By Jennifer Maher
There is something secretly rewarding about sneaking your dog some table scraps when he flashes those puppy eyes at you. He has mastered the art of begging and you can’t resist slipping a little treat.
While traditional dog food provides our pups with essential canine nutrients and a well-balanced diet, there are some human foods that are acceptable to feed your dog if kept at a minimum. So if you want to reward your canine with a small scrap, try offering one of these dog-approved people foods:
1. Peanut butter – The good news is that putting a scoop of peanut butter on your dog’s snout and watching them lick it off solely for entertainment purposes is actually safe for them, too! Peanut butter is a great source of protein, vitamins B and E, and contains healthy fats. Be sure to opt for minimally processed nut butters without added sugar, salt or preservatives.
2. Carrots – Remember when mom used to tell you “Eat your carrots, they’re good for you!” This stands true for dogs as well. Carrots are packed with vitamins and can provide major benefits such as improved vitality and healthy skin and coat. They also have the potential to promote digestive health, so don’t feel bad sneaking your carrot scraps to the dog!
3. Chicken – Cooked, unseasoned chicken can be a great way to add extra protein to your dog’s diet. It can also serve as a meal substitute if you’re in a bind for dog food. Just remember, everything in moderation. Only serve lean meats—that means no bones, fat,or skin!
4. Oatmeal – Just like humans, dogs can also benefit from super food oatmeal. Oatmeal serves as a good source of fiber, iron and vitamin B6. It can also promote digestive help by easing gas, vomiting or diarrhea if your dog is showing these symptoms. You can even get creative by using oats in your homemade dog treats instead of flour. As always, use plain oatmeal without added sugar or artificial fruits/flavorings.
5. Greens – Raw veggies like green beans, zucchini slices and cucumbers can make great treats for your dogs, because they provide an abundance of healthy vitamins and minerals. They are low in calories and often a good substitute for commercially prepared treats that are typically higher in fat and calories. Be sure to steer clear of canned veggies as they contribute high amounts of sodium, and NEVER feed your dog onions or avocados.
Many of these dog-friendly people foods are available right here in the Conejo Valley. When in doubt, choose organic. Minimally processed foods without added preservatives, salt or sugar are best. Fresh foods are right around the corner at your local farmer’s market. Bring your four legged friend along and go enjoy some of our best outdoor markets:
- Newbury Park: Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Newbury Park Library parking lot (Borchard Road and Michael Drive)
- Calabasas: Saturdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Old Town Calabasas on Calabasas Road (across from Sagebrush Cantina)
- Westlake Village: Sundays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2797 Agoura Road (Village Glen)
- Thousand Oaks: Thursdays 1:30-6 p.m. at the Oaks Shopping Center east parking lot.
- Simi Valley: Fridays 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Simi Valley Civic Center Plaza, 2757 Tapo Canyon Rd., next to TGI Friday’s
- Moorpark: Fridays 3-7 p.m. at Miller Parkway and Los Angeles Avenue (Village at Moorpark Shopping Center)