Turning Leftovers into Tasty Dog Food
If you’d like to feed your dog a healthier diet and use up table scraps, then you’ve come to the right place. It is possible for your fur baby to eat some human foods; however, other foods we eat can be toxic to dogs or cause other health issues. In this article, we’ll take a look at foods that are safe for dogs, and those that are not safe, and how you can incorporate table scraps into food for your canine companion! First, let’s take a look at human foods dogs can’t eat to get that out of the way.
Why are Table Scraps Bad for Dogs?
When it comes to table scraps it can be highly confusing what is safe or not to give your dog. Plus, when your pup is giving that special look as you and your family eat at the table. His eyes seem to be saying, “Look at how much I adore you! I’m sitting at your feet waiting (sometimes not so patiently!) for a yummy scrap from your plate. Look at how hungry and starved I am!” You know that look! Some dogs even top it off with strings of drool in the hopes you’ll be grossed out enough to give them a piece of food just so they’ll stop!
Most of us fall for these doggie looks of longing, but experts advise care when giving your dog table scraps. Some human foods are OK for dogs, while others can be toxic and/or otherwise unhealthy. Let’s take a look at table scraps that can be bad for your fur baby.
Almonds: these are not toxic for dogs, but they can block a dog’s throat or tear the windpipe if not completely chewed. Salted almonds are very bad because they can cause water retention, which could cause problems from dogs with heart issues, including death.
Bread: dogs love to eat bread, but is it good for them? In small amounts bread is OK, but it doesn’t offer any health benefits for them. Plain bread with no spices or raisins is best. And homemade bread is better than store-bought. Why? Because store-bought bread contains preservatives and other chemicals that are not healthy for dogs.
Cheese: dog can enjoy small amounts of cheese once in a while, as long as your canine companion doesn’t have a dairy allergy or is lactose intolerant. Cheese, depending on the type, can contain high amounts of fat, so giving your dog low-fat versions is a better option. These include mozzarella, cottage cheese, etc.
Chocolate: dogs go wild for chocolate; however, you should never feed your canine chocolate. The reason is due to the substances in chocolate that are toxic for dogs. It contains stimulants that can disrupt a dog’s metabolic process. It can cause diarrhea and vomiting in small amounts, while in larger amounts chocolate can cause seizures, internal bleeding, heat attack, irregular heartbeat and can lead to death. If your pup enjoys chocolate, try giving him carob instead. Carob is made of beans from the carob tree. It’s naturally sweet and has a similar flavor to chocolate. It’s completely safe for dogs.
Cinnamon: this spice isn’t toxic to dogs; however, it can cause irritation (similar to burns) in a dog’s mouth, which could even cause them to get sick. Cinnamon may also lower your pup’s blood sugar too far, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, decreased heart rate and possibly liver disease. If your fur baby inhales cinnamon, it will act as an irritant and cause him to sneeze, cough or even choke.
Garlic: this yummy human spice can be toxic to dogs, just like onions and chives. These are all part of the Allium family. Garlic is 5 times more toxic to dogs than other members of the Allium family. It can cause anemia, pale gums, increased heart rate, weakness or even cause a dog to collapse.
Ice cream: this is another treat dogs should never eat. The reason is because it contains high amounts of sugar and is bad for dogs that have dairy allergies or are lactose intolerant.
Grapes and raisins: are never safe for your dog. These contain toxins that can make your pup sick; they can lead to kidney failure and even death. Even small amounts can make your dog sick.
Onions: like garlic, onions are in the Allium family of plants, which contain compounds that can make dogs sick. Onions can also cause anemia.
Avocado: should never be fed to dogs because it contains a toxin called persin. This can cause fluid retention in a dog’s lungs and chest, making it difficult to breathe. This can lead to oxygen deprivation and even death.
Macadamia nuts: never give these to your fur baby. This is one of the most poisonous foods for dogs. They can cause increased body temperature, vomiting, inability to walk and lethargy. They can also cause problems for a dog’s nervous system.
This is not an exhaustive list of human foods that dogs should not eat. There are many others; however, the list does make you more aware of some of the health issues that your fur baby can develop by eating foods that aren’t safe for him. Some ingredients and foods can even cause death, so it pays to use extreme care if you choose to feed your dog table scraps. This is why you shouldn’t feed your dog human food.
