Most human foods are OK to feed dogs except for some that are not:
- grapes or grape derivatives (sultanas, raisins) can cause kidney failure in dogs
- fatty foods (ham, chicken skin, pork rind, sausages, full fat cheese, etc) are best avoided because of the risk of life threatening pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas);
- any food containing the sugar replacer xylitol can be toxic to dogs;
- chocolate contains the ingredient theobromine which is a stimulant and can be fatal even in low doses (the darker the chocolate, the higher the risk of toxicity);
- onions and garlic can cause anaemia if fed regularly.
Just like in people, it is best to go with lower fat food and cook meat to reduce the chance of bacterial gut upsets. Do not cook bones – raw and lean is best as cooked bones can perforate the gut.
Raw food diets are always popular but greatly increase the risk of infection from campylobacter and salmonella (particularly found in raw chicken carcasses and raw eggs). If too much of a puppy’s diet is made up of raw meat, the puppy can suffer from calcium deficiency (particularly larger breeds).
Carob is a good alternative to chocolate for dogs. Completely balanced commercial foods can be convenient. Perhaps try to choose foods that are preservative free.
There is no real need to use gluten free food in dogs except for a line of Irish Setters (extremely rare) that are actually known to be gluten intolerant. There have been cases of gluten free food being contaminated with a fungus (found in the food’s lentil base) that caused heart problems in dogs in the UK.
Dogs are omnivorous like humans so a balanced meal like boiled rice, a cooked egg, a small serving of cooked skinless chicken with veggies like broccoli, carrots and peas mixed with a good quality commercial diet (like Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin or Prime 100 Single source protein rolls) would be healthy for most dogs.
The dietary requirements change throughout a dog’s life, so check with your vet for the best diet at each life stage. Sometimes health problems can alter dietary recommendations too. For example, a dog with kidney disease is best to have a low protein, moderate fat diet.
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