(Arianna Pittman, One Green Planet) You often hear about foods that are toxic to dogs and cats such as grapes, chocolate, nuts, caffeine, and avocado, but what about human foods that are actually good for them?
Just like us, pets benefit from a healthy, well-balanced diet, and incorporating whole foods helps contribute to their overall health.
There are plenty of fresh foods that you can incorporate into your dog or cat’s diet, but before you start, remember to introduce new foods slowly, and always feed in moderation to prevent digestive issues and weight gain.
If your pet suffers from food allergies or has a medical condition that requires a special diet, it’s best to discuss options with a traditional or holistic veterinarian before introducing new foods.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has beneficial medium-chain fatty acids, and when given in appropriate amounts, it can aid in digestion, relieve itchy skin, and give your pet a healthy, shiny coat. Pet MD recommends one-quarter teaspoon for small pets and up to one tablespoon for large pets, given up to twice daily with meals.
Adding a small amount of canned pumpkin — one teaspoon to one tablespoon, depending on your pet’s weight — is an easy way to add dietary fiber and minerals like zinc, iron, and potassium to their diet. Make sure you buy 100 percent pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugar and spices that can make pets sick.
Apples have fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, making a great crunchy snack. Remove the peel, core, stem, and seeds, and then chop it into small pieces. You can also put pieces of thinly sliced apple in a food dehydrator to make homemade treats.
This healthy, vitamin-packed antioxidant can be fed fresh or frozen. Sprinkle a few berries on your pet’s food or incorporate them into homemade treats.
Full of potassium, bananas are a naturally sweet treat that can be fed raw or sliced thinly and dehydrated.
This healthy carbohydrate provides fiber and linoleic acid. Serve small amounts of cooked oatmeal with their meal or use ground oats as a base for homemade crunchy treats. Since it’s gentle on the stomach, cooked oatmeal makes a good alternative for pets that are experiencing temporary upset stomach.