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'People' Foods Your Dog Can Eat

As a rule, keep your food to yourself. But as a rare treat, these foods may be OK.

Don't Overdo It

Most veterinarians recommend a high-quality, well-balanced manufactured diet.

And for good reason, says Cruz, who is a member of the Iams Pet Wellness Council and is featured on the company’s nutritional consultant web site. “Commercial foods are generally more balanced, more nutritious, and safer for a dog than ever trying to feed home-cooked foods,” Cruz says.

Moderation is key. “As long as it’s not more than 10% of the dog’s diet, a little treat here and there is probably going to be OK,” Weeth says.

That’s because commercial diets are designed to provide 100% complete and balanced nutrition. But when more than 10% of your dog’s diet is filled with other foods, you begin to dilute the essential nutrients in the commercial diet.

The amount of “people” food you give also should vary based on your pet’s size. After all, “a little bit for a Great Dane is a meal for a Chihuahua,” Cruz says.

If you dramatically increase the amount of fat, you may see diarrhea, or worse, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas.). If you increase fiber with whole-wheat pasta or a complex grain, such as brown rice or barley, your dog may get constipated, or food may pass through undigested.

No Begging

Table scraps aren’t necessarily bad as long as you avoid fatty, sugary, and salty foods or foods with heavy sauces.

“About 40% of the dogs in the U.S. are overweight and we know that exacerbates diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes,” Cruz says.

But it’s important that your pet realizes it’s a snack and not a regular meal.

Sharing your food with your dog may make for a finicky dog -- for instance, one that holds out for a bit of your steak, rather than its own dog food.

If you give table scraps as a treat, Cruz recommends mixing a very small amount into your dog’s regular food and offering it when you’re not eating.

Sickness to Health

Certain “people” foods can help otherwise healthy animals. Like if your dog gets into the garbage and has a bout of diarrhea or vomiting.

Cooked chicken breast or cottage cheese mixed with boiled white rice is highly digestible. It can provide nutrition and calories without being hard on the digestive system.

A small amount of peanut butter or cream cheese to hide medication also is OK occasionally, Weeth says.

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