14 Best Healthy and Safe Foods for Dog

Looking for healthy treats for your pup? Here’s a list of 16 whole foods, including meats, fruits, and veggies, that are not only safe for humans but also beneficial for dogs.

Many dog owners admit to sharing a little of their own food with their furry friends. While some human foods are safe for dogs, it’s important to remember that dogs have different digestive systems and nutritional needs. This means that not all human foods are suitable for them.

The good news is that there are plenty of dog-friendly meats, fruits, and vegetables that make excellent snacks for dogs. Whether you’re looking for healthy dog treats or want to add some whole foods to your dog’s diet, here are some of the best options that are nutritious for both dogs and humans.

Important Note: Just like with humans, these foods should be given to dogs in small or moderate amounts. Treats should only make up about 10% of your dog’s diet, even if they come from the list below. Additionally, remember that not every dog will enjoy or tolerate all foods. If your dog has a negative reaction to any food, stop feeding it to them and consult your veterinarian.

Here’s the list of safe and healthy foods for your dog:

Chicken

Cooked chicken is an excellent source of protein for dogs. For the best results, use skinless chicken and boil it. Once cooked, you can feed a small portion to your dog a few times a week. A popular recipe is chicken and rice: cook a cup of rice, boil a chicken breast

Cooked chicken is an excellent source of protein for dogs. For the best results, use skinless chicken and boil it. Once cooked, you can feed a small portion to your dog a few times a week. A popular recipe is chicken and rice: cook a cup of rice, boil a chicken breast, shred it, and mix it with the rice. For added nutrition, you can also include a vegetable like string beans.

Important Tips:

– Always remove the chicken from the bone to prevent choking hazards.

– Be aware that some dogs might be allergic to chicken.

Lean Ground Turkey

Lean ground turkey is another safe and nutritious option for your dog. Similar to chicken, turkey is high in protein and commonly found in dog food. Cook ground turkey in a saucepan, skillet, or boil it until fully cooked.

You can then mix it with rice before serving it to your dog. Ensure the turkey is plain and unseasoned, and never feed your dog turkey bones.

Eggs

Cooked eggs are a nutritious and safe food option for dogs, providing a variety of essential minerals and vitamins. Offering your dog scrambled eggs occasionally can be a tasty treat. However, it’s important to limit this to just a few times a week.

Always serve the eggs plain, without any added spices, including salt or pepper. If your dog has specific health issues like diabetes or pancreatitis, consult your vet before introducing eggs into their diet.

Raw or Steamed Vegetables

Many vegetables are safe and healthy for dogs to eat, either raw or steamed. Here are some good options:

– Green beans

– Broccoli

– Cauliflower

– Peas

– Brussels sprouts

– Lettuce

– Celery

However, some vegetables should be avoided, as they can be harmful to dogs. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), these include:

– Asparagus

– Mushrooms

– Onions

When feeding your dog vegetables, remember to keep portions small and avoid adding any spices or seasonings.

Fresh Fruits for Dogs

Fresh fruits are a nutritious treat for dogs, providing antioxidants and other essential nutrients. While you don’t need to cook fruits, it’s crucial to know which ones are safe for dogs. Avoid giving grapes to dogs, as they are toxic. However, many other fruits are safe and beneficial for dogs, including:

Bananas

Strawberries

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Mangos

Apples

Important Tips:

1. Remove Seeds and Peels: Always remove seeds, peels, pits, and rinds from fruits before giving them to your dog, as these parts can be harmful.

2. Moderation is Key: Offer fruit in small quantities. The high sugar content in fruits can lead to diabetes and other health issues if consumed in large amounts.

Boiled Potatoes for Dogs

Dogs can have difficulty digesting red and brown potatoes, but sweet potatoes are a great alternative and can be prepared in various ways. Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A and fiber, which help combat obesity and support overall health.

Ways to Prepare Sweet Potatoes:

Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Boil and mash them for a soft, easy-to-eat treat.

Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes: Slice and cook at 250°F for three hours to make chewy snacks.

Stuffed Kong Toy: Use cooked sweet potatoes to fill a Kong toy, providing both a treat and a fun activity.

Yogurt

While regular consumption of dairy is not usually recommended for dogs, many can safely enjoy small amounts of plain yogurt occasionally. However, some dogs are lactose intolerant, similar to humans.

For a special treat, you can add a small spoonful of yogurt to their regular food, which can provide digestive benefits. Opt for plain Greek or regular yogurt, or even make your own at home.

Kelp

Kelp is an excellent addition to your dog’s diet because it is rich in trace minerals. As soil quality declines and becomes mineral-deficient, alternative sources of these essential minerals are necessary. The ocean provides these vital nutrients, making kelp an outstanding choice.

Unlike land plants that absorb nutrients through their roots, kelp absorbs its nutrients through its fronds (leaves). Sea vegetables like kelp contain 10-20 times more vitamins, minerals, and amino acids compared to terrestrial plants.

Kelp is particularly high in iodine, selenium, zinc, and magnesium, which offer various health benefits:

Thyroid health

Metabolic health

Nervous system health

Digestive system health

Immune function

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a tasty and nutritious treat for dogs when given in moderation. It is packed with protein, healthy fats, niacin, vitamin B, and vitamin E. However, due to its high calorie content, too much peanut butter can lead to weight gain in dogs.

Always choose plain, unsalted peanut butter, as added salt and artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol, can be harmful to your dog.

Carrots

Carrots, whether raw or cooked, are a great snack for dogs. They are rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene, and fiber, while being low in calories, making them ideal for overweight dogs. Additionally, chewing raw carrots can help clean your dog’s teeth and improve oral health.

Cheese

Cheese is a delightful treat for many dogs, provided they are not lactose intolerant. It is high in protein and calcium, and most dogs find it irresistible. To avoid potential health issues, offer cheese in small amounts and observe your dog for any adverse reactions.

Opt for low-fat varieties like mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheese, and avoid overfeeding.

Blueberries

Blueberries are excellent for dogs due to their high content of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are low in calories and their small size makes them perfect for training treats.

You can also freeze them for a refreshing snack in warm weather. Other berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also safe for dogs, but should be given in moderation.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are another highly beneficial food for dogs, suitable for daily consumption. They are renowned for their potent natural medicinal properties and have been a staple in Chinese herbal medicine for centuries.

Some of the most beneficial mushrooms include:

Turkey Tail

Reishi

Cordyceps

Lion’s Mane

Shiitake

Chaga

Maitake

These medicinal mushrooms are rich in vitamins and nutrients such as beta glucans, flavonoids, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and antioxidants. They are particularly known for enhancing the immune system, supporting digestive health, and providing anti-cancer benefits.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods are a fantastic source of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and offer a broader variety of these bacteria than most supplements. They are highly effective in supporting immune functions and detoxifying the bowel by binding to heavy metals and chemicals. They can also help heal conditions like leaky gut and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The fermentation process enhances the nutritional content of foods, producing:

Vitamin C

Vitamin K2

B vitamins

Acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter)

Choline (which balances and nourishes the blood)

Enzymes (that support digestion and metabolic activity)

Lactic Acid (which helps repress cancer cells)

Some excellent fermented food options for your dog include:

Kefir

Fermented vegetables

Fermented fish stock

Fermented fish sauce

Kombucha

To introduce fermented foods to your dog’s diet, gradually work up to 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight per day.

Stay Aware and Keep Your Pet Safe

Despite our best efforts to pet-proof our homes, pets can still encounter poisonous substances. If your pet ingests something toxic, such as chocolate or a poisonous plant, contact your veterinarian immediately.

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