Dog Health

Healthy Dog Food, Treats and Things to Stay Away From

Proper ingredients and nutrition  play a vital role in finding the healthiest food for your dog. Let’s face it owning a dog can be very expensive. You will need food bowls, chew toys, beds, a kennel, collar and leashes. Then you have vet bills and grooming.

If there was a place where you could save money you would think it could be your pets food. Not the case, healthy nutrition for your dog should always be one of your top priorities.

Is Human Food Good for your Dog?

This is a question which comes up all the time. The short answer as you might imagine is both yes an no. Below is a list of some of the human foods your dog can eat.

  • Salmon: Yes, dogs can eat salmon. fully cooked salmon is an excellent source of protein, good fats and amino acids. Just be careful, raw or uncooked salmon can contain parasites that can make your dog very sick. Be sure to cook the salmon all the way through (the FDA recommends at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit) and the parasites should cook out.
  • Quinoa: yes, quinoa is OK for dogs. In fact you can now find quinoa in some high-quality dog foods. Quinoa has a strong nutrional value which makes it a healthy alternative to wheat, corn and soy – starches that are often used to make kibble.
  •  Tuna: yes, dogs can eat tuna, but only in small amounts. Cooked fresh tuna in moderation, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes heart and eye health. As for canned tuna, it contains small amounts of mercury and sodium, which should be avoided in excess. A little canned tuna here and there is fine but only prepared in water with no added spices.
  • Cheese: Yes, dogs can eat cheese in small to moderate quantities. As long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, which is rare, but still possible in canines. Many dogs enjoy their very own dog specific – Himalayan dog chew made of dried cheese.
  • Bread: yes, dogs can eat bread. Small amounts of plain bread (no spices and definitely no raisins) won’t hurt your dog, but it also won’t provide any health benefits either. It has no nutritional value and can really pack on the carbohydrates and calories, just like it does with people.
  • Pork: Yes, dogs can eat pork. Packed with amino acids, Pork is highly digestible protein and contains more calories per pound than other meats. Pork is also less likely to cause an allergic reaction in pets as compared to other proteins.
  • Turkey: Yes, dogs can eat turkey. Be sure to remove excess fat and skin from the meat. Make sure to check for bones; poultry bones can splinter during digestion, causing blockage or even tears in the intestines. Any meat with excess salt, seasonings, onions or garlic should not be fed.
  • Yogurt: Yes, your dog can eat yogurt. Plain yogurt is an acceptable snack for dogs. However, some dogs have trouble digesting dairy products. If your dog can digest it, the active bacteria in yogurt can help strengthen the digestive system with probiotics. Plain yogurt is the best choice. Avoid any yogurts with added sugar, and skip all yogurt with artificial sweeteners.
  • Popcorn: yes, dogs can eat popcorn. Unbuttered, unsalted, air-popped popcorn is OK for your dog in moderation. It contains riboflavin and thiamine, both of which promote eye health and digestion, as well as small amounts of iron and protein. Make sure all kernels given to your dog are popped. Un-popped kernels could become a choking hazard.
  • Shrimp: Yes, shrimp is OK for dogs. A few shrimp once in a while is fine for your dog, but only if fully cooked and the  shell (including the tail, head, and legs) is removed completely. Shrimp are high in antioxidants, vitamin B-12 and phosphorus, but also low in fat, calories and carbohydrates.
  • Coconut: Yes, coconut is ok for your dog. This fruit contains lauric acid, which can help combat bacteria and viruses. It can also help with bad breath and clearing up skin conditions like hot spots, flea allergies, and itchy skin. Coconut milk and coconut oil are safe for dogs too. Just be sure your dog doesn’t get its paws on the furry outside of the shell, which can get lodged in the throat.

Common Foods That are Hazardous to Canine Health

  • Almonds: No, dogs shouldn’t eat almonds. Almonds can block the esophagus or even tear the windpipe if not chewed completely. Salted almonds are especially dangerous because they can increase water retention, which is potentially fatal to dogs prone to heart disease.
  • Chocolate: No, dogs should never eat chocolate. Chocolate contains toxic substances called methlxanthines, which are stimulants that stop a dog’s metabolic process. Even a little bit of chocolate, expecially dark chocolate, can cause diarrhea and vomiting. A large amount can cause seizure’s, irregular heart function, and even death. Do Not have chocolate in an accessible location for your dog. If you dog does ingest chocolate, contact a veterinarian or pet poison helpline as soon as possible.
  • Cinnamon: No, dogs shouldn’t eat cinnamon.  While cinnamon is not actually toxic to dogs, It’s probably best to avoid it. Cinnamon and its oils can irritate the inside of dogs mouths, making them uncomfortable and sick. It can lower a dog’s blood sugar too much and can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, increased, or decreased heart rate, and even liver disease. If they inhale it in powder form, cinnamon can cause difficulty breathing, coughing and choking.
  • Garlic: No, dogs shouldn’t eat garlic. Like onions, leeks, and chives, garlic is part ot the Allium family and its is five times more toxic to dogs than the rest of the Allium plants. Garlic can create anemia in dogs, causing side effects such as pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness and collapse. Poisoning from garlic and onions may have delayed symptoms, so if you think your dog may have eaten some monitor him or her for a few days, not just right after the consumption.
  • Macadamia nuts: No, dogs should never eat macadamia nuts. These are some of the most poisonous foods for dogs. Macadamia nuts, part of the Protaceae family, can cause vomiting, increased body temperature, inability to walk, and lethargy. Even worse, they can affect the nervous system. NEVER feed your dog macadamia nuts.


