Healthy types have long avoided processed, preservative-filled food, and now it's time for Fido to do the same.
Sure, little Rusty has been keeping the kitchen floor clear of your dinner's wholesome dietary debris since you brought him home from the rescue shelter. But the time has officially come to phase real food into your dog's diet. It would take a lot of research and time to completely switch over to an all-raw, all-natural, all-the-time diet, which is considered the healthiest choice dog guardians can make. So start small and make it easy. A lot of good-for-you foods are good for your four-legged kids, too.
Here are some whole foods that, according to Animal Wellness (Feb./March 2006), you and Spot can snack on together.
Broccoli: This phytonutrient-dense treat can help boost doggy immune systems and prevent cancer. Steam it before serving to boost its healthy benefits and minimize its impact on the thyroid. (Broccoli fed in excess can depress thyroid function; do not give it to any dog with thyroid problems.)
Pumpkin: Is Daisy feeling all backed up? This fiber-rich treat is great for getting things moving. Even cats can reap its stool-softening rewards. Another plus: Pumpkin makes a pup feel full fast, so if Toto has become a Tootsie Roll over the winter, add pumpkin to his weight-loss diet.
Sweet potatoes: High in vitamin E and rich in beta-carotenes and dietary fiber, this tasty tuberous root will pack a nutrient punch and help keep Rex regular.
Carrots: A classic snack for dog and master, this veggie is rich in almost every nutrient you can name. Carrots can also help with skin problems and serve as an eye conditioner.
Dogs don't have the digestive enzymes necessary to break down important carbohydrates in the skin and outside layers of fruits and vegetables, so always steam the veggies and use a food processor to puree the fruits for easier digestion.
And don't get carried away: Onions, garlic, grapes, mushrooms, and of course dark chocolate, a source of antioxidants for humans, are toxic for dogs.