Here at Absolute Dogs we are passionate about dogs. In fact, it’s our mission to support dogs and their owners and set them up for a lifetime of success. As well as their training needs, that includes their health and wellbeing.
As an awesome owner, we know you want the absolute best for your dog, and that includes ensuring their meals are not only delicious but also safe. In this blog, we’re diving deep into the realm of food safety so you can make informed decisions about your dog’s diet. We’ll also explore how what you feed your dog – and that way you feed it – can play a massive part in tackling training struggles and bring a whole new dimension to your relationship with your dog.
Know What’s Safe and What’s Not
Before feeding anything new to your dog, it’s crucial to be aware of foods that are safe and those that can be harmful.
Whether your dog is a super scavenger whose nose just knows where someone dropped that half eaten hamburger every time you head out on a walk, you’re living with a counter surfer who has been known to swipe a tasty morsel from the kitchen table the second your back is turned, or you just want to be sure that tasty titbit isn’t going to be harmful – when it comes to your beloved canine companion, knowing what human foods are great to add to your dog’s diet and which are definite “don’t feed” items is so important.
At Absolute Dogs we’re passionate about the nutritional and holistic wellness needs of our canine companions. We LOVE to add variety to our dogs’ diets, and there are so many ‘human’ foods which have amazing properties our dogs can benefit from too. Equally, there are things it’s really important to avoid, from the well known dangers to the lesser known hazards.
From chocolate, grapes and raisins, to certain nuts, caffeine and xylitol (artificial sweetener) many of our favourite foods are poisonous or toxic to dogs. On the other hand, there are plenty of safe and nutritious options that you can safely incorporate into your dog’s diet.
Knowing which ‘human’ foods are doggy friendly, and being aware of the foods that are potentially harmful will allow you to enjoy the foods you love, add some brilliant variety to your dog’s diet, and keep your canine family members safe.
Check out our infographic for the lowdown on which human foods are safe for your dog to enjoy.
The following foods are potentially harmful or toxic and should be kept off the menu for your dog:
- Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants
- Tea and Coffee
- Walnuts and Macadamia nuts
- Cooked bones
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Xylitol (sometimes listed as wood sugar, birch sugar, birch bark extract, E967 and sugar alcohol)
- Human medication
- Corn cobs
- Onions & garlic (While these are OK in small quantities, larger amounts can be dangerous)
These ‘human’ foods are a great addition to your dog’s diet
- Green fruit & veg including: peas, beans, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, kale, apple (cored & seeded), courgette, cucumber
- Purple/Blue fruit & veg including: blueberries, blackberries
- Orange/Yellow fruit & veg including: sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, carrot
- watermelon, banana
- Red fruit & veg including: apple, beetroot, strawberries, watermelon
- Brown/White fruit & veg including: cauliflower, cabbage, mushroom, parsnip
- Herbs including: coriander, parsley, ginger, turmeric, rosemary
- Cooked fish
- Coconut oil
- 100% Peanut Butter (no artificial sweetener)
Top tip: limit the amount of sugary fruit and veg your dog enjoys to keep them in tip top condition and reduce the risk of obesity!
Just like humans, dogs can develop allergies to certain foods. Introduce new ingredients gradually and observe your dog for any signs of reaction, such as itching, vomiting, or diarrhoea.
If you notice any adverse reactions, or suspect your dog has eaten anything harmful, consult your vet promptly for advice.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Imagine eating the same meal, day after day after day. It would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it? Dogs are no different. A bowl of the same kibble, day in and day out day, is uninspiring! Unless your dog has sensitivities which mean you are restricted to certain brands or particular protein sources, think about how you can vary what your dog gets to eat and make it an enriching experience.
Maintaining a balanced and varied diet is essential for your dog’s health, ensuring they receive all the nutrients needed to thrive.
Keeping an eye on your dog’s body condition and overall weight, shape and energy level is a great way to gauge whether you’re feeding appropriately.
Not sure what to look for? Listen to our podcast episode: Know Your Dog’s Perfect Weight With Body Condition Scoring! and download your free Body Condition Score Chart to become your dog’s best expert.
Top Tip: Avoid Sharing Your Plate
While it may be tempting to share a bite of your meal with your pup, it’s best to resist the urge. Dogs have different nutritional needs from humans, and many human foods may be too rich or seasoned for their sensitive digestive systems. Stick to dog-friendly treats and meals to avoid potential health issues or upset tums – and if disaster does strike, make sure you have some A-OK9 Rescue-K9 on hand to restore balance and equilibrium to your pup’s digestive system.
Ditch the Bowl – A Paradigm Shift
Here at Absolute Dogs, we’re all about shaking things up and creating a revolutionary experience for both you and your dog. As a dog owner, Ditch the Bowl is one of the most powerful strategies you have in your toolkit. When you ditch the idea and routine of feeding your dog from a bowl, you open up a million possibilities for using that precious pot of tasty gold to pour value into growing the concepts and skills your dog needs to set them up for a lifetime of success. It’s not just about providing your dog with sustenance; it’s about turning mealtime into an opportunity for training and reinforcing super choices.