 Dog Treats – What you should know

While treats are an effective way to reward, motivate and spoil your dog, there’s one downside. An overindulgence can lead to weight gain and even worse, obesity, which has a huge effect on your dog’s overall health. An estimated fifty six percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese and at risk for serious health conditions as a result.

Generally spesking, treats should make up no more than ten percent of your dog’s daily calories, but how many calories does your dog need, and how many calories are in his treats? First, determine the number of calories in your dog’s food. If the information is not listed on the packaging, call or email the manufacturer or check their website, and remember you may feed your dog less than the manufacturer’s recommended amount. Next, take ten percent of the number and that’s your dog’s daily treat allowance. To find the number of calories in your dog’s treats, also check the packaging or contact the manufacturer.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) estimated daily caloric needs for dogs are as follows: A 10 -pound dog requires 200-275 calories, a 20-pound dog requires 325-400 calories and a 50-pound dog requires 700-900 calories. Because caloric needs vary based on a dogs size, activity level and other factors, you should also speak with your vet about your dog’s daily caloric requirements.

The Right Ingredients

It’s vital the food and treats you pick contain natural ingredients, rather than fillers, hydrogenated oils, excess sugars, preservatives and chemicals. You should try to avoid foods which list byproducts for the ingredients on the label, because this is simply an aspect of the dog food that can be seen as unfit for human consumption.

It is simple wise practice that when something is unfit that you should eat, then it’s likely to be unhealthy for your dog also. Look for foods and treats that are an excellent source of whole foods which can be vitamin rich.

How to Know your Dog is Thriving

  1. Shiny, Clean Coat  

Healthy pets will typically have a shiny, clean coat due to natural oils and shedding. A healthy pet doesn’t need to be bathed routinely unless your pet got dirty. Routine bathing for pets with fur (versus specific breeds with hair which require grooming) isn’t necessary and can lead to skin irritation.

If your dog is often licking, chewing or scratching, it could be a sign of skin irritation, skin allergies, a bug bite or presence of fleas. It’s also a sign your dog is uncomfortable; schedule a veterinary checkup to address the problem.

2.  Fresh Breath

A healthy mouth is the gateway to a healthy pet. Relatively clean smelling breath and clean teeth absent of tartar buildup are signs of good health.

If your dog has gingivitis ( gum disease) it can ultimately affect vital organs and lead to serious health issues. Periodontitis is a disease of the supporting structures of the teeth and is the primary cause of tooth loss in pets. It’s caused by the buildup of food, plaque, and tartar in the spaces between the gum and the lower part of the tooth.

Routine dental care can result in improved overall health and longevity of a pet by spotting issues early on.

3.  Regular Bladder and Bowel Movements

How do you know if your dog has a tummy ache? Check out his poop. Healthy bowel movements will be absent of blood, mucus, worms, eggs, a chalky white discoloration, a black tarry appearance, a greasy coating or diarrhea. If you notice a change ti could be due to a change in diet, stress, allergies, parasites, bacterial infection, viral infection, ingestion of a toxic substance, pancreatitis, cancer inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, or an obstruction.

The color of your dog’s urine is important: If your pet’s pee is the color of transparent yellow it’s a sign of good health. Dark or bright yellow could be a sign of dehydration. Orange is typically associated with  aundice or icterus, gallbladder problems, pancreatic problems, severe dehydration, lover disease or damaged blood cells.

If your dog’s urine is red, pink or cloudy it may be a sign of urinary tract infection, cystitis, clotting diseases, trauma or cancer. If your dog is peeing inside the house of off a piddle pad, it could be a sign i distress due to a health issue. If these changes occur, a checkup is highly recommended for further testing.

4.  Alert and Engaged Interest

A healthy dog is eager  to spend time with family, greeting you at the door, coming to you for playtime, watching and observing with interest.

If your dog suddenly starts spending time alone, is disengaged or sleeping more, it could be a sign of a health issue. Changes in behavior are one of the number one reasons pet owners discover something is off with their companions. Pay attention to any change and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

5.  Clean and Odor Free Ears

Another sign of good health in dogs are clean ears. No waxy buildup, no discharge and ni pungent or musky smell.

It’s normal for dogs’ ears to get dirty, so routine cleaning is recommended. Ignoring dirty ears can lead to pet ear infections – the second most common reason dogs visited the vets in 2015, and a major source of irritation for our pets.

Clean ears also help maintain normal body temperature by radiating heat out.

One tell tale sign your dog has an ear infection : smelly ears, sometimes like the smell of yeast. Schedule a checkup with your veterinarian if you suspect your dog is suffering from an ear infection. Common symptoms besides the smell and waxy buildup are side to side shaking of the head and pawing at the ear.

When In Doubt, Get Checked Out

If you have questions about your dog’s health or are concerned that an issue may be present, contact your veterinarian immediately. Remember: Your dog can’t always tell you when something is wrong. If you see a sign that has you questioning your pet’s health, don’t hesitate to schedule a checkup.

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