January is National Train Your Dog Month, and we want to share some safe treats that you can use while teaching your pup a new trick. While we’re often told to avoid giving our dogs human food, there are some human foods that make great treats for our canine companions. Here are some of the healthiest options:
- Carrots — Naturally sweet and low in calories, carrots will satisfy your dog’s need to chew and help with blood clotting and energy production. They contain beneficial fiber, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus, as well as vitamins B6, B12, C, and K.
- Seaweed — It is believed that seaweed (also called “nori”) may improve immune function, fat metabolism, and anti-tumor response. Seaweed contains protein, fiber, iron, and vitamins A and C.
- Carob — Also known as “dog chocolate,” carob helps to eliminate toxins, improve digestion, and lower cholesterol. It also treats coughs, anemia, and the loss of bone density. Carob contains calcium, fiber, pectin, and vitamin E.
- Sweet potatoes — An excellent source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, sweet potatoes contain fiber and vitamins A, C, B5, and B6.
- Blueberries — A nutrient-packed superfood, blueberries contain antioxidants, manganese, fiber, and vitamins C and E. (Tip: Blueberries should be introduced slowly. Otherwise, this superfood could turn into a pooperfood.)
- Apples — Apples can help remove toxins from the intestinal tract, strengthen intestinal muscles, and remove harmful bacteria. Containing pectin and vitamins A and C, they also help to satisfy your dog’s desire to chew.
Treats to avoid:
In addition to the more common toxins (like chocolate, raisins, and xylitol), avoid feeding your dog sausages, which contain sulfites and preservatives that can cause a potentially fatal thiamine deficiency. Also, avoid cooked bones because bones splinter more easily once cooked. And, steer clear of cow’s milk because most dogs become lactose intolerant after they are weaned. If your dog loves milk, try soy milk instead, which still includes calcium and vitamin B but is free of lactose.
Tips to remember:
- Watch the waistline. Treats should make up only about 10 percent of your dog’s daily caloric intake.
- Don’t encourage begging. You might be giving your dog some human treats, but that doesn’t mean you should feed him from the table, which only encourages unwanted behaviors (like begging).
Questions about appropriate treats for your pup? Call our office.