A DogGeek.com exclusive by Teresa Barker
There are many whole foods in your pantry that are safe to share with your dog once in awhile. As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid feeding your dog table scraps, processed foods, and most food not in its original whole state. But treating with whole, nutritious foods straight from your kitchen can be fun, inexpensive and safe when you follow these guidelines.
- Peanut Butter instead of Chocolate.
Chocolate is the most commonly known toxic food for dogs. Large quantities of theobromine (a substance found in chocolate) can be lethal to dogs. Don’t let your dog lick the bowl from your late night chocolate ice cream snack, instead, share a small spoonful of peanut butter for a rich and nutritious alternative.
- Apple slices instead of Grapes.
Grapes (and their shriveled up cousins, raisins) seem like the perfect snack to ‘toss’ to your dog when eating them. But they both contain a toxin that builds up in your dog’s system, and over time, with just a few here and there, can lead to kidney failure. Instead, cut up apple slices into little pieces and try tossing a few to your dog. Apples are a crunchy treat full of protective plant chemicals and have a sweet taste.
- Carrots instead of Onions.
Onions, like grapes/raisins, also contain the kind of toxins that can build up in a dog’s system over time, leading to conditions such as anemia. For a savory substitution, try baby carrots. My dogs go nuts for a carrot stick, and they love to crunch them and hold them between their paws!
- Sweet Potatoes instead of Candy and Xylitol sweetener.
Candy and artificially sweetened diet products containing xylitol can be especially harmful to your dog, leading to seizures, loss of coordination and eventually death. Substitute sweet potatoes that are so delicious and easy to prepare by simply roasting them in the oven. Clean them well and leave the skin on and just let them cook. Mash them up for a delicious addition to your dog’s food.
- Kale instead of Rhubarb leaves.
Rhubarb leaves contain oxalate, which is another highly dangerous plant property for dogs. If eaten, your dog will have extreme gastrointestinal as well as neurological symptoms. Make sure not to allow your dog to be near the garden if you are growing rhubarb at home, and never feed it to him. Kale on the other hand is a fantastic leafy green to feed your dog. It’s low in calories and packed with nutrients and has detoxifying properties. If your dog snubs the leafy texture, try making kale chips that you both can snack on!
Sharing healthy nutritious whole foods with your dog can be a nice way to show your love. Using low calorie, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, you also keep them trim! Start with small amounts, and if your dog gets gassy or has loose stools, cut back on the fresh snacks.
Obviously, if your dog gets into any kind of toxic plant or food, call your vet immediately.