While some of the foods we eat are not safe for our dogs (such as chocolate, grapes, and onions), there are plenty of foods that can be used as healthy treats. The ones listed below are generally safe for dogs to consume. However, existing health problems, food allergies, and dietary problems can play a factor in whether or not a food is safe for your dog. If you have specific concerns, it is always best to consult your vet and to always monitor your dog for signs of discomfort after trying a new treat. Many of the tasty treats below have health benefits such as protein and vitamins to keep your dog happy and healthy. <
This is one of the most entertaining treats a dog can have. Humans love it as much as dogs do, since we can watch them try to get the peanut butter residue off the roof of their mouths. This is also a good source of protein, as well as a source of vitamins B and E. Unsalted peanut butter is the healthiest choice, and you should read the ingredients before offering your dog a spoonful. If xylitol is listed, put it back on the shelf! This common sweetener can be found in many different products and produces a severe reaction in dogs that can be fatal.
If you glance at the ingredients in many commercial dog foods, it is no surprise that different types of meat are present. From lamb to chicken to salmon, there is a flavor for even the pickiest of dogs. If you are looking for a healthy addition to your dog’s usual diet, many people add some sort of meat and do not realize that some meats are better than others. Cooked chicken is great, as long as it is boneless and skinless. Any type of raw meat can lead to food poisoning or contain other parasites that will cause harm to a dog’s stomach. The bones in chicken are brittle and can splinter if chewed on, becoming lodged in the throat. Lean ground beef, lamb, turkey, and venison are all options for dogs, as long as these have been thoroughly cooked and all of the skin and bones have been removed!
Since chicken is good for dogs, it should be no surprise that eggs are too! Eggs are easily digestible and can be used to help ease an upset stomach. This excellent source of protein also provides riboflavin, a B vitamin that aids in the functions of the skin and blood cells and in creating the lining of the digestive tract.
High in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is one of the best types of fish to feed your dog. (Sardines and tuna are also dog-safe options.) Dogs with dull coats will especially enjoy the benefits of salmon as it promotes healthier fur and skin. Salmon should always be completely cooked and free of bones.
We all know that carrots are healthy for humans, but it is good to know that our dogs can receive some of the same benefits from carrots that we do. Low in calories and high in fiber, carrots are filling without packing on the pounds. They are an excellent source of vitamin A. Chewing on carrots (while being monitored) can provide teething relief for puppies and works like a digestible chew toy for dogs of all ages. Make sure pieces do not become small enough to choke on.
Cucumbers have little to no calories or fat content and are great for boosting energy levels. Full of vitamins C and K, they are also an excellent source of nutrients. Dogs who require more biotin or potassium in their diets can benefit from a few pieces of cucumber that have been washed and peeled.
With almost no calories, celery can be a healthy treat for even overweight dogs. This veggie can freshen your dog’s breath, and is a source of vitamins A and C. This treat is low in cholesterol and contains vitamins A and C. Always be careful of giving your dog too small of pieces as they can be a choking hazard, as can the leaves which should be removed. Too much celery can cause a dog to urinate more often than usual, so it should be given as a snack, which should only make up ten percent of a dog’s diet.
Sweet potatoes are a healthy treat for dogs, full of fiber and vitamins B-6 and C. They should only be given after being washed, cooked, and peeled. After cooling, these sweet treats can be mashed into kibble to spice up an evening meal or used in chunks as rewards during training.
Fiber and vitamin A can also be found in apples. This fruit is a source of vitamin C and can help with cleaning your dog’s teeth. Apple seeds must be removed as they contain cyanide and can be a choking hazard for dogs. Given in slices, apples can be eaten peeled or with the skin on as a sweet treat.
While these berries may be tiny, they are full of nutrients that our dogs need to stay healthy. Antioxidants in blueberries remove oxidants that can cause cell damage and major health problems. Since they are bite-sized, blueberries can even be used as a training treat!
Unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut oil, and coconut milk can all be healthy supplements to a dog’s diet. Coconut aids with skin and coat health and can be given to dogs with itchy, dry skin for relief. Start in small doses and work up to 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight or 1 tablespoon per 30 pounds of body weight a day.
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By Callie T.