However, having said that, there are human foods that are completely safe and healthy for your canine company!
Human Foods that Dogs Can Eat
Now we’re ready to see what foods are safe for you canine companion to eat! We’ll list the foods quickly and move on to the next section! Again, this list is not exhaustive, but these are come of the more common human foods that are safe for your pup.
- Carrots: safe and healthy cooked or raw; however, make sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces that are appropriate for the size of your dog. You don’t want him to choke on the carrot pieces.
- Peanut butter: healthy and safe for dogs in moderation.
- Eggs: safe and healthy for your fur baby; however, never feed him raw eggs. These may contain bacteria such as Salmonella that can make your dog very ill. He could also pass the illness on to you. Here, think of food poisoning—you and your dog don’t want to go down that road.
- Salmon: safe and healthy: avoid feeding it raw.
- Blueberries: safe and healthy.
- Popcorn: this is a great occasional treat for your fur baby, along as it’s not full of salt and butter.
- Cashews: these are safe for dogs; however, be sure to only give you pup unsalted, roasted nuts as an occasional treat.
- Pineapple: safe for dogs, but in small amounts.
- Watermelon: safe for dogs, but without the rinds and seeds.
- Cottage cheese: safe for dogs that are not allergic or intolerant of dairy products.
- Corn: safe in moderate amounts.
- Green peas: these are safe; however, serve your pup fresh or frozen peas rather than canned. Canned peas are usually full of salt, which can be harmful to dogs if they have too much.
- Oatmeal: served plan, is healthy for your fur baby.
- Apples: healthy for your dog, but don’t let him aet the seeds, which contain cyanide. This can be poisonous in large amounts.
- Broccoli: safe for your canine companion, but in moderation.
- Sweet potatoes: safe in moderation.
- Rice: you can serve your dog plain white or brown cooked rice.
And of course, dogs can safely eat chicken, beef, pork, turkey and other types of meat and fish! Just be careful to avoid using ingredients, such as onions and garlic, that are toxic to dogs.
Homemade Dog Food from Leftovers
When it comes to dog food made from leftovers, what can you fix? Check the fridge and see if you have any of these ingredients already cooked:
- Cheddar or Colby cheese
- Plain, low-fat yogurt
- Steamed/boiled peas, corn, broccoli
- Plain, cooked chicken, lean beef, pork, turkey or fish
- Cooked potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Plain, cooked oatmeal or other grains such as barley, etc.
- Peanut butter
- Cooked rice
Here’s are some recipe ideas to make with table scraps!
Beef, Barley and Broccoli Casserole For Dogs
This is a recipe you’ll love, too! It’s high in fiber and is easily digestible for your fur baby!
½ teaspoon olive oil
600 g stewed beef
2 carrots (can use raw or those already cooked) diced
1 celery stick, diced
400 g tinned chopped tomatoes (these are safe for dogs!)
400 ml homemade stock or water
80 g pearl barley
175g broccoli, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons parsley or oregano, finely chopped
1). Warm oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the beef, carrots and celery, cook for five minutes.
2). Pour in tomatoes and stock or water, bring to a simmer. Add the barley, return to a simmer, lower the heat, cover and cook for one hour if using raw beef and barley is uncooked. Otherwise, heat until warmed through.
3). Add the broccoli and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in herbs. Cool before serving.
- If using raw ingredients, this can be made in the slow cooker—just cook for about 8 hours on low, or in a pressure cooker on high for 25-30 minutes.
- Food will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, or in the freezer for 4 months.
Here’s another easy recipe to use with leftovers!
Homemade Dog Food
1 lb lean ground beef
½ lb ground chicken
½ lb ground turkey
1 lb baby carrots
2 small baking potatoes
3 cups brown rice
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1). Cook all the meat together in a large 6-quart Dutch oven.
2). Add rice, chicken broth and water, then cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.
3). Add potatoes and carrots, slightly beaten eggs, and cook for another 20-30 minutes.
4). After cooking, place the homemade dog food in containers of your choice. Can freeze for up to 3 months or keep in the fridge 3-4 days.
Who knew feeding your dog leftovers could be this good! Other ideas are scrambled, or boiled eggs combined with some yummy veggies, etc. Just make sure all the ingredients are doggie-safe before using them in your fur baby’s food.