In case you’re wondering, yes, adding human foods to your dog or cat's bowl can be a great way to help them lead healthier, happier lives! The types of food we recommend adding are a variety of nutritionally balanced, unprocessed, whole food diets. That’s because the goal in feeding pets a diet they can truly thrive on is to mimic their ancestral diet as closely as possible without going broke.
Our essential recommendation is to feed your pet (and yourself) as much unprocessed, fresh food as you can afford. If you can't afford to feed an entirely fresh, living, raw food diet, offer fresh food snacks instead. Research shows that providing SOME healthy foods to dogs and cats is better than no healthy food at all.
1. Pumpkin. Fresh pumpkin, either steamed or boiled (or canned 100 percent pumpkin), is relatively low in calories and high in soluble fiber, which is beneficial for pets with gastrointestinal (GI) upset. Pumpkin helps regulate bowel function, which relieves both diarrhea and constipation. Pumpkin is also an excellent source of potassium. Read more reasons why Pumpkin is good for your dog or cat, here.
2. Kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that contains beneficial probiotics that support the immune system. Although regular, pasteurized cow's milk can be irritating to your pet's GI tract, fermented milk is different. One of the best and least expensive ways to add healthy bacteria to your pet's diet is to convert raw milk to kefir yourself. All you need is one-half packet of kefir starter granules in a quart of raw milk (preferably organic), which you leave at room temperature overnight. Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of this super probiotic to your pet's food one to two times daily for overall improved GI defenses. Kefir for dogs and cats is available at all Dee-O-Gee locations!
PRO TIP: Feed 2-4 fresh food meals out of 14 in a week, or do a 50/50 split ... meaning one meal a day is a processed pet food, and the other is a fresh food meal. Take baby steps toward providing the best diet you can afford for your dog or cat, and keep in mind that any amount of species-appropriate fresh food snacks and meals is better than none.
3. Mushrooms. Some mushrooms are poisonous, so obviously you'll want to avoid those. Non-toxic, beneficial varieties include shiitake, reishi, maitake, lion's mane, king trumpet, turkey tail and himematsutake mushrooms. All mushrooms that are safe for people are safe for pets. Mushrooms can help regulate bowel function, but even better, they also contain potent anti-cancer properties and immune system enhancers. You can lightly cook the mushrooms in a very small amount of olive or coconut oil before adding them to your pet's meal.
4. Sardines. Fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to your pet's well-being. If you supplement your dog’s or cat’s diet with fish, we suggest you use sardines packed in water or dehydrated. Sardines are a terrific source of omega-3s.
5. Fermented vegetables. Fermented foods are potent detoxifiers and contain very high levels of probiotics and vitamins. Beneficial gut bacteria provided by probiotics break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from the body, and perform a number of other important functions. Adding 1 to 3 teaspoons of fermented veggies to your pet's food each day (depending on body weight) is a great way to offer food-based probiotics and natural nutrients.