With so many commercially available brands for dog human food, the line between healthy and unhealthy is slowly fading. And most dog owners are asking the same question, can I feed my dog human food instead of dog food?
Many of these brands aim to offer dog food that is fully nutritious and healthy for your dog’s consumption. It is, therefore, common to find brands with dog food labeled ‘organic’ or ‘all-natural as they try to showcase how healthy and fresh their foods are.
However, many of these foods are heavily processed and have lost all nutritional value by the time they are served on a dog bowl. Because of this, pet owners are opting for alternative methods of providing healthy meals, the most common being sharing human food with their pups.
Is it, therefore, safe to feed your dog human food instead of dog food? Yes, in fact, it is one of the healthiest options; however, there are some factors to consider before feeding your dog human food.
Dog Human Food Diet
In the wild, all dogs scavenge for food. A dog’s natural diet is supposed to be comprised of approximately 85% meat, derived from organ meat and bones, and 15% fruits and vegetables, which comes in a partially digested form in the stomachs of the prey. This discovery was made by Dr. Ian Billinghuirst, a veterinarian from Australia and the founder of The Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet (The BARF diet).
When it comes to providing food for domesticated dogs, many companies have taken the time to come up with food supplement diets that are meant to mimic a dog’s natural diet.
In an interview with Craig Fear, Dr. Billinghurst confesses that companies have to add specific chemicals to ensure dog food has a long shelf life.
Moreover, in the process of extending the shelf life by drying the dog food, a lot of nutritional content is lost in the processing process. For this reason, Dr. Billinghurst advises that dog owners should move from processed dog food to a human food diet.
What is a Dog Human food diet?
As the name suggests, a human food diet is a doggie diet comprised of food components that both humans and dogs can eat.
For many dogs that have allergies, skin conditions, frequent gastrointestinal issues, and other health complications, a well-cooked home meal could be the solution to all their problems.
Through the provision of this diet, you can control what your dog consumes and how beneficial the meal plans are to your dog’s health.
Veterinarians quickly advise that the human food diet is the best for adequate dog health and development; however, your conventional veterinarian would be concerned about the manner of food preparation, and also, whether your dog will receive all the nutrients it requires to maintain a healthy balanced diet.
Nevertheless, these concerns can be sorted by ensuring that you are ready to search for nutritional guidance on the best home-cooked diet that could provide a balanced diet for your dog.
What can dogs eat that humans can?
From fast, raw, and cooked food, there is a wide variety of human food suited for a dog’s consumption. With proper selection and care, a person can achieve a dog’s natural diet through the careful sifting of all human food available.
Additionally, the method of preparation is one that should be considered immensely. The following is a list of ‘people food’ dogs will love and are also healthy for them:
Chicken or Turkey
Chicken or turkey meat is a great source of protein. It is one of the healthiest food options and can be fed to a dog every single day.
To guarantee it is 100% effective, ensure the chicken is lean and contains very little fats. When fed to the dog, separate the skin and bones to reduce fats consumed.
Liver, either raw or cooked
Liver is one of the most nutritious meals, especially beef liver. According to Mary Straus, the amount of liver a dog should be fed is 5% of the total dog diet.
However, ensure that it is given only once a week as too much of it can cause a Vitamin A toxicity build-up.
Most types of fish
Fish is a good source of vitamin D for dogs. Canned fish that is packed in water, and not oil, is the best. When cooking fish ensure that all bones are removed to prevent choking in dogs.
A dog can be given small amounts of fish daily, or one big chunk once or twice a week. Under no circumstances should the dog be given raw salmon, trout, or related species.
Whole cooked grains
Under this, food such as rice, wheat, oatmeal, quinoa, pasta, and couscous are fed to the dog.
However, there is a concern that they contribute to inflammation due to allergic reactions, arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease, seizures, digestive problems among other health complications, due to the presence of starch and gluten.
Nonetheless, many dogs are okay with these types of food. They should make up no more than half the diet.
Eggs, either scrambled, hardboiled, or poached
They should not be given every day as they have high calorie content. A dog can eat a raw egg but beware of salmonella and biotin deficiency.
Most of all ensure the eggs shells (grounded into powder and sprinkled onto dog food) are also fed to the dog. They are a valuable alternative for a calcium boost.
Raw or Steamed Vegetables
Carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, Brussels sprouts, among others are some of the vegetables that are good and healthy for dogs.
There are other vegetables, such as onions and garlic, which should be avoided at all costs. The vegetables should mimic nature and hence be blended or pulverized.
Beware of red and brown potatoes, they are harder for dogs to digest. Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A. The more colorful a potato, the healthier it is for the dog.
Is a good source of heart-healthy fats, Vitamin B, and E and Niacin. Consider giving the dog raw unsalted peanut butter. But, beware of commercial peanut butter as it is rich in sugars and additives, it may pose additional health risks to your dog.
Dog Human food Dairy
Dogs can have some types of dairy products such as plain and cottage cheese in moderate quantities. Milk and plain yogurt can also be given to dogs; however, many are lactose intolerant.
Additionally, ensure that the dairy products are low-fat. Always check whether your dog is lactose intolerant to avoid any digestive issues.
A dog can consume a variety of fruits, pears, apples, bananas. Watermelons among others. Nonetheless, ensure that the fruits do not make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet.
What Are The Benefits Of a Dog Human Food Diet?
There are several benefits associated with a dog human food diet for your dog, these include:
- Fresh food whose nutritional value is minimally altered.
- High-quality ingredients that boost the dog’s immunity and increases their vitality
- Human food is quickly digestible and all nutrients can be absorbed into the body.
- Due to nutrient insufficiency, many dogs suffer from dry, itchy coats, and rashes. With human food, their coats and skins are rejuvenated as they are hydrated and restored due to the presence of essential fatty acids.
- Fresh food increases the lifespan of your dog by maintaining a healthy and balanced diet
- A fresh food diet contains no additives and preservatives hence maintaining the health of the dog
What human food can’t dogs eat?
Yes, dogs can eat scrap food cooked for humans, but it is not advisable to do so. Aside from encouraging negative behavior during mealtime, such foods are rich in fats, salts, and seasoning that could be dangerous for dogs.
Consumption of foods rich in fats, salts, and harmful seasoning could cause gastrointestinal issues resulting in health complications such as:
- Pancreatitis, a condition where a dog’s pancreas is inflamed, due to excess fats in the body
- Cardiovascular and respiratory problems caused by the fat deposit build-up in blood vessels
- Obesity caused by the excess fats present in the body and increase in weight
- Hypothyroidism due to a damaged thyroid gland
- Dehydration as a result of too many salts in the system
What Fast Food Can Dogs Eat?
When you offer a dog fast food, it will eat it, but this does not mean it is healthy for them. The problem with most fast food is that they are filled with additives, sodium nitrates, and nitrites as preservatives, fats, sugars, and other harmful substances.
When fed to a dog, these elements can be very harmful to its health leading to the development of pancreatitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, hypothyroidism, obesity, respiratory issues among mother health complications.
Hence, when feeding a dog fast food, ensure it is not rich in fats, additives, and salts.
Another question that dog owners ask can my dog eat ice cream, eggs every day, or even bacon? If you have such a question feel free to check our articles on these.