Wednesday, October 26, 2011

4 fall foods to share with your dog

Liam the pug posing with Hanner Jumbo apples
Liam posing with a crop of fresh Hanner Jumbo apples.
While most experts agree that dogs should stick to dog food for the vast majority of their meals, most dog owners can't resist slipping their dogs a tasty treat every now and again. I find this is especially true for me in the fall, when the house is full to bursting with fruits and vegetables I've brought home from stands, the store and the garden.

Here are just a few fall snacks I give to Liam:
  • Apples. A raw, unpeeled apple is full of nutrients and it has a texture that most dogs really enjoy. Liam will happily crunch and crunch on a small slice of apple for several minutes before he'll swallow. I think he wants to savor the juices before he allows the apple to leave his mouth. The seeds are toxic, however, so remember to give your dog a sliced, seeded bite of apple only.
  • Pumpkin. Adding a bit of cooked pumpkin to your dog's diet can help firm up the dog's stool, and most dogs really love the taste of pumpkin. Popping fresh pumpkin and water in the crock pot and cooking for an hour or two is a great way to create your own, cheap pumpkin puree without exposing your dog to added salt or preservatives.
  • Sweet potatoes. A thin dog can pack on the pounds with a bite of potatoes. In fact, Liam gets a little potato every day. Just boil the potatoes in water and mash them to prepare them. Leave the skins on for the added nutrients. 
  • Green beans. Dogs who have the alternate problem of packing on too many pounds can happily snack on green beans. These beans tend to fill the dog up, without adding many calories. Freeze your extra beans and pull them out for quick treats. 
Adding a few of these tasty snacks to your dog's diet can help you boost his fiber intake, but remember to just give a little bite as a snack. Overdoing it could cause stomach upset.