Last Updated on September 8, 2023 by Marie Bautista
Feeding your dog the right food is essential for their well-being. Fortunately, manufacturers make it relatively easy these days to ensure they get the nutrition they need. Most formulations and dog foods come with all the ingredients and pieces they require to live happy, healthy lives.
But as pet parents, we can’t help but feel sorry for our pooches. Sure, it’s nice that they’re getting all the nutrition they need, but we’d love them to have a little excitement in their diets, too. It can’t be all that interesting eating the same dry chow every day!
But what can dogs eat, apart from dog food? Well, you’re about to find out. This post takes a look at some of the things you can feed them that won’t give them a bad stomach (unless you give them too many of them). You don’t want to give any of these foods to your dog exclusively, but they can help spice up their diets and make them more interested in the rest of their food.
Commercial Dog Treats
Okay, strictly speaking, commercial dog treats are another type of dog food. But they do help to make your pooch’s life more interesting, and they’re safe.
To us humans, these treats smell (and taste) appalling, but dogs love them, thanks to their protein content and chewiness. Giving them a couple of these every week is a great way to get them more interested in what they are doing.
The best treats are those that encourage chewing. These contain subtle flavors that dogs love and help to harden their teeth and clear away plaque from around their gums. Over time, you may even notice their breath improves.
Another option is to give your dog canned pumpkin. Just remember, it needs to be pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling which could contain sweeteners and additives that might harm your pooch.
Many owners feed their dogs pumpkin pie filling to help with allergies and upset stomachs. There’s some evidence that adding some bland fiber to their diet might help with constipation and diarrhea.
If your dog isn’t too keen on canned pumpkin in pure form, try mixing a bit of it into their food and see if they eat it. Most dogs will chomp on it merrily.
If you’re struggling to get any vegetables into them at all, mix them with wet dog food. The higher palatability should encourage them to start eating.
The idea of feeding dogs cheese sounds a little strange. But it turns out they have the machinery to digest small quantities of it. Therefore, you can add it as a treat.
The best time to use cheese is during dog training. It’s a super high-value treat and likely to produce the doggy behaviors you want to see. Sit! Paw! You name it!
You can also try feeding your dog pure peanut butter (without salt or sweeteners). Peanut butter is something that helps many dogs learn commands faster.
For instance, a lot of owners now smear peanut butter on toys and then give it to dogs as a treat. Dogs love the process of trying to extract as much peanut butter from toys as possible using whatever means necessary!
Even though peanut butter can cause allergies in people, dogs seem to tolerate it well. Allergic reactions are exceedingly rare.
Did you know you can also feed your dog eggs to provide them with a more varied diet? Eggs are high in choline, an important chemical in dog metabolism.
The best way to cook eggs for dogs is to boil them in water. Don’t fry them in the pan or add any seasoning. And always remove the shell first to protect your dog’s teeth.
Also, let the egg cool down a bit after cooking. A hot, runny yolk can burn the inside of your dog’s mouth.
You can also feed your dog pasta if you think they need extra carbohydrates. Dogs process carbs a little differently from humans, so you don’t want to give them too many. But they won’t harm them. Dogs’ digestive system is different from cats, who need a large quantity of protein and can only tolerate a small amount of sugar.
If your dog has a particularly sensitive stomach and doesn’t get on well with wheat, you can try feeding them rice. White rice will produce the highest blood sugar spike, while brown rice lowers the blood sugar response and adds some fiber to your pooch’s nutrition. As a rule, whole grains tend to produce better stools, which can make cleaning up after your dog a little more pleasant.
Many owners want to see if cranberries are safe for dogs to eat. Weirdly, the answer is that they are. Cranberries, like other berries, seem okay for dogs’ stomachs. And that’s a good thing. These incredible berries contain multiple health-promoting compounds that could protect your dog and keep them healthier for longer.
Be careful, though, which cranberries you choose. Fresh or freshly frozen is best. Don’t feed your dog any cranberry products, such as craisins, as these almost always contain vast quantities of sugar to make the underlying cranberries more palatable.
Do a taste test on your cranberries and see what they are like. Cranberries are naturally extremely sour with hardly any sweetness at all. Eating them should feel similar to chewing on a lemon. If it doesn’t, then chances are that the manufacturer added sugar to the product to make it taste better. And that’s something you want to keep out of your dog’s diet.
While dog food contains regular protein, you can also include some lean proteins in your pooch’s diet. Things like chicken, turkey, and fat-reduced beef are all perfectly palatable options.
If you’re worried about fat content, consider feeding your dog fish but make sure you remove any bones first. Dogs can’t always avoid them.
Also, don’t give your dog any meat with garlic or seasonings. Some of these compounds can cause your pooch harm and cause him to be sick. Onions are high in sulfur and particularly toxic to dogs.
Furthermore, refrain from giving your dog processed meats, like sausages. While people associate these foods with the canine palate, they can cause health issues in the future.
Vegetables are generally safe for dogs, with a few exceptions, like onion, garlic, and leeks. Popular choices include carrots, green beans, cooked sweet potatoes and broccoli
Don’t feed any vegetables to your dog raw. Always cook them first to break down the cell walls for easier digestion. Dogs’ stomachs are not good at digesting large quantities of roughage in their diet, with wolves only eating plant matter sparingly in the wild.
Again, avoid frying vegetables, and don’t feed large quantities of veggies from the nightshade family, such as eggplant or tomato. As in humans, these foods can cause gastrointestinal disturbances in dogs.
Dogs can also eat other fruits besides berries, including bananas. As with humans, dogs digest bananas with ease and most enjoy eating them. Bananas are an excellent food to feed your dog if it has an upset stomach or is feeling under the weather.
Finally, you may want to feed your dog an assortment of green beans. These provide them with a combination of protein and fiber that’s low in sugar and gentle on their stomachs at the same time. Green beans are a dog’s superfood, offering them vitamins, minerals, and the phytonutrients they need to thrive.