Most people have learned about the many things that can be bad to feed your dog. But there are some human foods that can actually help pets with common ailments such as itchy skin, diarrhea or if they are just feeling dull. Below we discuss foods and other remedies that can alleviate symptoms of these problems, as well as provide health benefits to your pet.
What to Feed: Foods to Help with Dry Skin and Coats
If your dog suffers from dry skin or a dull coat, essential fatty acids - such as in salmon and sardines - can be a great solution. These foods have anti-inflammatory properties and contain omegas, which makes them good for a dog’s heart and joints as well as for their skin. You can also give these fatty acids to your dog in the form of fish oil, which you can do by adding a little bit to their regular food.
What to Feed: Natural Treatment for Diarrhea
Dr. Marty Goldstein, a veterinarian renowned for his natural dog food and other remedies, teaches about an old folk medicine remedy for dogs who are experiencing diarrhea. Combine white and sweet potatoes with a slice of turnip, plus a slice of leek (note: do not add the leek if using this remedy for a cat). Boil up the concoction and give it to your dog with about 30% chicken. Feed it to your dog for about 5 to 7 days and you should see their stool return to normal. Another home remedy for diarrhea is a meal made up of 50% pumpkin (simple puree) and 50% chicken.
What to Feed: Foods to Help Build Healthy Teeth and Gums
To help a dog’s teeth and gums, marrow bones are good. But be sure to feed these bones under supervision as an enthusiastic dog could break their teeth on it. Raw neck bones are even better but be sure that they are raw. Cooking neck bones causes them to split more easily and they could possibly fracture and get caught inside your dog’s throat. Bully sticks are also good as well. With bigger dogs you can even toss them a carrot, dogs love eating them, and they are great exercise for their jaws.
What to Feed: Fighting Ear Infections Naturally for Dogs
Ear infections are sadly very prominent in our pet population, with veterinarians reporting as many as 40% of their patients coming in for an ear infection – especially those infections that appear as waxy, brown, dry and smelly residue coming from the ears. To treat, take about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and put it into 1/3 cup of water, then draw into a dropper and put a few drops in your dog’s ear. Watch your dog carefully to see if it irritates the ear, if it does then do not do the treatment again. If all is okay, continue to treat with the apple cider vinegar but the infection doesn’t clear up in 2 or 3 days, take your dog to a veterinarian.
What to Feed: Foods That Help with Cancer Prevention
Cancer has invaded our pet population and way too many of them die from it every year. According to Dr. Marty, it’s proven that green leafy vegetables and broccoli, as well as red and yellow vegetables, which are high in antioxidants, can help prevent cancer. Fish oil is good for its anti-cancer properties as well.
What to Feed: The Healing Properties of Aloe
Another great thing for dogs and other pets is aloe. Some vets recommend that every household should have an aloe plant. You can use it if your dog has dry skin or receives a burn, or for any other kind of skin irritation, including a dry and chapped nose. Simply break off a piece of the plant and squeeze out the get straight from the leaf. Apply it gently to the affected area and as always watch to ensure there is no adverse reaction before treating again.
What Not to Feed: Understanding Which Foods to Avoid
While some human foods are fine for dogs, there are some you should never feed your pet as they can be toxic and even dangerous.
What Not to Feed: Avoid Any Foods Made with Xylitol
Xylitol has become more prevalent thanks to diets, such as keto, that have people searching for alternatives to sugar. It is a sugar alcohol found in some fruits and vegetable and is being seen in more and more food items, even peanut butter. If ingested by a dog it can lead to dangerously low blood sugar, which can be fatal.
What Not to Feed: The Toxicity of Chocolate
Chocolate is perhaps the most famous food that cannot be fed to dogs as it is extremely dangerous to them. This is because it contains theobromine, which is so incredibly toxic that you may have even heard stories about dogs accidentally being fed chocolate and dying within hours.
Be very, very careful and watch out for your dog during family mealtimes, around children, or even during special occasions and holidays where there might be chocolate treats around. Also be sure to give instructions to any person that watches your pet who is unfamiliar with dogs. Ensure they understand that they must not allow the dog to get into anything that contains chocolate.
If you ever suspect there’s a chance that your dog has ingested chocolate, go to your vet immediately. It is absolutely serious enough that it will be better to be safe than sorry.
What Not to Feed: Coffee Beans
Coffee beans react to dogs similarly to the way they react to humans, but more severely. They are more toxic to a dog’s system than to a human’s. While a cup of strong coffee may give a human shaky hands and a little bit of extra energy, a pet eating the equivalent amount of coffee could suffer from more serious symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and an increased heart rate.
What Not to Feed: The Dangers of Onions and Garlic
As part of the onion family, garlic and all types of onions contain something called a thiosulphate. It is a chemical that causes sever anemia in cats especially. This is why you cannot use the home remedy above that has leeks for cats, you must take the leek out as leeks are part of the onion family and contain thiosulphate.
What Not to Feed: Raisins, Grapes and Macadamia Nuts
Raisins and grapes are also very dangerous to dogs, though it’s not yet known exactly what it is in them that causes the issue. It’s not as severe as something like chocolate so it’s possible that if a dog eats only one or two, they might be okay. But it is always wise to check with your vet if you suspect anything could be wrong.
Macadamia nuts are another food that dogs like which may not be good for them. These nuts can cause issues such as mobility problems including ataxia, which is an abnormal and unsteady gait. These nuts can also cause muscle incoordination in dogs.
Always be aware of what your dog is eating and what kinds of foods can cause problems. Even when feeding foods that are supposed to be okay, always watch your dog for any signs of distress and seek help from a veterinarian.
But remember that it is entirely possible to treat some ailments using medicinal foods. Learn which ones can help and use them with care. If done correctly, you can provide relief to your dog using simple, natural nutrients.