Can you use people-food in healthy dog treat recipes?
Yes and no. There are some “people foods” that should never be given to pets and are not considered healthy dog treat ingredients at all.
The following list of toxic foods is adapted from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) 2010.
- Alcohol: is a central nervous system depressant in humans and works the same in dogs. Do not offer your dog a beer while he is watching the ballgame with you. No alcohol of any amount should be added to a dog’s food or dog treats. You may like the taste of certain alcoholic beverages, but your dog would enjoy healthier foods just the same.
- Chocolate: most dog owners are familiar with the toxicity of chocolate and know better than to offer any to their pets. Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine that a dog’s system cannot tolerate. It can cause seizures. Carob is used in place of chocolate when making dog treats and is perfectly safe. Along the same lines, coffee and any caffeine-containing products should not be given to dogs because of the stimulant effect.
- Grapes, Raisins, and Avocados: although considered healthy fruits for humans, unfortunately, can be toxic to dogs. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure and avocados can lead to congestive heart failure.
- Macadamia Nuts: can cause muscle weakness and the inability to stand among other problems. The exact reason is not known. If you would like to make a “nutty” treat using healthy dog treat recipes, consider peanut butter dog treats made with peanut butter powder. Peanut butter powder is all-natural and non-allergenic. Besides, giving dogs nuts creates the possibility for them to choke on one.
- Yeast Dough: can rise and can cause accumulation of gas which is not only painful but sets up the risk for the stomach to burst. Small bits of cooked food stuff containing yeast that has already risen is OK, but even better would be to use a specially crafted dog treat cake mix or biscuit mix that contains no yeast.
- Raw Meat, Raw Eggs, Raw Bones: steak tartare may be on a gourmet menu, but the raw products mentioned could contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. Bones are possible choking hazards as well.
- Onions, Onion Powder, Garlic: whether cooked or raw, can be poisonous to dogs. Dogs do not produce the digestive enzyme needed to break down onion products. The end result could be poisoning from a build-up of toxins or damage to red blood cells. A little bit of these food materials is not harmful, but it’s best not to give a dog any gravy or drippings containing them because that amount may be too much.