Human Foods that are OK for Your Dog
A well-rounded, nutritious diet supports your dog's eyes, skin, coat, weight, and even their joints!
The Best Dog Diet By Age and Size
What and how you feed an 8-week old puppy will be different from what and how you will feed your adult or geriatric dog.
- Puppies: Puppies grow fast and have loads of energy, so they require an extra feeding to keep their bodies fueled throughout the entire day. They should be fed three times per day until they reach 1-year old. Then they only need to be fed twice per day.
- Adult Dogs: Some owners only feed their dog once a day, but I feel it's healthier to feed your dog twice daily with smaller portions equaling what you would normally give them once daily.
- Senior Dogs: Depending on the size of your dog, they will begin their "Senior" years between the ages of six and eight. Once they hit this age, you might need to consider a special diet for your elderly dog. Diet mixes specifically tailored toward healthy skin, flexible joints, or weight control might be the way to go for older dogs.
- Large Breeds: Large-breed formulas can help prevent joint and bone issues, but look for brands that are made specifically for larger dogs.
- Small Breeds: Small breeds are more receptive to hyperglycemia. Increased feedings with decreased portions throughout the day will help keep their sugar levels from dipping dangerously low.
Signs Your Dog Food Is High Quality Stuff
Be sure to read the labels on the packaging of your dog's food. Their diet should be Grain Free and GMO Free. Look for a "Meets AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) Standards" label.
Higher quality of food means better nutrition and better quality also means less pooping throughout the day. It's not the prettiest subject, but you should consider your dog's stools when thinking about the right food. Loose stools or diarrhea may be a sign that their food isn't agreeing with their body. Firm stools, on the other hand, are signs of a healthy diet as they ease digestion and are especially encouraged for puppies, as they're helpful during potty-training.
Is Canned or Dry Dog Food Better?
Personally, I feel that optimal canine health is achieved with raw or fresh food rather than dry kibble, but as many families have been experiencing some difficult times in recent years, the convenience and cost of dry kibble is tough for many to pass up. Despite this, please understand that our pets' diets affect every aspect of their health and that kibble, purely from a wellness perspective, is probably not the best way to go. However, if you do choose dry kibble, it's important to spend time researching and learning about the various brands and varieties. I've offered a few of my top choices here to help assist you in this process.
Canned food does have higher water content than kibble, so it naturally keeps them better hydrated. Just make sure to stick with the same brand of dry or canned if you're sticking with brand food. Frequent brand switching can upset your dog's tummy.
Is Brand Food Regulated?
Unfortunately, at this time there is no legal regulation by the Food and Drug Administration. However, AAFCO is a non-profit organization that helps set standards for the quality of the brand foods that we feed our pets. So if the brand food meets the AAFCO standards, it should be a great brand to consider for your fur kid.
Considering Human Food
More and more people are opting to cook for their dogs rather than using prepackaged food. If you are one of us, here are some important things to consider:
Safe Human Food for Your Dog
- Protein*: Beef, Chicken, Venison, Buffalo, Fish, Lamb, Duck, Peanut Butter, Cheese (make sure they don’t experience lactose intolerance), Eggs, Yogurt
- Grains: Rice, Oatmeal
- Fruit: Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew (avoid exotic melons), Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Bananas, Apple Slices (WASH fruit that is served with skin), Orange Slices (NO SKIN)
- Vegetable: Carrots, Green Beans, Broccoli (small amounts), Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Spinach, Zucchini
*Handling raw meat should be done using safety precautions to avoid contamination or illness
Dangerous Human Food for Your Dog
- Cooked Bones
- Onions, Garlic, White and Red Potatoes (especially the skin)
- Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts (Avoid most nuts. The oils can be very dangerous to your pets)
- Herbs, Seasonings, Oils
- Yeast (Raw Bread Dough)
- Grapes, Avocados, Raisins, Apple Cores/Seeds, Pits (from peaches, plums, apricots)
- Coffee, Soda (Caffeine), Alcohol
- Chocolate and other Sweets and Treats
CAUTION: Never feed your pets scraps from the table while you are eating or from the counter while you are cooking. If you decide to give them human food, include it as part of a meal, not just as a freebie from the table. Otherwise, you're teaching your pets to beg at the table and to counter-surf (searching and stealing food by putting their paws up on the table or counters or jumping up on the table or counters). These are unwanted behaviors that can be difficult to correct once established.
I hope you enjoy giving your dog the best quality food possible. Just remember - as long as they look and feel good is what truly matters!
Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005