Most people enjoy eating all sorts of different foods on a regular basis. As we try new things, we open ourselves up to new experiences that provide us with much delight. Oftentimes, we want to share these experiences with other people or even our pets. Dogs tend to love food just as much as humans do, but just because a dog is willing to eat something doesn’t mean it’s healthy for them to do so. In fact, there are quite a few food items which dogs will happily eat but that could cause them discomfort later on down the road.
Dogs may love to eat human food, but the fact is that a healthy diet for dogs is not the same thing as a healthy diet for humans. Let’s go over some of the typical foods which a dog should eat in its daily life to maintain its health and happiness for years to come.
What is a Healthy Diet for Dogs?
Much like people, not all dogs respond the same way to different foods. However, there are some general rules of thumb that apply to most dogs just like there are general rules that apply to most humans. Obviously, if you or your animal has any food allergies then foods with those allergens should always be avoided to prevent allergic reactions from occurring. Make sure you read labels carefully to avoid foods that your dog is allergic to.
Aside from allergy concerns, there are also dog foods which are formulated specifically for the size, age, and activity level of your pet. The best foods for your dog will change throughout their lives as they grow older or become sedentary. One of the most important things to look for when reading a dog food label is an AAFCO approval. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a private, non-profit corporation which works with local, state, and federal agencies to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds (including cat and dog foods).
In addition to approving the safety of dog food, the AAFCO also sets nutritional standards to ensure that the food is healthy. They look for things like macronutrient profiles (protein, carbohydrate, and fat percentages) to ensure the food is both safe and healthy for the dog. Dog food with the stamp of approval from AAFCO should always be chosen over those without it.
An additional consideration for your dog’s diet is their preferences. While many dogs will eat just about anything put in front of them, some dogs are much pickier. Generally, the easiest solution (while not the cheapest) is to switch to wet food over dry kibble if your dog isn’t eating all their food. You can also mix wet and dry food together to cut down on costs and provide your pet with a pleasant variation of textures. This is also a good way to supplement additional nutrients that may not be present in one or the other of the foods you feed your dog.
Human food is generally not recommended for dogs, but there are plenty of items which are healthy and enjoyable for dogs to eat. What about mushrooms though?
Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?
The short answer to this question is yes, mushrooms are safe for dogs to heat. However, it is important to understand that not all mushrooms are safe for dogs. Just like many mushrooms are unsafe for humans, so too are those not safe for dogs. Mushrooms which you find in the store are generally safe for both humans and dogs. Wild mushrooms, on the other hand, should be avoided by both you and your pet. Many wild mushrooms can be poisonous, impacting the digestive system causing vomiting or diarrhea.
As long as the mushroom is not poisonous, mushrooms are generally a good source of protein and vitamins that can be safely fed to your dog. They may not be the best treats though as many dogs aren’t big fans of raw mushrooms and additives used to cook mushrooms like oil or butter are not very healthy for your pup. There are many different types of mushrooms that can be found in stores which provide various health benefits for you and your dog. The two most common mushrooms and their benefits are as follows:
- Button Mushrooms – Probably the most common mushroom (sometimes even called a ‘common mushroom’ by name) the button mushroom is safe and healthy for both dogs and humans. They provide many B vitamins in addition to selenium, copper, potassium, and phosphorus.
- Shiitake Mushrooms – More expensive than button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms are a great source of protein, copper, iron, and fiber among other nutrients. They are renowned for their chewy, meaty texture and great health benefits.
As a general rule of thumb for mushrooms, if it’s safe for a human to eat it, it should be safe for a dog as well. This isn’t true for all foods such as chocolate which is notoriously dangerous for dogs. While mushrooms are healthy and safe for dogs, they may not be a great treat for them due to their rather unappealing nature to most dogs. There are other foods which are great treats for dogs that your pet is more likely to enjoy.
What Foods are Good Treats for Dogs?
Dogs enjoy sweet and crunchy foods as a snack which makes apples a great idea due to their health benefits and sweet crispness. Other sweet fruits such as bananas and blueberries are delicious, healthy, and natural dog treats which they are likely to enjoy and see as a special treat. Many fresh, raw vegetables are also great dog treats such as carrots, celery, green beans, and cucumbers.
Dogs are generally big fans of other fresh foods like sweet potatoes, strawberries, and pumpkins. Your dog is a lot like you in that it is likely to have foods it prefers over others so make sure you experiment with food that you know is healthy and safe for them to eat and find out what treat they like best. Giving a dog its favorite treat is sure to perk up their day and make reward-based training much easier and effective. It’s important that you check each food for whether its safe to give to your dog prior to feeding them.
What Foods Should be Avoided for Dogs?
Some foods are generally unhealthy or even dangerous for dogs to consume. The following food items should not be considered an exhaustive list, but here are some of the more common foods dogs can have issues with that should be avoided:
- Chocolate – Pretty much everyone is aware that chocolate can be dangerous for dogs, but many don’t know why. The reason behind their toxicity in dogs is the presence of a substance called methylxanthines which can be safely digested by humans but will build up in a dog’s system and can cause serious issues including death. Never feed any dog chocolate.
- Onions – Onions are another food item which humans safely digest but contains materials that are toxic to dogs. The offending ingredient in onions that can harm dogs is thiosulphate.
- Grapes and Raisins – Despite the fact that research hasn’t identified the specific culprit behind their toxicity, grapes are dangerous for dogs and can lead to acute kidney issues.
- Macadamia Nuts – These can be extremely poisonous for dogs. They can cause vomiting, lethargy, inability to walk, and increased body temperature.
- Avocados – Avocados, especially the pit, skin, and leaves of the plant, contain Persin which is toxic to dogs and can result in vomiting and diarrhea. Don’t give these to your dogs and make sure you don’t leave them lying around where they can get to them.
As mentioned above, this is not an exhaustive list and you should check every new food before giving it to your dog. Even if a food is not commonly dangerous for dogs, there is always the possibility that your dog has an allergic reaction to it. Some of the main signs that your dog may be experiencing an allergic reaction is swelling of the face and body, redness of the skin, excessive itching, restlessness, difficulty breathing, or feeling hot to the touch. If any of these symptoms are noticed in your dog, you should seek the help of a veterinarian.
Any time you introduce a new food to your dog, make sure you only give it a small amount and wait for at least a few hours to see how it reacts to the food. Discovering new foods that your dog loves can be a fun process that your dog is sure to love, but make sure you always err on the side of caution and do your research before trying anything new. Take note of how your dog reacts to different foods and make sure that you never overfeed your dog.
Taking great care of your dog will ensure they live a long, happy life free of medical issues and full of good times. Mushrooms that aren’t wild or poisonous are safe for dogs to eat but whether your dog enjoys them or not is left to be seen!