Is your dog a snack-a-holic? Would you love to share your nibbles with him or her, but worry the food may not be the best choices for your furry friend? You are not alone. Countless numbers of pet parents feel the same way and are looking for healthy alternatives to those pre-package processed dog treats (especially since so many have been making the recall list lately). Here is a list of 9 totally healthy snacks you can feel good about sharing with your lovable pup.
Cheese isn’t just for mice, dogs can benefit from the added protein, calcium, vitamins A and B and the essential fatty acids (great for a healthy coat and skin) that cheese has to offer. However, cheese is also a source of lactose which some dogs (and people) have a hard time digesting. This is referred to as lactose intolerance, which can lead to gas, bloating, diarrhea and stomach upset. If you notice your dog has these symptoms after eating cheese, you may want to keep this dairy product just for yourself (and the occasional mouse).
The Nest has taken cheese and added some extra ingredients to make Cheese Sticks and Bacon Cheeseburger Sticks for dogs. These recipes are simple and will have your dog begging for more of that cheesy goodness.
Baby Carrots – Love that Crrrunch
This veggie is known for its Vitamin A and Beta Carotene. These are important for a healthy coat and skin as well as building body tissue and maintaining healthy kidney, lung and liver functions. The classic crunchiness of the carrot will also go to work cleaning all those little bits of grunge from your dog’s teeth.
To get the most out of a carrot, toss a small chunk of this yummy veg (raw) to your dog as a reward or just a nice snack.
Want to kick up the carrot with a fabulous combination of applesauce, egg and a bit of flour? My Baking Addiction has the recipe for these canine-craving cookies (and others).
Gone-to-the-Dogs Green Beans
Dogs love the crispy goodness of a good bean. With its low-caloric and filling properties, this veggie is a hit among dogs and their pet parents. One or two fresh or cooked green beans is a nice additive to dry kibble or served as a treat.
Looking for a DIY recipe for green bean biscuits? Baking With Junior (he’s a pooch) takes this veggie and combines it with flour, broth, non-fat milk and cheese to make a yummy canine cookie that is sure to please (not for lactose sensitive tummies).
Cooked Chicken Chunks
Great as a meal replacement or an added kick of protein, a few small cubes of chicken breast is a healthy choice. However, just be sure to keep the spices and sauces off of the meat as onions and garlic (often found in these) can be toxic to dogs.
Chicken itself can get a little boring, so why not kick-it-up a notch and make some DIY doggy chicken jerky? There are a number of great recipes online, one of our favorites is at Dog Treat Kitchen.com and is as simple as cutting the fowl into thin strips and baking it in a low-temp oven for a couple of hours – easy-peasy chicken-squeezy.
Salmon, It’s Not Just for Cats
This fish is an excellent source of protein as well as Omega 3 Fatty Acids which is great for a shiny coat and to support a healthy immune system. Depending on the size of your dog, a few small chunks of either canned or fresh cooked salmon will have your dog racing the cat to the kitchen.
Dr. Ward DVM has come up with an excellent, delicious and easy biscuit recipe using only three ingredients; canned salmon, oat or quinoa flour and some parsley. It’s too simple not to give it a try.
The Sticky Goodness of Peanut Butter
Most dogs love peanut butter. This sticky stuff may be a bit messy, but it’s loaded with protein, healthy fats, niacin and Vitamins B and E. However, when choosing a peanut butter, stick to the all-natural over the ones with added sugar and salt. These can be found at most health food stores or in the “all-natural” section of grocery outlets.
Peanut butter is also versatile enough to use in many treat recipes like this one by the Food Network’s own Giada De Laurentiis. It not only uses the wholesome goodness of peanut butter, but has oats, chicken broth and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese for an added yummy kick.
Amp ‘Em Up With Apples
Apples can be considered one of nature’s candies and is a great source of antioxidants and Vitamin C which, according to doctors Foster and Smith, can actually help reduce joint pain and urinary tract infections in your canine companion. In addition, the crunching action can whisk away all that unwanted, plaque-causing debris on your dog’s teeth.
To serve apples to your pup you can just slice, dice or chunk them up – a few pieces makes a great reward after a command well done. Or you can try your hand at The Cookie Rookie’s Oat and Pretzel Dog Treats. These fun little biscuits add a twist of taste by using applesauce, oats, oat flour and eggs to make a wholesome snack for your (sure-to-be drooling) pooch.
This root veggie is a natural source of Vitamins B6 and C, beta carotene and manganese, which all support a healthy immune system. A couple of small chunks can be served cooked or dehydrated. Yes! They can be turned into “jerky.”
The Humane Society of the United States has given us the key to sweet-tator jerky – it’s all in the slicing and the slow bake. Dogs love these and they make a healthy choice over those prepackaged, preservative-laden ones.
Is your dog is prone to tummy troubles? Eggs are a highly digestible protein that can be used as a temporary substitute. They can also be scrambled and placed on top of your dog’s regular kibble as a warm breakfast treat or served alone.
Eggs have many health benefits including high protein and fatty acids which are awesome for a healthy coat and skin. Eggs can be found in many dog treat recipes so they can get its natural benefits in many forms; however, it is not recommended to feed dogs raw eggs as it can lead to stomach upset.
With so many natural snacks for your dog it is easy to keep your pooches tastebuds tantalized. Try these healthy alternatives over the store-boughten ones, your dog will be healthier and happier for it, plus you’ll feel good about supplying your canine companion with nothing but the best.