Just like humans, dogs need food to survive. Thanks to commercially sold dog food, you do not have to look too far or work too hard to get something for your furry friend. But is commercially sold dog food nutritious enough for your dog? Yes, these foods have the needed nutritional balance to keep your pet healthy. However, you can also make home-based food for your dog that is just as healthy.
What about supplements? Do dogs need supplements in their diet? Well, yes. Turns out supplements can help to boost your dog’s health. They can also help manage health issues that dogs face, such as joint pains, coat issues, weight loss, gastrointestinal problems, inflammation, and cognitive disorders.
Healthy Food for Dogs
While many people foods are safe for dogs, they should generally only eat in them moderation.
Human foods that are safe for dogs include:
Cooked, plain white rice can be a good option for a dog with an upset stomach, as it is easy to digest and helps bind stool.
White rice can cause blood sugar levels to rise, however, so dogs with diabetes should only eat it in small amounts.
Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and plain yogurt, are safe for dogs to have in very small quantities.
Eating too much dairy can cause digestive problems. This is because dogs have low levels of lactase, a digestive enzyme that breaks down the sugars in milk.
Dogs with lactose intolerance should not eat dairy products. Signs of lactose intolerances include diarrhea or vomiting after consuming anything that contains dairy.
Salmon, shrimp, and tuna are all safe for dogs to eat and good sources of protein.
Salmon and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help keep a dog’s immune system, coat, and skin healthy.
The B vitamins in shrimp can also help maintain a dog’s digestive system and promote healthy blood circulation.
It is important to cook fish before feeding it to a dog, as uncooked fish can contain harmful parasites.
Plain, boiled chicken with no seasoning is a good option when a dog has an upset stomach.
Plain popcorn, without salt, butter, or sugar, can be a nutritional treat for dogs.
Popcorn contains minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, which are all important for keeping dogs healthy.
Make sure dogs do not eat any unpopped popcorn kernels, as this could cause them to choke.
Unseasoned, cooked pork is safe for dogs to eat.
However, they should only consume small portions of pork, as the high fat content is hard for dogs to digest, and it can cause inflammation and pancreatitis.
Refrain from feeding dogs bacon or processed ham, due to the high salt contents.
Cooked turkey is safe for dogs to eat, but it should be plain and unseasoned. Many commercial dog foods contain turkey, as it is a good source of protein.
Before giving cooked turkey to a dog, remove the fat first. Too much fat can cause pancreas issues in dogs.
Dogs can eat bananas in moderation. They are full of magnesium, which is important for good bone health.
Due to their high sugar content, bananas should only be an occasional treat for dogs.
These foods will help keep your dog healthy and jumpy.
What about Supplements?
Supplements can contribute positively to your dog’s overall health. However, there is very little research to prove that supplements actually work in dogs. That is why pet owners are advised to take the whole “supplements for dogs” rage with a pinch of salt. As much as it may sound brilliant and perhaps too common, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a few things first;
- Talk to your dog’s veterinarian first before administering any supplement. Different dogs have different needs and excessive amounts of certain vitamins and supplements can hurt your dog. Too much calcium for example may trouble your dog’s skeletal tissues. If your dog is on other medications, supplements may interact harmfully with them.
- Go for supplements from brands that specialize in a certain area or have licensed clinical studies of their supplements and vitamins.
- Brands that emphasize quality control are a good choice. Check if they have a lot number.
That said, here are some proven supplements that can greatly benefit your dog.
Glucosamine is found naturally in cartilage and provides support for joints and bones. The right amount of this supplement can help repair and strengthen your dog’s joints and bones. It is also given to dogs with osteoarthritis to help alleviate the pain in joints. It’s not yet proven whether this supplement works on all dogs.
Turmeric for Dogs
There is a chance that you already have turmeric spice in your kitchen cabinet. Did you know that this spice is healthy for your dog? Well, not necessarily your cooking spice, but there is a Turmeric for dogs supplement that has curcumin which is a compound that helps to reduce inflammation. Turmeric is also known to reduce itchiness in the dog’s skin.
