What is a Healthy Diet for a Dog?

Many dog owners treat their canine companion like a very beloved member of their family, sharing their home, couch and some even sharing their bed with their furbaby. However, when your pet is as much a part of the family as you are, it can sometimes be easy to forget that it is not always suitable or safe to share absolutely everything with them. One of the areas in which this most applies is in their food and eating habits.

While many of us try to keep our dogs on a purely canine diet, it can be very tempting to offer up any leftovers or slip them a bite of whatever we are eating from time to time. This is particularly true if we are eating something so tasty and enjoyable that we think our pet may appreciate a nibble too.

The truth is that there are some foods that it is perfectly safe for your dog to consume small amounts of. However, their diet should be predominantly designed for a canine and not a human.

Human foods that you should definitely not feed your dog

Not only are some human foods not ideal to feed your dog, some are downright dangerous and if eaten, could make your dog seriously unwell. In some instances, they may even be life-threatening.

The following popular human foods are considered to be very toxic to dogs. It is important to remember that these foods do not have to be consumed in their whole form to be dangerous. For example, cereal bars containing raisins could be just as much as risk to your pet as eating individual raisins out of the packet.

  • Chocolate

  • Caffeine

  • Onions, garlic and chives

  • Avocado

  • Macadamia nuts

  • Grapes and raisins

  • Yeast dough

  • Anything containing Xylitol, an artificial sweetener

  • Corn on the cob

  • Milk

  • Alcohol

  • Processed meals (as they typically contain high levels of salt)

  • Raw/undercooked meat

  • Meat still on the bone

  • Mouldy food (so keep your garbage well away from your dog!)

Human Food You Can Share with Your Dog (in moderation)

There are a few human foods that are healthier to share with your dog than others, including the following:

Meat. Make sure it is lean, completely unflavored and is free from bones, however large or small. Giving a dog a bone is one of the biggest misconceptions of canine ownership and the reason for thousands of trips to veterinarians each year. A bone presents a serious choking hazard, and if swallowed, it can cause significant damage to the soft tissue of your dog’s throat and esophagus, stomach, intestines or bowel.

Apples and Berries. Apples and berries are extremely healthy fruits that are sweet and packed with nutrition for your furbaby.

Eggs. Protein is very important for dogs and eggs are a fantastic source of this vital component of your pet’s diet.

Tuna. Very few owners realise that fish are not just for felines. In fact, many dogs thoroughly enjoy tucking into a fishy meal and something like tuna can be a great way to bulk out a meal. Just remember that tuna should only be fed in moderation.

Plain Boiled Rice. Ok, so it may not be the most exciting food in the world, but plain boiled rice is a great addition to both wet and dry dog food. Just be sure that it really is plain. Even a hint of onion, garlic of other flavouring could make him sick extremely quickly.

What Makes a Healthy Diet for Dogs?

A nutritious, balanced diet of predominantly canine food is essential for your dog to live a long, healthy and active life. However, each pooch is different, and this means that there is no ‘perfect’ formula for all dogs to follow. Nutritional requirements vary based on age, size and breed of your pet, and whether if she is female, whether she is pregnant or nursing her pups. Nevertheless, a healthy diet for dogs typically comprises of either a wet or dry commercial dog food and the occasional treat.

Wet vs. Dry Dog Food

The merits of wet vs. dry food is a common topic of conversation between dog owners, and there are benefits to both. Dry food is believed to be better for her teeth, while wet food provides moisture which is useful for keeping your furbaby hydrated. However, it largely comes down to the preference of your pet.

What is more important is that, whether your canine prefers wet or dry, you pick a commercial food that is specifically formulated for her breed and her particular stage in life. This is usually clearly marketed on the packaging, but if you aren’t sure, speak to in-store staff or our veterinarian for further advice.

When it comes to ensuring that your dog has the best possible diet, we strongly recommend that you seek animal-specific advice from our veterinarian. This will help you feel reassured that your beloved furbaby is getting the tight nutrition for a long, healthy and happy life with you. Contact us to schedule an appointment.