When it comes to feeding our four-legged friends, keep in mind the pet obesity epidemic facing our nation.
Not only does this growing problem put them at a greater risk for many health problems, it also reduces their overall lifespan and can make them extremely uncomfortable.
Also in the light of recent poisoning threats from treats manufactured overseas, many pet owners are choosing better alternatives for rewarding their animals. A majority of fresh fruits and vegetables are not only healthier choices, but a large number of pets actually enjoy them when compared to traditional, packaged treats.
For example, some dogs find raw carrots absolutely delicious and may believe they’re actually chew toys, gnawing on them until there’s nothing left, including the scraps. You might be surprised at some of the healthy foods that dogs will actually eat when given the chance.
NO-NO’s FOR ANIMALS
For some unknown reason, there are certain toxins found in grapes and raisins that the ASPCA warns are harmful to animals. Some kind of chemical reaction can occur in some pets that causes them to have kidney problems or even renal failure after ingesting them. Until more is known on the subject, it’s best to just avoid giving them to animals altogether.
We all know that chocolate is very problematic for dogs, but xylitol, a sugar-free substance used in some desserts, gum, toothpaste and other baked goods can be deadly for dogs. Not that we would feed any of these to our canine, but they should still stay clear of anything with this ingredient.
Other foods to avoid for our four-legged friends include:
- Bones, cooked or uncooked
- Raw meat and eggs
“People food” and table scraps are usually not recommended for dogs, but some fruits and vegetables can benefit their health and help them retain a healthier weight when used to supplement their diet.
Whether given to them as a treat or mixed in with their regular food, consider these choices for a healthier and leaner pet:
- Broccoli: Well-known as one of the best pesticide-free products in the produce department, these little trees will help our pets to be healthy and strong.
- Fish Oil: Like humans, adding this to your dog’s diet will reduce the risk of vascular issues, lower the possible incidences of a heart attack and provide them with a much healthier skin and a shinier coat.
- Kale: While the popularity of this green leafy vegetable may be on the decline, it still offers many benefits for our pets, like an abundance of vitamin A, C and K, and it’s also a good source of calcium and iron.
- Spinach: High in iron, fiber, vitamins and other important nutrients, dogs may devour these healthy greens.
- Sweet Potatoes: Sliced raw, cooked and mashed or dehydrated, many pets will gobble these up like an expensive treat, but be mindful of their high starch and caloric levels when rewarding your pet.
Always consult with your veterinarian before making diet or exercise changes to their regular routine. But when it comes to a healthier diet, your dog’s doctor will likely agree with some more greens, fresh fruits and vegetables added to their diet that will benefit your pet in the long run.
Amber Kingsley is a freelance writer whom has donated countless hours supporting her local shelters. With writing, she has spent most of her research on animals with regards to food, health and training.