A healthy family includes healthy pets! Just as we feed those who sit at the table nutritious meals and snacks, we want to do the same for those whose bowls are on the floor. Since August 26th celebrates National Dog Day, now is the perfect time to learn how to help your dog be healthy and nourished.
When choosing foods for your dog, first and foremost, choose those that are made in the USA. Choosing domestically sourced foods and toys will ensure a higher quality and, if need be, can be more easily contacted regarding questions and concerns.
For treats or snacks, look for 'biscuit style', or crunchy treats, made with whole grains or meat as the first ingredient. For soft treats, avoid those made with "by-products" or "meat meal" as well as soft treats made with propylene glycol. Instead, look for natural treats made with peanut butter or vegetable glycerin and natural preservatives such as Vitamin C/citric acid and Vitamin E/mixed tocopherols. Treats sweetened with apples, honey, maple syrup, and molasses are amongst the healthiest for our dogs.
Treat your dog to our favorite healthy, homemade dog treat recipe...
Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Cookies for Dogs
Recipe from: Allrecipes.com
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Whisk together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Bake in preheated oven until hard, about 40 minutes.
Just as the ingredients in this treat recipe, some regular foods are a favorite treat among many dogs including: fresh or frozen green beans, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, strawberries, banana, and apple slices. Unsalted rice cakes and string cheese are also treats most dogs love.
While many of the foods that we eat are also healthy for dogs, there are a few foods we should not share with our dogs. Do not give dogs:
- macadamia nuts
- any food containing alcohol
- any food containing caffeine
- any food containing sugar alcohols such as xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, and isomalt
For dog food or kibble, focus on choosing a brand with high-quality ingredients and from a manufacturer backed by veterinarians to ensure an appropriate nutritional profile and more rigorous standards. Additionally, fewer ingredients may not mean more nutritious and organic does not mean 'healthier'. If looking for a free-from or specialty food, always consult your veterinarian for professional recommendations based on breed and your specific dog. Only avoid grains if your dog has a diagnosed allergy or intolerance.
A few final tips: Whether food or treat, be sure to pay attention to the expiration date. If in doubt of freshness or safety, throw it out! No meal or treat is worth threatening your dog's health. Remember: even too much of a good thing can be unhealthy. Just like for humans, different foods should be consumed in moderation for dogs too! And lastly, to avoid dogs begging, do not feed them directly from the table. Place the foods in their bowls as usual or use a treats after tricks or good behaviors!
We would love to see your dogs! Please share a photo of your dog on our social media pages with the hashtag #OurFamilyPets and have a blast celebrating National Dog Day with your favorite dog!
"This medical and/or nutritional information is not intended to be a substitute for individual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider (or in this case, veterinarian) with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition."
Stephanie Edson Regional Wellness Specialist
Stephanie is an award-winning registered dietitian who believes in empowering every individual to make nutritious food choices to support a healthy lifestyle. She believes in the power of food as medicine and loves sharing about nutrition with others.