Who doesn’t love sharing a meal with a good friend. And who can resist the longing looks we get from our pooch when we’re trying to eat dinner? But not all human food is safe for dogs. In fact, some can be toxic.
So what human foods are good for dogs? Are there any human foods that are healthy for dogs? The answer is a definite “Yes!”
First a word of caution. Whenever we introduce a new food to our Dane’s diet we need to do it slowly. Give only small portions at first, like one or two bites. Then wait a day and observe to see if there are any changes in your dog’s behavior or stool before offering any more of the new treat.
Let’s start our countdown with a well known “health food” for us, but you might not think of as healthy for your dog.
We all know that oatmeal is good for us – it’s the definition of breakfast health food. If your dog isn’t sensitive to grains oatmeal can be a great topping for your dog’s dry food. It has lots of vitamins and minerals and is an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Avoid flavored instant oatmeal that comes in the little paper envelopes. They’re loaded with sugar and other additives. Just stick with the good old-fashioned rolled oats. If you want to get fancy you could make it with chicken broth instead of water. This wouldn’t be my choice for an oatmeal flavor but Lucy likes it.
Apple slices are a sweet treat that contain vitamins A and C. Be sure to slice the apple up and don’t let them eat the core. The seeds naturally contain cyanide and while they would likely pass through your Dane’s system without breaking down, there’s no reason to take that risk. (I think we all have stories of things that we’ve found in the backyard that have made it through our Great Dane’s system unscathed.)
#8 Sweet Potatoes
Served cooked and unseasoned sweet potatoes good source of fiber, vitamin A and other nutrients. If your Dane has a sensitive digestive system, sweet potatoes can help settle an upset tummy.
#7 Green Beans
Lucy is very lean, we sometimes call her the “Super Model.” But if your Great Dane is a little on the hefty side and could stand to lose a couple pounds (and really, couldn’t we all), green beans can be a solution. These high-fiber, low-cal treats are filling but won’t pack on the pounds. Their shape closely resembles that of french fries which is one of Lucy’s favorites. But my guess is after the first bite there will be no confusion.
I’ve been known to share my cheese omelette with Lucy on occasion, as you can see in the photo at the top of this article. And whenever I have fried eggs for breakfast I make it a point to leave a little extra yolk on my plate and let Lucy clean the plate. She always comes up licking her lips.
Eggs are a great source of dense protein as well as essential fatty and amino acids. Eggs can help give a shinny coat and have even been known to help settle an upset stomach.
There are some who offer a raw egg to their dog – shell and all. While this is probably OK, I can’t say I’d recommend it. You run the risk of salmonella if you run into a bad egg and unless you feed this in the backyard it’s going to make a mess. So I suggest offering your Dane a cooked or hard-boiled egg – less risk and less mess.
Similar to sweet potatoes, pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A and fiber.
If your dog is having digestive issues (like diarrhea or constipation) you’ll find that many vets will prescribe adding a small amount of canned pumpkin to your dog’s food (no pumpkin pie spices or sugars – just plain canned pumpkin puree).
You can get canned pumpkin specifically formulated for dogs as a treat or dietary supplement.
Here’s another good treat for you pup that needs to shed a few pounds. Carrots are an excellent source of Potassium, fiber, vitamin A and other vitamins. The AKC recommends carrots as and affordable and nutritious snack. Chewing on carrots is also good for your Dane’s teeth.
PRO TIP: Some vets suggest frozen carrots for teething puppies. You can freeze large carrots and make cheap, edible chew toys for your adult Dane.
Most dogs LOVE cheese. I’ll be honest, Lucy will often reject cheese (she can be very finicky). If your Dane isn’t lactose intolerant, cheese is a great treat.
Cheese contains calcium, protein, vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and B-complex vitamins. But it’s also high in fat, so just like for you and me, it should be eaten in moderation.
Steer clear of cheese with flavoring like garlic or onion which can be toxic to dogs. The best cheeses for dogs are low-fat cheeses, like cottage cheese or mozzarella.
This is one of Lucy’s favorites. We will often boil up a bunch of chicken breasts and have them in the refrigerator handy to add to the top of Lucy’s food or as a training treat.
Unseasoned chicken is easy to digest. It’s one of the first solid foods we feed our Danes when they’re puppies.
Caution: Always take the chicken off the bone. Never give your Dane (or any dog) cooked chicken bones. Cooked chicken bones can splinter and cause choking or all kinds of problems in their digestive tract.
And the #1 Human Food that’s healthy for your Great Dane is…
#1 Peanut Butter
This is by far Lucy’s favorite human food, or any other food for that matter. Lucky for her peanut butter is full of protein, healthy fats, vitamins B &E, and niacin.
Unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter is the best, but that’s not my favorite so it’s not likely going to be laying around my house. We use Skippy Natural, it has only 4 ingredients, and I can pronounce them all, which is always a good thing.
One of the best things about peanut butter is how long it lasts. Put some peanut butter in a Kong or bone and watch your Great Dane work it for hours. West Paw has a cool ZogoFlex toy you can stuff with peanut butter as well.
Here’s a fun game – give your Dane a tablespoon of peanut butter, sit back and count how many licks it takes before they clean it off the roof of their mouth. The world may never know.
Caution: Some peanut butter manufacturers have started using an artificial sweetener called Xylitol. Xyliton is a sugar-free sweetener commonly found in things like breath mints, chewing gum and toothpaste. It’s OK for humans but toxic for dogs – please read the label! (read more about the dangers of xylitol from the AKC here.)
So get out your jar of peanut butter (check that it doesn’t contain xylitol) and let the healthy fun begin!
The Bottom Line
- Sharing food with your Great Dane can be fun, but be sure you know it’s OK for dogs before offering a morsel.
- Offer only small portions at first, wait a day and check to see how well your Dane tolerates the new food.
- Never make big changes to your dogs diet. Always introduce new foods slowly.
- Don’t share your fork if anyone is watching.
Tell us what foods you like to share with your Great Dane in the comments below.
Remember we’re in this together!