10 Healthy Human Foods for Dogs
Several human foods can be beneficial to dogs and contain a rich number of antioxidants and nutrients that can effectively supplement their diet. There are even recipes and dog food brands that make food that’s perfectly edible for humans. Dogs can benefit from all types of meats and fish as well as fruits, vegetables, and other snacks found in a human diet. So, if your dog is begging for some of your potatoes or blueberries next time, don’t feel bad about giving in to those puppy eyes—they’re just telling you how healthy the food is for them!
- Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is filled with a host of vitamins including E, which supports the immune system, and B, which supports skin and coat. There are also specific proteins and fats found in peanut butter that accompany growth and energy. As long as your dog is given peanut butter in moderation, as is the best practice for most foods, it’s a very nutritious and beneficial snack, and of course they love the taste. Plus, it keeps them busy if you give them an almost empty jar to lick or fill a Kong toy with peanut butter and other healthy treats, it becomes both mental stimulation and provides the body with nutrients.
*One thing to be cautious about when choosing a peanut butter for your dog is to avoid any brands that include the ingredient Xylitol. This is a sugar replacement that is dangerous to dogs.
Carrots are high in fiber, which is a known assistant for regular stool. They also contain a large amount of Vitamin A, which contributes to immune system support and coat. They are low in fat and calories so they won’t contribute to any unwanted weight gain, but as with anything else moderation should be taken into account. Another possible benefit of carrots is that if you give your dog one to chew on, as they would with a bone, it could help maintain their dental and plaque as the chewing and scraping is similar to brushing the teeth.
Eggs contain amino acids that contribute to protein production. They also contain calcium and biotin with a host of other health benefits. It’s best to buy organic when possible due to additives in non-organic eggs like coloring or other chemicals. If the eggs are organic you can even feed your dog the eggshells to contribute to their dental and bone health. And as with most other human foods, eggs should only be a complement to your dog’s routine, not a staple of their meals, and they should be eaten in moderation to provide their full health source.
- Green Vegetables
Green vegetables like green beans, broccoli, and peas are an excellent healthy snack for your dog, especially if weight gain is a concern. Veggies should only ever be served to your dog plain and should not include any spices, seasonings, or onions. They can be eaten raw or cooked and are packed with nutrients and vitamins like vitamin A, K, and C, which contribute to immune support, iron, and magnesium.
Pumpkin is a superfood with ample amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Pumpkin is also a great regulator of digestion, due in part to the fiber it contains, and it’s usually recommended to pets who are temporarily having instances of diarrhea. It also aids the urinary tract. Any part of the pumpkin can be fed to a dog from the insides to the seeds as long as there are no spices or additives. Many dogs also think it has a very yummy flavor and will see this nutritious snack as a great treat!
Lauric acid is found in coconut, which is an easily digested fatty acid with tons of health benefits. There are also many antioxidants in coconut, which assist the immune system. It even improves hydration due to levels of electrolytes. Your dog will be very pleased with their delicious beneficial coconut treat! They can consume the meat of the coconut, water, or oil—in moderation of course. Coconut oil can also be directly rubbed into the skin or coat and may improve coat quality.
Blueberries contain loads of antioxidants and enzymes that contribute to a dog’s wellbeing. They are also packed with Vitamin C, which helps maintain the immune system. They should not be fed in excess due to the fair amount of natural sugar in berries, but they are a delicious and nutritious supplementary treat!
Both sweet potatoes and potatoes are safe and healthy for dogs to consume. There should never be any seasoning on human foods fed to dogs, and with potatoes they should not be consumed raw, but rather boiled or baked. They are full of vitamins and minerals that contribute to immune system upkeep and coat. They also contain potassium, which is important for cell health. Potatoes should be fed to your dog in moderation to obtain all the great benefits from this delicious vegetable.
Salmon, as well as fish oil and other cold-water fish, provides an ample source of Omega-3 fatty acids. This is also a great protein, and many high-end dog foods will include salmon as an ingredient. It can be used as a protein substitute for chicken or other meat if desired, especially for those dogs who are allergic to other types of meat. As with all other human food, salmon intake should be monitored and limited, only small portions are necessary for the health benefits offered.
*A few cautions regarding salmon: It should never be eaten raw. It should only be served plain. The salmon should never include any bones. Ensure the quality of the fish since poor quality salmon could contain parasites that are extremely harmful to a dog’s system.
Rice is a complex carbohydrate that is safe for dogs to consume regularly if it fits in with their diet, which is why many dog food brands incorporate rice into the blend. Rice is beneficial in alleviating temporary upset stomachs and aiding in digestion. It contains iron, enzymes, and vitamins that are beneficial to dogs. As always, ensure the proper quantities are being fed, and with rice particularly make sure your dog obtains plenty of water.
These are just several of some of the most beneficial human foods that are safe and healthy for your dog to consume. Always be sure to do your proper research and consult with your vet if you have any concerns about what types of food are safe or valuable to implement into your dog’s diet. Every dog enjoys a nice human food treat every now and then, so next time they’re drooling over your broccoli (that’s my dog’s favorite) you can feel free to give them some tasty and beneficial snacks!
Shay Siegel is a young adult author, freelance writer, and editor from Long Island, NY. She has a BA from Tulane University and an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Always a lover of animals, Shay had several cats growing up. She's now a dog mom to the snuggliest rescue pit bull, Bernie. She enjoys writing on a variety of topics and sharing her love and knowledge of animals with others!