your number one priority.
Good nutrition is also part of dog grooming. Other parts include bathing them, trimming their nails with a dog nail grinder, brushing their coat, and just generally helping them stay in top shape.
Apart from providing good nutrition for their growth and development, dog food also helps you bond with your pup.
Studies have shown that dogs get attached to the individual that feeds them. You can see it as getting to your dog’s heart through its stomach. Treats are also used as a way to train dogs and help them quit bad behavior.
If you haven’t been paying attention to your dog’s diet, this article will help you get started.