Whether you create meals from scratch or are a master of the microwave, time in the kitchen can be twice the fun if you’re doing it with your dog! If you like to sneak leftovers to your pup, you may be feeding him less than ideal foods. Below are some healthy foods you can prepare for both you and your dog! Remember to consult with your veterinarian before feeding your dog new foods and don’t overfeed food/treats or your dog may become overweight. Keep a close eye on your dog after you feed him a small amount of a new food for the first time to ensure he doesn’t react negatively. If your dog doesn’t show any negative symptoms, such as an upset stomach, you can incorporate the food again.
Flavorful Fruit Bowls
If you like to eat a bowl of fruit with your meals, consider making a small bowl for your dog as well! Dogs can eat a variety of fruits as long as they are cut up in small pieces. Some fruits your dog may enjoy that require minimal preparation include bananas, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Some fruits require some preparation before your dog should eat them; remove the seeds, skin, rind or core from apples, cantaloupes, oranges, pears, pineapples and watermelons. Always ensure fruits are cut into bite-sized pieces for your dog before sharing!
Whether it’s for breakfast or a high-protein snack, eggs are a great choice for both you and your dog’s meals a few times a week! Eggs that have been boiled or cooked without oil, butter or salt are safe for your dog to eat. As tempting as it may be, refrain from feeding your dog leftover scrambled eggs since they typically contain milk and other ingredients that may not be good for your dog.
Vary Your Vegetables
Many of the vegetables that you grow in your garden and add to your meals can also be given to your dog! Green beans are a high fiber treat that are filling while still low in calories. If you like to add bell peppers to your salads, toss a few to your dog as well! Consider choosing red bell peppers as they are higher in antioxidants and nutrients. Broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, celery, corn, squash, and zucchini are all great treats for your pup. While these vegetables can be fed raw, steaming is a great way to cook vegetables without removing too many nutrients and can make them more enticing for dogs that are picky eaters.
Brown or White Rice
Rice is easy to make - which makes it easy to add to your dog’s diet - and a great start to any meal! Rice can be fed to help with an upset stomach or to add nutrients to your pup’s diet. White or brown rice can be used as long as there is no added oil, butter or seasonings. Brown rice is higher in nutritional value and often is included in the recipe of your dog’s dry food already! Be sure to regulate how much rice you feed your dog per your veterinarian’s instruction, as rice has a lot of calories and could cause weight gain.
You can add lean meat to rice, toss it in a salad or serve it alone to add some protein to both you and your dog’s diets! Choose leaner cuts as dogs have a difficult time digesting fatty meat and the higher the fat content, the lower the protein. Refrain from feeding raw meat to your dog and instead boil or cook the meat without oil, butter or seasoning. Cut off any fat and remove bones before feeding cooked meat to your dog. Some good choices of lean meat include cuts of beef or pork with “loin” or “round” in the name, ground beef, bison, chicken or turkey labelled 90 percent lean or leaner, or chicken and turkey with the skin removed.
Sweet potatoes are low in fat and provide fiber, calcium, potassium and iron. They are a great option for both humans and dogs and can be prepared in several ways. If you choose to share your sweet potatoes with your pup, remove the skin and cook the potato to help make it more digestible. You can also make sweet potato jerky treats by removing the potato’s skin, slicing the potato into ½ inch strips, and baking the strips on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 hours.
Fish is a great source of protein, omega-3 fats, and calcium for your pup. Canned tuna or salmon can be a healthy, low cost treat for your dog. You should choose canned fish that is in water, not oil, and with no added salt. Never feed your dog raw fish, as a naturally occurring enzyme in fish called thiaminase will break down the B vitamin in your dog’s food and reduce the amount of B vitamin that is absorbed.
Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkin is known for its nutritional value for dogs and people, but did you know pumpkin can help to ease your dog’s constipation or diarrhea? Whether fresh or canned, pumpkins provide vitamins, minerals, and soluble fiber for your pup. Ensure canned pumpkin doesn’t come with additional spices, sugar or sodium, which might make your dog sick.
Cheese (In Moderation)
A staple of many meals, cheese can be fed to most dogs in small amounts. You can use cheese as a high-value treat during training, to hide pills, or to top a dinner dish. Choose cheeses that are lower in fat and sodium, such as cottage cheese and feed cheese moderately.
Cooking with your dog can be a fun and keep you both a lot healthier! Be sure to feed these foods in moderation and keep an eye on changes in your dog’s weight. Combine several of these dog-friendly foods to make a meal to celebrate holidays or special occasions with your pup. If you’re interested in trying some dog-friendly recipes, check out these DIY Dog Cakes or cool down with some homemade pupsicles.