Dear Katie…human food for dogs, what can I give?
I want to add in extras to my dog’s bowl, but I am not sure what I could give – or whether my dog even needs it. I see lots of great bowls from other raw feeders and feel I am not doing enough.
Human food for dogs is a big debate, but it’s a wonderful way to provide enrichment and variety. That being said, don’t feel forced to create these amazing feasts you may see on social media – every so often is fine. My own dogs just get extras popped on top, and they haven’t complained about the presentation yet!
Suitable human food for dogs
Regardless of what you feed, raw, cooked, wet or dry, you can add in some great ingredients to boost your pooch’s meals. It’s especially handy if you have bits that are close to their use by dates and you need to make use of them quickly.
Eggs – A wonderful addition to canine diets. Being a complete protein, eggs are an excellent novel protein pick, rich in essential amino and fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Splitting the egg and feeding the white and yolk separately isn’t the best way forward. The white contains protein enzyme inhibitors that, if fed uncooked in large quantities, can affect digestion. The whites also contain avidin, which stops the absorption of biotin, an essential B vitamin. Feeding the egg whole will counteract this, as the yolk contains plenty of biotin (as does a well balanced diet), keeping things ticking along nicely.
Put simply, it’s wise to feed the egg in its entirety or not at all, so we’d recommend avoiding dog food that only contains one element.
Oily fish – Fish such as sardines and mackerel are perfect dog-friendly additions to your cupboard. They’re an easy means of giving your pup an extra boost of omega-3s – this is especially handy if you’re feeding a poultry-based diet, which is known to be high in omega-6s. A raft of evidence demonstrates how critical omega-3 is for maintaining great canine health, from puppyhood right through to old age.
Omegas bring wonderful benefits to a dog’s diet, helping with cognitive function and heart health as well as skin, muscle and joint health, and provide overall immune-boosting goodness.
Many dogs do not tolerate raw fish that well, so if you have a dog like this, using tinned fish is a great option. I would recommend buying in spring water and avoid the ones in brine or oil, if you can.
Vegetables – You may have heard the phrase ‘feed the rainbow’. This is true even for our dogs. Adding a variety of safe vegetables and fruit to your dog’s diet is a great way deliver phytonutrients, while the fibre helps feed the microbiome. As dogs cannot break down cellulose, I would advise that vegetables should be put through a liquidiser or food processor before feeding to make the vitamin content available. Ones to avoid are grapes, raisins, and onions; if you choose to feed garlic, you must factor in your dog’s size, as high amounts can cause problems.
Fermented vegetables can also provide wonderful probiotics, feeding the gut and boosting immune function. These are easy to prepare or, alternatively, you can feed a fermented product like kefir for gut health.
Bone broth – Is a multi-tasking wonder for pups. It cultivates a healthy gut, is super digestible, and a source of nourishing comfort for those days when they may be under the weather or just need some extra hydration. Better still, it’s chock full of the essential nutrients and minerals (like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, collagen, and gelatine) that dogs need, aiding joint support and good immune health.
Herbs – Herbal blends can provide both nutritional and therapeutic benefits, however it is essential to check that your chosen blends are canine-safe and suited to your dog’s unique needs. Hug provides a great range of herbal blends for different uses, from senior blends to mobility blends, created by Hedgerow Hounds.
Meaty bones – Bones can provide wonderful enrichment for dogs, helping to reduce stress and stimulate the mind. Better still, regular chewing can help with dental hygiene. Bones are also a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals; meaty bones such as wings can provide extra glucosamine for joint health. Do make sure the bone is suitable for your individual dog and always monitor when feeding a bone.
The right human food for dogs can be a great diet-booster. I hope this inspires some brilliant meals!