Vets and trainers insist that you should do everything you can to keep Fido on a diet that consists purely of dog food, but there’s always room to bend the rules a little. While certain foods–like chocolate, avocados, and grapes–are all off-limits because they can make your dog seriously ill, others are safe (and sometimes even healthy) for pups. Here is a look at eight so-called “human foods” that you can feel free to share with your dog. As long as Lassie enjoys these options in moderation, the two of you can have a good time eating together.
1. Peanut Butter
A great source of protein and healthy fats for your pup, peanut butter is a popular treat among most dogs. Try slathering a little inside a Kong toy, and you can keep Rover occupied for hours. It’s best if you buy a jar of unsalted natural peanut butter to share with your canine pal, though any kind will do in a pinch.
2. Green Beans
Dogs that struggle with obesity often won’t notice if you replace some of their normal dog food with green beans. These healthy veggies are high in fiber and low in calories, and they will help your pup feel full while promoting weight loss. Green beans are also rich in nutrients like vitamin C and manganese.
Pick out a plain yogurt that doesn’t have any added sugars when shopping for Fido. You may also want to opt for a fat-free variety if your pup could stand to lose a few pounds. Eaten as a treat on top of dog food or just an afternoon snack, most dogs love yogurt. As an added bonus, the active bacteria can help keep your dog’s digestive system regular.
4. Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, and Squash
All three of these vegetables are healthy for the same general reason. In addition to being high in fiber (great for Rover’s digestion), these orange veggies are all chock full of beta-carotene, which makes them a great source of vitamin A.
Note that you should never feed a dog undercooked chicken for the same reasons why you wouldn’t want to eat raw chicken yourself–dogs are also susceptible to salmonella and other infections. Once cooked, however, chicken is a great source of lean protein for your pup. Odds are that Lassie’s food already contains chicken, so you can supplement her diet with the fresh variety.
Another great source of protein, salmon is also a choice dog treat because of its omega-3 fatty acids. These unique fats are beneficial to the health of your pup’s skin and coat. Even if you don’t have any salmon meat to spare, your dog can get the same nutritional benefits by eating your unwanted fish skins.
One of the best treats to feed a dog with an upset stomach, eggs are an easily digestible source of protein. Pups can also benefit from the high levels of selenium and riboflavin eggs contain. Make sure to cook the egg all the way through–scrambled is usually best–as raw egg whites can cause nutrient deficiencies.
A great source of fiber as well as vitamins A and C, apples are a healthy treat that your dog will love. Pups shouldn’t be allowed to eat apple cores because they can be choking hazards and because apple seeds contain cyanide. Stick to apple slices or cubes instead, however, and you will make Rover very happy.
Mixing up your dog’s diet by occasionally adding in fun “human foods” as snacks isn’t just safe–it’s actually encouraged. By giving your dog important nutrients in various ways, you can make sure he is truly getting a well-balanced diet.