By Avance Care’s Registered Dietitian: Shannon Corlett, MS, RDN, LDN
As Spring approaches, many of us cannot wait to start walking, running, hiking, and swimming with our canine best friends. In many households, pets become a part of the family and are companions in everything from outdoor activities to birthday celebrations. But when it comes to “people food,” there is a limit to what you can share with your dog.
You should eat nuts.
o Studies have consistently demonstrated the cholesterol-lowering effect of nuts, with increasing evidence to support their beneficial effect on oxidative stress and inflammation. Even blood pressure, visceral fat, blood sugar control, and metabolic syndrome seem to benefit from the unsaturated fat, fiber, Vitamin E, and plant sterol content of nuts. Unless you have an allergy, many types of nuts in moderation are appropriate for the human diet.
Your dog should not eat almonds, pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts.
o Some nuts, although not toxic, pose an increased risk of blocking your dog’s esophagus and even tearing their windpipe if not chewed well. Salted nuts pose an even greater risk for dogs prone to water retention and heart disease. Any salted treat should not be shared with your canine companions.
o Macadamia nuts are one of the most poisonous foods for dogs. They can cause increased body temperature, inability to walk, lethargy, vomiting, and nervous system concerns for your dog and should never be shared.
You can share peanuts, peanut butter, and cashews.
o A few peanuts or cashews provide your dog with healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but both humans and dogs need to be careful not to eat too many or they may gain weight. Make sure you purchased unsalted varieties that do not contain xylitol – a sugar alcohol – which can be toxic to dogs.
You should eat lean proteins.
o Fish, chicken, turkey, lean pork and eggs are all healthy food choices for both you and your dog. Packed with B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium these protein sources function as the building blocks for your body. Fish is a particularly good source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which can help with high cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as inflammatory conditions like arthritis, and may even have a positive impact on psychiatric disorders like depression.
Your dog should not eat garlic.
o Garlic is a part of the Allium family, which also includes onions, leeks, and chives, but it is five times more toxic to dogs than the other foods in this group. Symptoms of toxicity include elevated heart rate, pale gums, weakness, and collapsing and may not be evident for a few days after ingestion. Be particularly conscious of garlic intake when sharing prepared human foods with your pet, it is often used as an easy seasoning that may sneak in unnoticed.
You can share fully cooked, unseasoned meat.
o Raw or undercooked meats may contain parasites that could make your dog sick. Be sure to cook proteins all the way through if you are planning to share.
o Both dogs and humans should avoid eating the skin of poultry because it is high in fat and calories. All bones should also be removed from meat or they can splinter during digestion and cause tears or blockages in your dog’s intestines.
You should eat energy-dense, nutrient poor foods only in moderation.
o Nutrient density refers to a number of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that a food contains. The most nutrient-dense foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, and lean meats. Foods that do not contain many of these nutrients may be called “empty calories” because they provide energy without very much nutrition. Most people include some foods with low nutrient density in their diets, including baked goods, sugar-sweetened beverages, chips, and candies, but these foods should only be consumed in moderation, as part of a high-quality diet.
Your dog should not eat chocolate or ice-cream.
o Chocolate contains stimulants called methylxanthines that can affect your dog’s metabolic process. Even in small amounts, they may experience nausea and vomiting, and large amounts increase
o Ice-cream, though less serious than chocolate, can also negatively affect their stomach. Dogs go not digest dairy very well and will be much more comfortable with frozen fruits as a snack. This is also a healthier alternative for their human family!
Instead offer reduced fat cheese, plain yogurt, or fresh fruits and vegetables.
o Cheese is a high saturated fat
o People and dogs can limit added sugars in their diet by sweetening plain yogurt with natural sources like fruit instead of purchasing sugary yogurts from the grocery store. Most dogs can tolerate yogurt, although some have an increased risk for lactose intolerance just like humans. Trial small amounts of yogurt to see if they upset your dog’s stomach before offering this food with any regularity.
Do you know which fruits and vegetables are safe to snack on with your pup? Check out the list below to help choose some nutrient-dense options that you can both enjoy, or watch this video from the American Kennel Club! http://content.jwplatform.com/previews/vyThLleM-F8rrYT0c
Choose This…. Not This….
– Try them frozen for a special treat in warm weather!
– Although okay as a special treat, bananas should not be a regular part of your dog’s diet.
– There are even enzymes in strawberries that may help to whiten your dog’s teeth.
– Packed with fiber and antioxidants, blueberries make a healthy alternative to store-bought dog treats.
– Limit to one cup at a time. The anti-inflammatory properties of raspberries may be especially beneficial for senior dogs.
Not Grapes and Raisins!
– Both are extremely toxic to your dog and may cause sudden kidney failure.
– Eating pears may reduce stroke, but be sure to cut into bite-sized chunks and remove the core and seeds.
Peaches and Mangos
– Make sure to completely remove the pits, they are poisonous for dogs! Choose fresh options, not canned which may contain added sugar.
– Dogs are at risk for cyanide poisoning if they eat cherries. Be on the lookout for dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and red gums. Seek immediate veterinary attention if you notice any of these symptoms.
– Crunching on carrots is great for your dog’s teeth and provides an interesting texture alternative to their usual diet.
– Although the red fruit of a tomato is likely safe, the green part of the plant is highly toxic. Just to be sure, avoid feeding your dog tomatoes.
– The seeds and the peel of an orange are difficult to digest, try to only feed your dog the fleshy inside of the fruit.
– Persin, a toxin in avocados, can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
– Low calorie but full of vitamins and minerals, cucumbers make the perfect snack for an overweight canine.
– In addition to its health benefits, celery may also freshen doggy breath!
– Although very small amounts are likely safe, dogs may experience gastric irritation when they consume broccoli.
-Be sure to remove the rind and seeds first, but this fluid-filled treat is perfect for a hot day.
– Make sure you remove the prickly outside first!
– Many varieties are safe, but there are 50-100 that could cause serious illness or even death. Best for your dog to just avoid fungus altogether.
– All plants in the Allium family may cause your