Why are healthy dog treat recipes so important? Really, there’s nothing better than knowing that you have provided the very best for your faithful furry friend.
Before you can give your dog a treat, you have to know what ingredients to avoid. This list will help you to avoid potentially dangerous dog treats. In addition, we have alternatives suggested for each item on the list.
Dog treat ingredients to avoid:
- Baby Food. This is OK in small amounts. But, keep in mind that baby food may contain onions or onion powder. It may also contain sugar and salt, which should be avoided in a dog’s diet.
Alternative: Mashed potatoes, mashed zucchini or even mashed carrots. All very healthy ingredients for your dog! Boil them on low-medium heat for about 20 minutes, then cool and mash with a fork.
- Cheese and Milk. These are not foods poisonous to dogs. However, you should know that some dogs are sensitive to dairy products. Some even to the point of being lactose intolerant.
Alternative: Low fat yogurt or cottage cheese are the safest dairy options. In limited amounts, are great sources of calcium and the doggies just love it!
- Chocolate. Even though your dog may want a taste of your chocolate, avoid those tempting puppy dog eyes. Chocolate, in all of its forms, can make very dangerous dog treats. The result may be as small as vomiting or diarrhea, but depending on the type and amount consumed, it may also lead to abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and in severe instances, death. With so many yummy dog treats available, skip the chocolate all together.
Alternative: Use carob! Yes carob is harmless, and when cut in small pieces can safely be given to dogs as treats. Some people actually use carob powder as “faux chocolate” in doggy muffins.
- Onions. Onions have the ability to cause changes in red blood cells, possibly damaging them and causing anemia. Even though you only have a cause for concern if it is eaten in a very large amount, play it safe and avoid all onion products.
Alternative: You can use any of the allowed vegetables for dogs in their food, as mentioned above. Carrots, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes, are all good and perfectly safe for your pooch.
- Raisins and Grapes. Unfortunately we don’t know much about why these are foods poisonous to dogs, but we do know that they are. With so many other healthy choices of ingredients to bake homemade dog treats, don’t risk it by adding either to your recipes.
Alternative: Stick to safe fruits for dogs, like bananas or sweet potatoes. Be sure to avoid any fruit with pits. To spice up any baked treats you can use a dash of cinnamon. Check out a recipe for dog cinnamon biscuits here.
- Salt. Why do you put salt on your food? It’s for flavor right? Well dogs have a lot less taste buds than we do. They get the “taste” of food through their incredible sense of smell. So, because of this, salt is just unnecessary. Also salt, in large amounts, can lead to kidney issues for your dog, and possibly pose a risk for the development of a sodium ion toxicity.
Alternative: You can add flavor to the food with chicken or meat broth (made from boiling chicken/meat, and not from chicken stock).
- Sugar and Sweeteners. Sugar and sweeteners are similar to salt, just not needed, and not missed. But that’s not the only reason sugar should be avoided. Some experts believe that continuous feeding of sugar can lead to hypoglycemia, obesity and tooth decay. Also artificial sweeteners are on the list of toxic food for dogs.
Alternative: Give small quantities of sugar-free peanut butter, or fruit safe for dogs, e.g. bananas or mashed sweet potatoes.
Learn how to evaluate your dog’s dry food ingredients here.