The idea of us defining a set of food as “human food” might irk the other animals we share a planet with (not in the least, our beloved dogs) to no end, if they could comprehend or emote on such matters.
Humour aside, it is a valid question and the answer is a not a simple one – Yes, there are lots of food that you eat that you can gladly share with your dog, and many of them will do it great good; But, there are also some popular food which are never to be fed to your dog. This doesn’t have so much to do with them being “human food” as it does with being toxic to dogs.
Most of us know a commonly believed list of things we can and can’t feed our dogs. Here, we’re going to bust some myths and lay down a comprehensive list of your refrigerator contents that you can share and keep away from your pet:
- Peanut Butter:
Dubiously surprising though it may seem, the much loved peanut butter is just as much desired by dogs and makes for a lovely treat to them, not to mention an incredibly power- packed source of nutrients like Protein, healthy fats and Selenium.
Peanut butter can be served with any of your regular doggie treats to crank up the nutritional value a notch, or be given on it’s own – just note that your dog needs much much smaller portions than you and (only a minuscule fragment of what you probably go through on your weekend netflix and peanut butter toast binge) might have trouble digesting more sizeable quantities.
The humble yoghurt’s status as a power food is indisputable. It’s superlative metabolism-aiding properties, and high protein, calcium and probiotic bacteria content make it just as helpful an item on your dog’s menu as yours.
Just make sure the yoghurt you feed your dog doesn’t contain any added sugars.
While the popular belief is that dogs don’t require stable sources of carbohydrates in substantial amounts, the benefits of feeding your dog grains like rice, wheat and oats are many- lower risk of intestinal disorders, hypertension, diabetes etc. They are excellent sources of slow-releasing energy and usually result in a visible elevation of mood in dogs. Oats are especially excellent for dogs and highly recommended even as daily food. The rich fibre content in oats (and also to a lesser extent in rice and pasta) will do wonders to your dog’s gut.
Fresh vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals that are also required by your pet’s body for smooth functioning. Vegetables like broccoli, green beans, pumpkin, zucchini, sweet potatoes,celery, green peas,red beets,yams are wonderful wonderful options that are perfectly safe to be fed to your dog.
In addition, greens such as kale, carrot tops, cilantro, basil etc can be added for a kick ass dose of antioxidants and minerals.
Onions, Tomatoes (yes pedants! I know it’s not a vegetable), Garlic and Avocado are a strict no no!
Bananas, Apples and oranges are fruits that are best suited to a dog’s nutritional requirements and have no adverse reactions;
It is important to understand that this is not an exhaustive list of safe fruits for your dog but a proven one. There are lots of fruits about which science remains inconclusive and thorough studies are yet to be conducted. An amount of personal discretion is required in taking a call on these “fence” fruits.
However,make sure to completely avoid fruits like grapes and peaches which are proven to be toxic to your dog.
Before you gape at your screen, it’s best to reveal that this one comes with an if clause – lactose intolerance.
If your dog has never exhibited any signs of lactose intolerance, cheese ( cottage cheese being the most recommended) makes for a great treat, rich in fats, calcium and protein. Many owners swear by it especially because, gram for gram, cheese packs a great punch and during camping or road trips, they are a handy treat to carry (both cost and space wise).
Your dog will love it to bits, but again , make sure you don’t overdo it. Research portion sizes if you’re on the doubtful side, with any new food.
Coffee and tea can potentially be fatal to your dogs and must be kept away from their reach. The same principle also applies to any product that contains caffeine. Caffeine poisoning in dogs is serious business and can even cause death from Cardiac overload or extreme hypertension.
Alcohol, the scourge of mankind, affects dogs exactly in the same way as it does us. The only difference is that smaller amounts of it are enough to cause lethal effects in dogs. Alcohol, even in small amounts, can cause your dog to have CNS Depression, breathing difficulty, vomiting, and in a lot of cases, death.
This might also be an opportune moment to remind all you dog lovers out there to make sure you keep your drugs cabinet and your dog as separated at all times as possible.
- Sugar and Salt:
This one is a no brainer for most of us. For better or worse, it has been ingrained into our collective psyche that sugar and salt are toxic to dogs. However, it might pay to know why and to what extent – Sugar has the same slow killing properties in dogs as it does in human beings. It leads to a multitude of closely linked illnesses like diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Salt, in even moderate amounts may cause water loss, dehydration and in many cases, sodium poisoning.
While most dog owners are aware of this and don’t directly include salt or sugar in their pet’s diet, it is crucial to keep in mind that both salt and sugar eerily find their way into a large chunk of what we regularly buy and consume, with or without our knowledge. So,it can’t be emphasised enough that to be completely safe, one needs to make sure to read the ingredients label super carefully, before choosing any food for your dog.
Although chocolate is also widely known as a food not to be given to dogs, most people seem to have it wrong as to the why. The popular misconception is that this is an extension of the no-sugar rule, therefore, prompting some weak hearted owners to share their sugar free chocolate treats with their dog.
However , it is the presence of a compound called theobromine in chocolate that’s the issue. Theobromine is extremely toxic to dogs and may cause diarrhoea, irritative bowel and dizziness, in small amounts and seizures or even death with moderate to large amounts.
This also means, no donuts with chocolate glaze, syrup,cocoa flavour or anything with the slightest hint of chocolate.
- Raisins and Grapes:
While these were traditionally used as dog treats, they have been implicated in renal failure among dogs and are highly prohibited by experts.
- Macadamia nuts:
Macadamia nuts are very dangerous to your dogs and even a few of them accidentally finding their way into your dog’s mouth can lead to scary consequences like seizures, paralysis and serious nervous dysfunction.