Fido doesn’t have much in common with wolves or coyotes. Sure, he’ll happily gnaw through bones, chase balls and even play fetch. And while you might think that means he’d be good at catching bugs, Fido probably isn’t quite as skilled as his canine counterparts. After all, he has thumbs.
But don’t worry, there are plenty of healthy snacks that both wolf and pup would enjoy. Perhaps most importantly, you should know that dogs aren’t picky when it comes to food. They’re omnivores, after all which means they consume plants and animals (like meat) along with their regular meals of fruits and veggies.
So what kinds of foods should you feed your pooch if you want him to stay healthy?
Well, before we get into specific recommendations, let’s talk about how many different types of fruits and vegetables dogs actually do eat. We’ve already mentioned that they’ll devour pretty much any type of bone you throw at them. Their penchant for bones also makes sense since they need strong teeth to chew up tough prey, so giving them something hard to break apart helps keep those pearly whites nice and white.
As far as vegetables go, dogs will happily munch on broccoli, carrots and spinach because they’re high in vitamin A. This vitamin promotes healthy skin and eyesight, especially in older dogs. Even though they won’t necessarily show signs of enjoying these leafy treats, it’s still important to give your pet a fresh serving of green stuff each day.
And speaking of greens, dogs also love tomatoes. In fact, they’ll gobble up slices of raw tomato right off the vine. If you’ve ever seen one of those commercials where two people share a platter of sliced tomatoes, you may have wondered why someone would serve a vegetable to a dog.
However, tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant compound known for fighting cancer and heart disease. It’s also packed with vitamins C and K, which help strengthen your pet’s immune system.
Aside from fruits and veggies, there are other things that dogs will eat that you might not expect. Take grapes, for example. While they’re naturally sweet enough to satisfy humans’ cravings, dogs find them too sour to eat straight out of the hand. To make grape kibble palatable for your dog, you’ll need to add sugar or salt to its recipe. Grapes are also rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, compounds with proven health benefits.
Bananas Are Good For You
If you ask a lot of dog owners and veterinarians, you’re likely to hear the same response over and over again: Bananas are great for your dog. When it comes to nutrition, this superfood beats out everything else by miles. Not only does the ripe yellow fruit provide essential nutrients, but eating it also improves digestion and relieves constipation. Plus, the fiber content of bananas keeps your pup feeling full longer, making them ideal for snacking between meals.
In addition to being loaded with potassium and B6, bananas are also filled with folate (vitamin B9). Folates supply your body with energy and promote cell growth, while vitamin B9 enhances blood flow and circulation. On top of that, bananas are a natural source of magnesium, manganese and copper. These minerals work together to maintain proper muscle function, regulate nerve impulses and improve metabolism.
While bananas are great for your dog, they’re not perfect. Like us, dogs don’t always get the best varieties available. Some popular banana varieties include Cavendish, Red Jersey and Fuji. But depending on your preference, they can range anywhere from small to large, red to yellow, soft to firm, etc., making it difficult to choose a particular variety that works well for everyone.
Luckily, there are ways around this problem. First, make sure you buy frozen bananas instead of canned ones. Since bananas are notoriously messy to peel, you’ll end up wasting lots of good bananas if you use canned versions. Also, stick to the darker varieties, such as Golden or Green, since they tend to be more nutritious than lighter-colored specimens.
Finally, pay attention to your dog’s reaction to the banana once it reaches his lips. If he shows little interest, try cutting the banana into smaller pieces and mixing it with peanut butter. Peanut butter contains monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial to the liver and heart.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average adult human consumes roughly 1,400 calories daily, while a medium-sized dog eats about 400 calories per meal. That means Fido needs about half as much food as you do! Of course, you shouldn’t compare your dog to yourself. Just remember that the amount of calories he needs depends on his size, breed, exercise level and activity.
The Best Banana Snacks For Your Dog
Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a special dessert, you’ll definitely want to try incorporating some bananas into your dog’s diet. Here are a few simple recipes involving bananas.
Dogs seem to particularly appreciate moist baked goods, so it’s no surprise that banana bread ranks among their favorites. If you bake often, this is a great way to incorporate bananas into your cooking routine. There are tons of banana bread recipes online, but here’s a basic version you can adapt to fit your tastes.
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup mashed banana
Mix dry ingredients first, then gradually blend wet ingredients until smooth. Pour batter into greased loaf pan, sprinkle with additional brown sugar and put in oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius). Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
When preparing muffins or pancakes, simply substitute applesauce for part of the eggs. Or, if you prefer, you can replace the eggs entirely with mashed bananas. Instead of using oil in the recipe, soak whole wheat flour in milk and then mash the mixture with a fork. Then fold in the beaten eggs, yogurt and vanilla extract.
This classic recipe calls for minced onions, garlic and chives, but you can swap them out for other herbs and spices to suit your palate. Try substituting basil leaves for the onion trio, or swapping lemon pepper seasoning for the usual salt and pepper. Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch dried thyme
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Mix remaining ingredients and form into a loaf shape on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until thermometer registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius).Serve with marinara sauce made with crushed tomatoes.
Of course, your dog wouldn’t be very happy if you served him a bowl of chips. Luckily, there are several delicious recipes out there that involve bananas. One option uses corn tortillas that you cut into strips. Simply sauté the tortilla strips in olive oil until crisp. Next, chop the cooked tortillas into bite-sized pieces and toss them with melted cheese or salsa.
Add diced tomatoes and freeze overnight. Once they’re thoroughly chilled, place chips in resealable plastic bags and thaw for three days. Remove from bag, drain excess liquid and garnish with avocado. Another method involves melting unsalted popcorn kernels in a microwave. Once popped, pour onto wax paper and cool completely. Then, slice the popcorn in sections and coat with oil. Next, dust with seasoned salt, chili powder, paprika and black pepper.
As long as you take care in selecting the right banana variety, your pup should enjoy these recipes just fine. Now that you understand how to cook with bananas, be sure to check out more fun activities for kids and families.
You don’t have to limit your dog’s intake of bananas to treats. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, consuming one entire banana provides your pet with the equivalent of 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. If he ate the whole thing at once, Fido could suffer severe stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea.