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Healthy Treats for Your Furry Friend

More than 1 in 3 families in the US owns a dog, and most people consider their dogs as part of their family. Some people share their beds with their furry friends, while others let them have table scraps. Some dogs even find their favorite spot in the house during dinner time is under the table, just in case something falls. However, you might want to hold off on excess food scraps, as it’s possible for dogs to suffer from obesity and obesity-related illnesses. A 2018 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 55.8 percent of dogs in the US are overweight or obese. But calories aren’t the only things to keep in mind when feeding your dog human food. While some of our table scraps may offer health benefits in dogs, there are other foods and ingredients that can be dangerous for your furry friend to consume. 

Keep reading for what experts advise for and against for your pooch. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association advises dogs should not consume the following seven foods:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Xylitol-containing foods (be careful with peanut butter)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Fatty and fried foods
  • Avocados

While there are a couple of fruits and veggies to avoid, many double as healthy snacks for dogs due to their fiber and low-calorie content. Even better – crunchy veggies like carrots and celery double as teeth cleaners. According to the American Kennel Club, here are some fruits and veggies that are safe for your dog to enjoy:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

When in doubt about a food or ingredient – always check with your veterinarian. Not every pooch is into raw fruits and veggies, but they may love them as ingredients in homemade treats. Check out these two easy recipes using common household staples. 

PB&Pumpkin Bites – Makes ~20 treats

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup pure pumpkin
  • ¼ cup all-natural peanut butter (no xylitol)
  • ½ banana

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients until smooth.
  3. Fill in oven-safe silicone molds. 
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes. 
  5. Store at room temperature for 3-5 days or freeze.

Frozen Smoothie Treats – Makes ~15 treats

Ingredients

  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt (unsweetened)
  • ½ ripe banana

Instructions

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Fill in silicone molds. 
  3. Freeze and serve when fully frozen. Remove from molds and store in a freezer-safe container.

Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more health tips and information, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.

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