We all know how incredible vitamin C can be in boosting your immunity. Turns out it’s also a powerful antioxidant with tons of health benefits for your dog. Vitamin C can help aging dogs with memory problems.
This one works in a similar way as the glucosamine supplement. It’s known to improve joint health in dogs and prevent inflammation. You can also give it to your dog to prevent injury and improve mobility.
Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil supplements are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These help to improve your animal’s fur quality. It also helps to reduce the itchiness in your dog’s skin – finally something to stop the incessant paw-stabbing.
Human Foods That Are Dangerous for Your Dog
While we consider dogs to be members of our family, feeding them the same food we eat can cause injury to them. Dogs are not used to eating the oily, fatty foods that we do, and they can get diarrhea and upset stomachs from them. It’s important to know what foods are toxic to dogs and avoid them.
Chocolate and Caffeine
It’s a pretty well-known fact that chocolate is harmful to dogs. Unlike their feline friends, most dogs don’t have an “off” button when it comes to finding food. The amount and type of chocolate your dog consumes determines the symptoms and toxicity level he will experience. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, muscle tremors, irregular heartbeat, high body temperature, seizures and death. The darker the chocolate is (for instance, baker’s chocolate or cocoa powder), the more dangerous it is to your puppy. They contain a higher concentration of caffeine and theobromine, both of which cause toxicosis in dogs. Keep your dog away from caffeinated beverages as well. Learn more about the dangers of your dog consuming chocolate here.
Grapes and Raisins
While grapes and raisins are not harmful to some dogs, they have been associated with kidney failure in others. Simply put, it’s not worth the risk to find out! Vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea can occur within 12 hours of ingestion. If the symptoms are not treated, they can lead to dehydration, decreased appetite and increased urination followed by decreased urination. If your dog has consumed grapes or raisins and these signs occur, take her to a vet immediately. Your dog can develop long-term kidney disease or even die from kidney failure within three to four days.
Alcohol and Raw Bread Dough
Small amounts of alcohol found in drinks, syrups and raw bread dough can be poisonous to dogs. These products contain ethanol, and beer also contains hops, both of which can cause alcohol intoxication. Signs of intoxication include vomiting, disorientation, high body temperature, restlessness, excessive panting, muscle tremors and seizures. Dogs who show signs of alcohol intoxication should be monitored by a vet until they recover, as it can cause failure of the organ systems and even death. The yeast in raw bread dough can also cause stomach expansion, which can result in tissue damage and difficulty breathing.
Onions and Garlic
Anything in the onion family–from garlic to shallots to scallions to chives–is toxic to dogs. They contain compounds that can cause gastroenteritis, anemia and serious damage to the red blood cells. Garlic is considered to be five times as potent as onions. Signs of onion or garlic poisoning often do not appear for several days after ingestion, but include lethargy, weakness and orange- to dark red-tinged urine. Japanese breeds of dogs such as Akitas and Shiba Inus tend to be more sensitive to garlic and onions.
Other Foods Harmful to Dogs
Dairy products can upset your dog’s digestive system and cause diarrhea as well as food allergies. Ingestion of just a few macadamia nuts can cause weakness, paralysis and lack of coordination. Avocados contain persin, which can cause mild stomach upset in dogs. The bones in meat, chicken and fish can also be very hazardous to your dog. They can splinter and stick in the throat, break teeth or cut the intestines.
If you are unsure if you can feed a food to your dog, always consult your veterinarian first. As a general rule of thumb it is best to avoid feeding your dog human food anyways. While it can be hard to ignore those puppy dog eyes looking at you at the dinner table, feeding your dog can often result in weight gain among other more serious issues. To keep your dog out of harm’s way, it is best to stick to a diet of food specifically formulated to meet your dog’s nutritional needs.
Dogs need healthy food to keep them going and healthy. As it has been said before, a happy dog makes a happy owner. However, when it comes to supplementing their diet, there is a lot you can do to help your canine friend. Many brands sell dog supplements that you can easily buy. Make sure you consult your dog’s pet before you administer any supplement to keep everyone healthy and happy.
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