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Pet dogs are so very aligned as first of the kin in most dog loving Indian homes that it is impossible not to share the human food tid bits with them. The pleading gaze of big brown eyes are hard to avoid and it seems almost cruel at that time to not share our food. But there is always an apprehension regarding the suitability of the human food for our dogs and puppies.Premium commercial dog food brands like Royal Canin, Hills Science plan and Solid Gold Dog Food offer complete and balanced nutrition to assure fulfillment of all basic needs of the pet.However the ‘man’s best friend’ also happen to crave for variety in its food.
In respect to the safety and health of the dogs, you would be glad to know that there are plenty of human foods which the dog can eat to acquire protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.So one does need to walk consciously, but anddo understand that most things which are healthy for you may not be as healthy or even fatal for our four-legged companion.
Animal Protein should find a primary place in the diet chart of your dog. Boiled or scrambled egg, chicken, fish, mutton, beef, pork are all commonly eaten at home and are good sources of protein and fats. Chicken is being a popular dish in most non-vegetarian Indian kitchens is often shared with the home grown and stray dogs, pl ensure to avoid any dinner table offering that entails onion, garlic, excess oil and spices.Even cooked chicken bones are not recommended as it is brittle and may cause oral injuries and in some cases even fatal obstructions in the intestines of dogs that will be required to remove surgically.
Whole grains (like brown rice, wheat, oats, barley, millet and quinoa) and pulses supply various important nutrients to the dog. A blend of brown rice and mashed boiled vegetables constitutes an easy and good healthy meal for your furry friend. Some of the dogs can be allergic to wheat; for rest of the doggie population it can be safely eaten in the form of chapatti (Indian wheat bread) and whole wheat pasta (without salt, sugar and acidic sauces).
Soybeans also go well with dogs, provided your dog is not sensitive to it. Whole wheat or brown breads can be fed in small quantities.
Fruits and vegetables are nature’s precious gifts of superior nutrition, taste, texture and colour. Storehouse of important vitamins, minerals and fibres, fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories. They not only make one healthy and energized but also cut the risks of several diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers. Though low in calories, any fruit or vegetable carry the risk of upsetting the stomach in case of excessive intake.
Fruits are a great power snack to quench in-between meal time hunger. Banana, oranges (without rinds), watermelon, muskmelon, berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries), mango are great fruits for dogs. Serving a blend of fruits to the dog, cut into chewable pieces, mixing various flavours, will make fruits more interesting for the dogs. While feeding an apple, just take a very good care to remove all the seeds as they are poisonous for the dog.
Certain seeds, (like apple seeds) contain cyanide which may not be harmful for us because of the small dose of toxins. But the same dose can prove poisonous to our dogs. Seeds/pits might also cause choking or bowel or intestinal obstruction, thus it should be removed from fruits and vegetables, wherever possible. Grapes and raisins are a complete No-No for the dogs; they can cause irreversible kidney damage – just keep the dogs away from them.
Boiled, cooked, peeled, raw or as scraps – vegetables are good for your dog. The fresh and crunchy vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cucumbers and spinach are good for health and do a lot of good to the teeth of the dog as well. Sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkin, bottle guard, peas, tomatoes (compulsorily ripe) and potatoes (boiled or mashed) are also much loved veggies.
While feeding tomatoes, take care that the dog doesn’t get to eat leaves and stems of the tomato plant; the green areas which a potato might develop are harmful too. Onions are not be ingested by the dogs in any form (raw, cooked, dried, powered) as it can damage the red blood cells of the canine. Garlic is also capable of harming the red blood cells of the dog; some people argue that garlic in small quantities act as natural antibiotic.
Raw veggies can be eaten by dog but when it comes to relatively greater quantity, the vegetables should be boiled and then mashed or cut into chewable pieces.
In small amounts, our canine partners can enjoy cottage cheese, peanut butter, popcorns (sans salt and butter), sunflower seeds (shelled) and plain white yogurt. More natural and plain a treat is – minimum sugar, salts, preservatives – more will they suit the health of your dog.
BUT do remember that chocolate, coffee, macadamia nuts, raisins are toxic for your pet. Be very careful with them.
Pasteurised and homogenized carton milk or boiled milk can be given to the dog. Certain dogs, just like humans, can be lactose intolerant; apart from them, milk, in moderate quantities, can be safely digested by all dogs. Cottage cheese is loved by most dogs. Curd and buttermilk are also good sources of prebiotics and calcium.
It is recommended that before you offer a new food item to your pet you should consult your vet. Allergies and reactions to particular food stuffs would vary from dog to dog, so it is a good habit to observe your dog each time you feed it a new eatable. Care should be taken to avoid artificial sugar and have minimal salts (pinch of salt a day would suffice).
The amount of any fruit, veggie, grain or milk should also be carefully managed to avoid stomach upsets and other health issues in dogs and please note that sugar sweets and candies, tea/coffee, cooked bones, chocolates are a strict no-no when sharing your food with your beloved dogs and puppies.
PAW Apetit’ and watch this space out for more on dog health and wellness..