A Pot of Value
Your dog wakes up every morning with a big pot of value for that day in the form of their daily food allowance. You get to decide where and how that pot of value is divided and spent.
By using that food to play games, reward all the awesome choices your dog makes and invest in the skills your dog needs for a lifetime of success, you pour all that value into the things that matter, instead of into a bowl – and the benefits are HUGE!
Why we love Ditch the Bowl
- It’s a brilliant way of boosting your relationship with your dog, because you become the source of fun, rewarding experiences.
- Ditching the Bowl means you have loads of value (food) you can use for training without having to worry about over-feeding or becoming too reliant on treats.
- Believe it or not, when given the choice, dogs actually love to work for their food. Searching and working for food can be more enriching than actually eating it. It increases dopamine – that feel-good chemical in the brain – but much more importantly when it comes to training, it gives you an amazing opportunity to be part of that reward experience if you are the one delivering that food.
- If you have a dog who isn’t much of a ‘foodie’, Ditching the Bowl can actually be hugely beneficial. Suddenly, it’s much less about the food and much more about the experience you are creating with that food. You’ll be amazed at the difference that can make!
Ditching the Bowl doesn’t mean you have to use all your dog’s food for training. That would be pretty exhausting for you and your dog! There is also a huge advantage in providing your dog with enrichment activities like food puzzles, Kongs and long-lasting chews, which are brilliant for promoting calmness – the King of all concepts for every dog, and the missing puzzle piece of so many training struggles.
Check out our free Ditch the Bowl eBooks for top tips and inspiration – whatever type of food you feed your dog.
Ditch the Bowl – Turning Meals into Training
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of why ditching the traditional bowl can be a game-changer for your pup. Imagine mealtime as an opportunity to not only nourish your dog’s body but also stimulate their mind and reinforce positive choices.
Using your dog’s food for training allows you to build a stronger bond with your dog. Instead of mindlessly gulping down their kibble, your dog can earn each piece through engaging and fun training exercises. This approach taps into your dog’s natural instincts, making learning an enjoyable experience.
When you Ditch the Bowl, you’re not just providing your dog with sustenance – you’re actively shaping their behaviour in a positive direction.
Join us in Games Club for an endless variety of games you can play with your dog to target any training struggle and find inspiration for using that tasty pot of training gold.
Be Your Dog’s Own Masterchef
One brilliant way to have more control over what goes into your dog’s diet is to bake some healthy, home-made training treats.
Here’s one easy recipe your dog is sure to love.
You will need:
- 1 can tuna
- 1 can salmon
- 4x eggs
- 250g /~1 cup flour
- Herbs (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 F/180 C, 160 C fan
- In a small measuring jug, beat the 4 eggs together with a whisk
- In a bowl, add the tinned salmon and tuna together and mix thoroughly.
- Add the beaten eggs to the mixture. Here you can add an herb such as Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Oregano, Turmeric Powder (with Black Pepper), Mint, or a sprinkle of Chamomile.
- Finally, add in the flour a little at a time and mix well.
- Pre-grease a shallow baking tray and spread the fishy mixture onto the tray before using a pizza cutter or knife score the mixture into small squares (you can make them as big as you like)
- Bake for 30-35 minutes
- Allow to cool and then break up the treats into small squares and store in an air-tight container
Do you want to learn more and feel empowered to expand your feeding options with a full range of amazing, healthy recipes and feeding strategies?
Why not level up your learning with our jam packed Ditch the Bowl course? The perfect combination of training tips, feeding strategies and recipes to inspire your culinary creations for your dog, it’s a super way to be more mindful of what your dog eats.
Gut Wellness, Brain Health and Training – A Perfect Balance
Of course, we can’t overlook the impact your dog’s gut wellness has on your training, and on your dog’s behaviour.
Training, brain wellbeing and gut wellness are interlinked, so when these three systems aren’t working in synchrony, it impacts the results you see from your training. In fact, research consistently highlights the profound impact of gut health on behaviour – for humans and dogs.
Intrigued to read more? Head over to our sister company A-OK9 for all the science!
Once you understand this delicate balance, how should that inform the decisions you make about what you feed your dog?
Incorporating natural supplements such as A-OK9’s Calm-K9 and Probio-K9 is one simple and effective choice you can make. Their key ingredients are designed to impact the gut and in turn the brain, supporting your dog’s training and behaviour transformation.
Check out this inspiring episode of the Absolute Dogs Sexier Than A Squirrel Podcast: Raw Feeding and Holistic Wellness for Dogs with Dr Nick Thompson for a fascinating dive into the world of holistic wellness and food nutrition.
Get More From Mealtimes!
In the Absolute Dogs universe, food safety isn’t just about ensuring your pup’s meals are free from harmful substances; it’s about turning mealtime into a transformative experience. Ditch the Bowl, embrace training, and watch as your dog not only enjoys their meals but thrives in a positive and enriched environment.
Remember, when it comes to your dog’s safety and happiness, the choices you make matter.