Most dog owners will already know that their pet pooch will eat just about anything, especially your food but what some of you might not know is that sometimes this is okay. Of course it’s not healthy to feed your pet from your plate, which will only encourage begging, nor is it actually healthy for them to eat everything e.g. chocolate is poisonous, however feeding your dog(s) from the household grocery list could improve their health and reduce waste.
In recent years the BARF diet has gained popularity among dog and cat owners. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food and while BARF enthusiasts and vets often disagree on its reported benefits the BARF craze is raising greater awareness of animal nutrition which can only be a good thing. You might think that a raw diet for a dog would consist mostly of meat, which it does for a cat, but far from it; dogs only need 30% meat in their diets. Here I look at 5 foods on the weekly grocery list that you can share with your dog:
* Yoghurt. Some dogs like humans are lactose intolerant so watch how your dog gets on with this. Other dairy products like cheese should be avoided but the health benefits of yoghurt are such that it’s worth trying you dog on it. Just like for humans it may aid digestive processes and supply them with calcium, protein and other minerals. The idea of these snacks is to provide healthy, natural, low calorie additions to your dog’s standard diet so choose plain yogurt that hasn’t been flavoured or sweetened.
* Eggs. Eggs are a complete nutritional package all wrapped up in handy shell. Give one or two to your dog with or without the shell included. You may need to offer a little encouragement with the shell but it too is packed with nutrients such as calcium. Bear in mind that eggs are full of water so don’t feed these too often or you’ll find your dog’s stools will become very soft.
* Raw or cooked meats. If the meat is cooked you shouldn’t feed any bones as these go brittle in the cooking process and could result in a painful injury for your dog. You should also never feed them food that has been in contact with onions e.g. a roast bird that has been stuffed or baked alongside onions, because these are toxic to dogs. If feeding raw meat, which you could easily trim from the family roast before you prepare it, then meaty bones such as chicken neck or rib bones from lamb or pork are ideal for your dog. Don’t worry about bacteria on uncooked meat, dogs are well equipped to deal with this. You should always supervise your dog while they’re eating bones, especially if they’re not used to them. It can take a while for pets to get the hang of tearing meat, chewing bones or using their paws while eating.
* Carrots. Lots of dogs enjoy eating carrots possibly because it replicates the act of eating a bone. These are great for dogs who may have broken their teeth; the carrot is crunchy but definitely soft enough to break up making it a very satisfying snack. Carrots are also useful for cleaning your dog’s teeth which is similar to the idea that apples clean your teeth. If you don’t regularly buy carrots for your household then try your dog on something you do buy. Sweet potatoes, apples, green beans and pumpkin are all fantastic options.
* Rice. Leftover rice is great to feed your dog with and particularly good if they’re a little under the weather. Dogs have off days too and sometimes they need a rest from heavy kibble or rich meat. On these days mashed cooked rice is the perfect solution. Brown rice is better but if your family only eat white rice there’s no problem feeding this to your dog too.
You should always be wary of over feeding your dog with snacks. For one you may notice holes in your garden where he or she is hiding this extra food but on a more serious note over feeding can lead to obesity which can be debilitating for dogs and is linked to range of other health problems. Stocking up on nutritionally sound pet foods by ordering online will open you up to a much larger choice than just the brands at the supermarket and you won’t have to carry them home!