Last week’s Paw Prints received many responses from caregivers who honestly did not realize that some of the people-food-treats they were giving their dogs could cause harm to them… various forbidden people food for dogs include chocolate coffee, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, apricots, cherries, peaches plums, avocados, macadamia nuts, yeast dough, grapes, raisins, onions and any things containing xylitol, the natural sweetness that is found in chewing gum, baked goods, and some toothpaste. It can also be purchased as a sugar substitute to bake with or sweeten beverages. It is not harmful to humans, but it is toxic for dogs, and it is becoming increasingly popular in more foods.

Now for some good news: there are many favorite people foods that are dog friendly… in fact, some offer health benefits (to both two-legged and four-legged). These are just a few that we serve regularly to our TLC residents.

  • Carrots are one of the very favorite treats at the TLC is raw baby carrots. Carrots are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene, and most dogs like them. (If your dog is unsure, rub a bit of peanut butter on them J) Missy, one of TLC older residents even does a little dance when she hears the rattle of the bag of carrots…
  • Sweet potatoes are a source of fiber and Vitamin C, and are great sliced and dehydrated as a chewy treat…easy to make and much healthier than most commercial treats.
  • Lean meat, especially chicken, given in moderation, can be added to almost anything to make it tasty for dogs… just avoid fatty meats with added sauces or seasonings.
  • Peanut butter contains heart healthy fats, along with vitamin B, niacin and vitamin E, and I have yet to meet a dog who didn’t like the taste of peanut butter… this favorite people-food has always been considered a safe treat, but there some new brands of peanut butter and other nut butter spreads that dog owners need to be aware of because they may contain the ingredient xylitol. Be sure that your peanut butter isn’t sweetened with xylitol if you plan to share it with your dog.
  • Yogurt is another favorite with TLC dogs. It is high in calcium and protein, and yogurts with active bacteria can act as a probiotic and are good for your dog’s digestive system. Just choose only yogurts that do not contain artificial sweeteners or added sugars.
  • Apples and pears cut into bite-size pieces help to clean residue off a dog’s teeth, and are a good source of fiber as well as vitamin A and C, and are enjoyed by SOME dogs…However do NOT feed the core…seeds can be toxic. Blueberries, and strawberries are also safe, healthy treats.
  • Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, which can be especially beneficial to dogs with bowel irregularity issues. It is also a great alternative grain for dogs allergic to wheat. Just cook it well and do not add any sugar or flavor additives.
  • Cheese is a great treat of any dogs that are not lactose intolerant. Opt for low or reduced fat varieties and don’t overfeed. Cottage cheese is always a good choice.
  • Rice is great for any dog, especially if there are stomach troubles. We usually flavor the rice with low fat, salt free broth for a little added flavor!
  • Pumpkin is a good source of fiber as well as beta-carotene/vitamin A. It can help keep the GI tract moving and can aid with digestive issues.
  • Scrambling up an egg for your pooch is another great way to give a protein boost… Eggs are a source of easily digestible riboflavin and selenium, making them a healthy snack.

Good nutrition may result in extending your dog’s life, and although the people food suggestions are not meant to replace your dog’s normal, balanced died, they offer alternatives to add a little variety to your dog’s meals.