Dogs can eat many things in moderation because while they taste good, they aren’t really good for them. Crackers are an example of a food that they love but you should be careful of the excessive salt that is on crackers. The salt will make them thirsty and the dry crackers will add to the thirst issue.
There are many foods like this; a small amount of it isn’t really a problem but if it becomes an everyday treat, then it can add up to be a major issue in short order. High sodium diets can cause cardiovascular issues, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Yes, dogs get these things too.
Dogs can actually have a lot of the same ailments as humans and they are also caused by diet. An unhealthy diet is eventually going to catch up with you, whether you are a human or a dog. In the case of dogs, they rely on us to make the best choices for them. Let’s face it, they are at our mercy. What we put in their bowl is what they have to eat or go without. They also follow their nose and naturally will try to talk us out of things they shouldn’t have. It is up to humans to be able to tell them ‘no’ sometimes.
Call it tough love, but you really shouldn’t give your dog crackers all the time … or ice cream, cookies, and buttered popcorn with salt. These sorts of things won’t harm them once. Even once per month would be okay. Daily, however, will definitely lead to health issues.
Most foods are okay for dogs in moderation but some foods are definitely off limits.
Don’t ever feed your dog any of these:
- Macadamia nuts, almonds, pecans, or walnuts – these are toxic and they can also cause choking. Almonds are sharp and can cause damage to their throats.
- Apple seeds – these contain cyanide which is highly toxic and can kill some animals, including dogs.
- Grapes or raisins -These are highly toxic to dogs. A small handful of grapes can cause the kidneys to shut down completely within two hours. Do not let them eat grapes.
- Raw eggs – Salmonella is a potential risk.
- Bones – All bones are choking hazards, they can break and split and the sharp pieces can cut the stomach and intestines.
- Cinnamon – It’s bad for them and can even cause problems if they inhale it. They will reverse sneeze and gasp for air. Don’t let dogs have cinnamon.
Dogs have several other foods that they shouldn’t be given often, in fact, they should be given only rarely. These are high in fat, sugar, salt or vitamins that can overload their systems. They include:
- Butter – Very high in fat and a dairy product that can cause diarrhea.
- Meat fat – The fat can be a carcinogenic depending on the cooking method. Causes weight gain.
- Broccoli – Overloads them in vitamins and can overwhelm their body.
- Dairy – Diarrhea risk. This includes cheese, milk, yogurt, and butter.
- Canned fish – High levels of mercury can make this bad over time. Moderation. Fresh fish is much better, typically.
- Sugar – Not good over the long-term. Small amounts, rarely.
- Salt – Can cause heart disease and high blood pressure. Watch for increased thirst. Salt can be dehydrating.
- Spicy or hot foods – Causes indigestion in many cases, be watchful.
- Citrus – Can cause acid indigestion.
Be careful not to give your dog too many of these things as they will upset their stomach. Dogs get acid indigestion. Dogs also get very bad diarrhea. Do not feed them too much of a good thing because it may not be that good in the end.
Moderation is a word that you should always keep in mind. A bite or two of something is really enough. Giving them a bowl of ice cream is a bad idea. Especially if they may be lactose intolerant. Dogs can have the same issues with dairy that some adult humans have. Dairy products can give them gas and diarrhea. It’s not fun for them and it is no fun living with them with this issue either.
Dogs can gag if they get a mouthful of dry food like crackers too. It’s a good idea that you think ahead and make sure that you have water ready to give them. They won’t know what is going to happen when they gulp down crackers. You do. Be prepared for them.
Dogs especially enjoy animal crackers and these are awful as whole but you can get by with just a few at one time. Some people use them as special treats for doing things that are especially good. Dogs can have Ritz crackers with some peanut butter on them once-in-awhile too. Again, make sure there is plenty of water available so that they don’t choke. This mix is sticky and thick to swallow. Dogs can have a hard time with it. The should always have access to fresh clean water at all times anyway.
Dogs also appreciate homemade treats, which are much like crackers. You can control how much of each ingredient is added, keeping salt and sugar completely out of the mix if you like. You can add peanut butter, CBD oil or turmeric if you have a dog with a chronic pain issue, and any other fruits or berries you like.
Dogs love blueberry treats and blueberries are full of antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are suspected to be one of the primary precursors to cancer. At the very least, we know that blueberries boost the immune system and dogs love them.
Dogs can eat some corn and it is an ingredient that is often found in large amounts in many dog food brands. Dog foods are typically very bland and have a consistency similar to cracker meal. They are sprayed with animal fat before they go in the bag at most factories.
This makes them a little greasy but dogs love the smell. This can be misleading because they may love the smell of the animal fat, like bacon grease, but that doesn’t mean the food is good. When you make them treats or crackers, you will absolutely know exactly what is in them and that they are safe — better than the other crackers by a long shot.
Some people opt to dehydrate fresh fruits, veggies and cuts of meat for snacks. Getting a dehydrator is a fantastic investment to make delicious dog treats that keep for a long time and don’t include any harmful ingredients like salt and sugar. You can freeze vegetables and give them to your dog as a cold snack in place of crackers as well. If you have a teething puppy, they love cold carrots sticks.
You may want to go the extra mile and make your dog fresh meals that you can store and feed for a week at a time. Most people don’t have time to make daily dog meals, but making a batch of food each week and feeding them from this is very possible for most people.
Many recipes for dog food can be found with your friendly search engine. Some recipes will be geared more toward vegetables and beans, some will have more meat. Remember that your dog is not a vegetarian and really needs meat to have a healthy and balanced diet.
Steer clear of sausages and smoked meats. Cured meats and smoked meats will have very high levels of salt. Pork is not bad for dogs but has a tendency to be salted and higher in fat. Dogs need lean meat that has been trimmed of fats and not overly salted.
Dogs do very well with lamb, beef, chicken, and turkey as long as they don’t have any allergies to any of these types of meats. Rice is a grain that can be added to help them with enough fiber, but you can also add sweet potato, pumpkin, and apples for some fiber as well. Dogs love apples as long as you remove all of the seeds.
You may not have time to completely replace their meals with real food and that is understandable. Creating some treats for them that they can have, that is also good for them, is a great way to enhance their diet, make them feel excited to have something new in their daily routine, and help them boost their immune system as well.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.