Why spend a ton of money on treats for your dog when there are plenty of "people" foods that are good for dogs? Keep in mind while reading this list that these foods should be fed sparingly to your pooch and should not replace your dog's normal kibble. If you want to save some money and give your dog something that you know isn't loaded with artificial ingredients, then try out these 15 "people" foods that are good for dogs!
1. Peanut Butter
Most of you know that peanut butter is one of the well known "people" foods that are good for dogs. Plus, because dogs seem to love peanut butter so much, it can be used to hide yucky medicine! Keep in mind that it's healthier for your pup (and you) to eat natural, unprocessed peanut butter without added salt, sugar and preservatives. Also know that not all nuts are created equal when it comes to your dog, and macadamia nuts (or peanut butter containing them) should NOT be fed to them as they have a poisonous effect.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great, cost-efficient and nutritious chew toy/treat that you can share with your dogs. Sweet potatoes have fiber, vitamins, and carotenoids that are all great for both you and your dog to eat. Don't give them to your pup raw but instead serve them in a dog bowl cooked, mashed or even dehydrated! Also, this should be a given but make sure not to add any salt or butter!
Yogurt is packed with probiotics, vitamins, protein, calcium, riboflavin, zinc and potassium that makes it a healthy treat for both you and your dog. Frozen yogurt can also be a great summer treat for your pup to keep them feeling cool on a hot day! Keep in mind that, once again, you should avoid yogurts that are full of sugar, preservatives, and other additives. Plain yogurt flavors would be best.
Another great summer treat for dogs (and humans) is watermelon. Other melons are good for dogs to eat too, but to be safe, stick to fruit-salad basics like watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe instead of anything exotic that you might find. You can also freeze bits of watermelon to have a great licking treat for your dog to enjoy on hot summer days!
My dogs LOVE cheese. As long as your pup isn’t lactose intolerant (which only a small percentage are), it is fine for your dog to have cheese. If you're not sure if your dog is lactose intolerant, give them a small amount of cheese and monitor your dog’s reaction. Opt for low or reduced fat varieties and don’t overfeed, as many cheeses can be high in fat. Cottage cheese is typically a good choice.
Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny, as well as supporting your dog’s immune system. You can either feed your dog cooked salmon (not raw), add salmon oil to their food bowl, or even slip them some of your unwanted fish skins. Just make sure there are no bones in the meat before handing it off to your dog.
Don't know what to do with your pumpkins after Halloween? Give some to your dog! Pumpkins are a good source of fiber and beta carotene (a source of vitamin A). It can also help keep your dog's digestive tract moving and can aid with digestive issues. Both seeds and fresh raw pumpkin flesh are safe for your dog to eat. Actually, an easy way to have some handy dog treats around that will last 3-4 weeks is roasting plain pumpkin seeds in the oven!
8. Lean Meat
Yes, of course meat is good for your dog to eat as a treat, but make sure it is lean! Chicken or beef with no visible fat and no added sauces or seasonings can add a bit of good-quality extra protein to your dog’s diet. Lean meat is also an excellent source of amino acids and B vitamins. Some people believe dogs can eat meat rare but it is much safer (and healthier) to cook the meat before giving to your dog!
Most all veggies are safe for dogs, but carrots are wonderful for your little pup ( or big pup)! Carrots are rich in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which are great for their heart, skin and coat. Carrots are also a natural source of healthy carbohydrates to give them energy, and they prevent and treat inflammation. Carrots have natural sources of soluble and insoluble fiber as well, which keeps their GI tract healthy. My little Yorkie loves to snack on carrots and these are always one of her favorite treats!
Did you know your dog loves bananas? It's true! Our dog loves plain banana slices, but she especially likes them with peanut butter. Try mashing some peanut butter, bananas and yogurt ( natural and without any additives or sugars) together and see if they don't just gobble it up! You can also make homemade dog treats with just a cup of bananas purreed with a 2 cups of peanut butter. Bake for 10 minutes in cookie shapes, and you've got healthy dog treats.
Your dog needs leafy greens just as much as you do. While I don't think you should probably try and feed your dog a salad, try one of my tips. I sauté some chicken or salmon with steamed greens like kale, collards or spinach, and then blend it in the mini food processor for a second to make it easier for her to eat. Sometimes I add in a sweet potato too. She gobbles it up in just minutes and the greens are so good for her. Greens are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and promote brain health. They are also excellent for a dog's coat, weight and heart.
My dog's favorite snack is popcorn! I don't buy those unhealthy kinds, but instead, buy just the natural organic kind, and pop it with coconut oil. She loves it, and it is so healthy for her too. Since popcorn is a gluten-free source of healthy whole grains, it makes a perfect snack, as long as you don't buy those kinds with additive fillers and preservatives. Also watch the sodium levels. That's not good for yours or your dog's blood pressure!
Dogs LOVE bread. My dog's morning treat is a piece of sprouted grain bread. She follows me around all morning until I give it to her. Grains, (preferably gluten-free) are great for dogs. It helps manage their weight, and unless they have a digestive issue preventing them from eating grains, gluten-free grains are a great source of nutrients in their diet. Just please don't feed your dog white sandwich bread. The refined stuff doesn't count here.
Oats are awesome for you and for your dog. I love making homemade dog cookies with oats, bananas and peanut butter. Just take a cup of each, mix it up and bake for 15 minutes on 350. So easy and your dog will just love these healthy treats! Oats are rich in B vitamins, healthy fiber, minerals, vitamins and are low in fat. Oats are excellent for dogs, and I always buy the rolled, gluten-free kind. Dogs seem to like the chewier texture better.
15. Coconut Oil
I saved my favorite "people" food for last. My dogs are nuts over coconut oil. If I open a jar, they come running from the other side of the house because they smell it. In fact, I use coconut oil as a body moisturizer, and my dog is waiting for me when I get out of the shower hoping I'll give her some. Why? Because coconut oil is rich in healthy fats that nourish the brain. Coconut oil is also healing to the gut, increases energy, fights harmful microbes, cleanses the liver, and dogs just love the taste! Plus, coconut oil will keep your puppy happier due to those brain-boosting fats, and make their coat shine. I buy unrefined, cold-processed organic coconut oil for the best nutrition. I can get a 54 ounce tub online for $16 at vitacost.com, and it lasts for about 4 months. Invest in coconut oil for your's and your dog's health and beauty routine!
These are just a few of the "people" foods that you can toss your dog’s way. There are many others that are safe to give your dog as well. Just make sure that before giving your dog any type of new "people" foods, you check online to make sure they are not toxic to dogs. Some toxic foods include: chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, yeast dough, artificial sweeteners, macadamia nuts, avocados, alcohol, or coffee. What is your dog's favorite "people" food?