People have been feeding food scraps to dogs for a long time, only 60 years ago, most people were feeding their dogs’ cooked food, scraps, or canned red meat, before the commercial pet food industry gained popularity in the 60’s, thanks to a popular marketing strategy that convinced people to get food scraps out of their dog’s bowl. This led to commercial pet food becoming, to date, the major component of every dog’s diet. But is it the healthiest diet for them? How can we give them better nutrition by adding human food to their diets?
Most dog owners, adopted commercial pet food as their dog’s only diet, because let’s face it, is cheap, fast, and easier to feed. We put the food in the bowl, and we trust it to give our pets everything they need regarding nutrients, vitamins, healthy fats, and protein. However, we have to watch out for what that food is composed of, since these factories work with genetically modified grains, which can be contaminated with every type of pesticide, fungicide, and larvicide, revealing the importance of fresh, organic plant matter to help detox the body. Many studies reveal that home cooking and raw feeding dogs have many health benefits, and enhance the quality of their diets significantly, because after all, dogs are omnivorous creatures, meaning they can feed off meat, plants, and grain-based products. They need nutrition properties from every group in their daily diets.
So, if your dog has only been feeding off commercial pet food, when starting to incorporate human food in their diets, go slow at first, and this is very important because the doggie digestive system takes time to adapt to diet changes, and doesn’t do well with a sudden switch from plain kibble to lots of human food. So start by feeding you dog small bites of plain lean meat and veggies, without any seasoning or salt in them (salt, condiments, and saturated fats is what would cause a bad reaction in their digestive system), and remember to never give them scraps of food that you wouldn’t eat, like pizza borders for example, because the junk food that is bad for humans is also bad for dogs, containing empty carbohydrates, saturated fats, and artificial additives, that we want definitely keep out of their diets.
The best foods we can give our dogs are sources of protein, such as egg whites, lean cooked meat, such as chicken, beef and pork (watch out for small bones!), sardines, which contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, low fat or non-fat plain yogurt, which contains probiotics that help our dogs digestive systems (stick to low fat plain yogurt to avoid added sugars), fruits like blueberries (loaded with antioxidants), apple and bananas, and leafy green vegetables, preferably cooked, with exceptions of carrot and zucchini, who are better to feed raw, maximizing the absorption of nutrients and minerals.
When switching to human food, the best dog training treats we can use are cooked chicken, baby carrots, small pieces of cheese, peanut butter, pumpkin, and frozen peas, all tasty and healthy options to add nutritional value and quality to our dogs’ diet.