WHAT IS PEOPLE FOOD ANYWAY? People are animals, so people food is by default animal food! In general, the type of people food that is bad for dogs is the same food that is also bad for humans. For instance greasy, fat, salty, sugary fast foods.
Dogs in their natural state will eat some fruits and vegetables of their own accord. My first dog ‘Shanny’ a German Shepherd x Malamute, would go out and pick the small white mushrooms that would come up in the lawn overnight. I never showed her to do this – I wouldn’t know which mushrooms were safe to eat and which were not! She would also pick her own blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. If she was permitted she would also pick her own vegetables such as tomatoes and green beans. Dogs eat grass as there are enzymes present in the grass that aids their digestion.
All of my ten dogs pick their own fruit and veggies if permitted just as Shanny did. Eighteen years ago when Shanny was just a puppy I came home only to find that she had taken a banana for herself, somehow managed to perfectly peel it – she left the peel on the living room floor (this was how I knew what she had accomplished!) and ate the banana. It didn’t adversely affect her and having seen her previous interest in grass and mushrooms it occurred to me that she might enjoy and benefit from having fruits and vegetables in her diet much as I did. I started to make her a salad everyday – she thought of the salad as a great treat and looked forward to it!
A friend of mine – a dog trainer in India made a great point one day, during a discussion we were having – he noted ‘Dogs have lived in the company of humans for centuries under all imaginable conditions. The dogs of shepherds in the Himalayas live entirely on bread made of coarse maize flour fortified occasionally with milk or curd and sometimes with meat. They live in the open as the flock and its shepherd’
Now, I am not suggesting that you take your dog’s specially formulated kibble away and replace it with ‘people’ foods but should you decide you would like to introduce some new food stuffs to your dog’s diet, you may find that your dog enjoys other food stuffs while deriving the benefits of a varied diet.
Some veterinarians do not believe in mixed diets while other veterinarians support a mixed diet. So, where you to call your vet and ask advice the outcome is much like ‘Russian roulette’…you may get a response that says unequivocally ‘no’ or a response that says ‘great’. I believe that common sense and logic should always be a persons ‘guiding light’ when making such decisions.
Salads aren’t for every canine – if your dog has a very sensitive stomach, it may not be a good idea to introduce fruits and veggies to their diet! At least not more than one at a time.
My own dog pack and foster dogs have never had sensitive stomach issues so they do well on a mixed diet.
If you are going to introduce fresh or cooked fruits and veggies to your dog’s diet it is best to introduce each new food one at a time – that way if their is any kind of negative reaction, such as stomach upset or allergies you will be able to pinpoint the culprit. None of my pack members have any allergies to fruits and veggies with the exception of Robbie my Boxer.
The ingredients may vary slightly depending on the season – for instance watermelon and cauliflower in the summer and oranges and peas in the winter. The following represents a pretty typical list of my dogs’ daily fare for fruits & vegetables: peas, carrots, apples, blueberries, bananas, watermelon, tomatoes, ground flax seed, plain yogurt, mackerel and a little olive or canola oil. During allergy season (late summer, early fall) I also aid a couple of tablespoons of 100% Aloe Vera juice to Robbie’s salads…he has environmental allergies too!
Robbie is allergic to peas so he has oranges, tomatoes or carrots instead. One day Robbie started scratching more than he would usually. By the process of elimination I was able to pin-point the cause of his discomfort. I knew the scratching was not a result of an infestation of fleas. My next line of thought turned to the possibility that he was experiencing an allergic reaction to something. I thought about whether he had been exposed to anything different in the last few days – either environmental or ingested. There was nothing new environmentally that I knew of so I focused on food. I quickly realized I had recently introduced peas to his salad. I removed the peas from his menu and the itching stopped. He is also allergic to sweet peppers (all colours), I discovered this when I substituted peas for peppers.
Other typical ingredients for my dogs’ salads are: pineapple (canned in juice or fresh), blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, oranges, pears, mangoes, papaya, sweet peppers, broccoli in small amounts and infrequently (there is some thought that too much broccoli can cause issues with internal organs). Eggs and sweat potatoes are a great addition too.
I add a good quality vegetable oil such as Canola, or even better Olive oil. The oil provides them with good omega fats. 1/2 tablespoon for the really little guys like my 4 lb Pomeranian and my 8 lb Chihuahua, 1 tablespoon for my dogs who weigh 15lbs to 30lbs and 2 tablespoon for all my larger dogs 30 lbs to 70 lbs.