Try These 15 Dog-Friendly, Immunity Boosting & Money Saving Treats to Share with your Pup

aussie shepherd looking through watermelon

Boosting your and your dog's immune systems can help you both stay strong during these trying times. It is estimated that roughly 80% of immune cells are in the gut.  As such, we believe fortifying the immune system starts with a healthy, nourishing diet.  We've put together a list of the best foods for supporting human and dog health alike and stretching your grocery budget to go further.

What human food can dogs eat?

Sharing veggies with your dog is not only healthy, but will also let you cut down on buying commercial dog food which is usually more expensive and often has unnecessary fillers.

Try some of these 15 healthy human foods that you and your pup can enjoy together!

1. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is delicious and has loads of nutrients. Vets recommend pumpkin as a healthy human food for dogs (and you’ll notice that many commercial dog foods and snacks contain pumpkin in the ingredient list). Pumpkin is also commonly recommended by vets for dogs with sensitive stomachs. You can feed your pup steamed pumpkin or us it as an ingredient when making healthy dog treats.

Pumpkin is a rich source of vitamin C which boosts the immune system. This vegetable is rich in dietary fiber which improves digestion and increases the absorption rate of nutrients. Just one cup of pumpkin has plenty of vitamin A.  Other vegetables in the squash family also pack lots of vitamins and nutrients that you and your dog will benefit from.

2. Spinach

Eating more greens is a great way to increase your intake of important vitamins and minerals. Spinach is considered a superfood that is loaded with vitamin c, iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate. Also, spinach is one of those healthy foods for dogs with allergies.

We already know that vitamin C is an immune booster. Iron also helps you utilize your body energy efficiently. Magnesium not only boosts your immunity, and that of your pup, but it also strengthens body muscles and nerves. Magnesium is one of the minerals that help you maintain optimal blood pressure and a healthy heart.

When preparing spinach to share with your pup, we recommend steaming and chopping it.    Dogs have a harder time digesting raw spinach. Even steamed, avoid most spices, and extras like onion and garlic since these substances can be toxic for dogs. Read more about foods to avoid here.

Chop the spinach; a dog’s digestive tract can’t break down vegetables the way ours does.

Pup tip: If possible, buy organic.  Spinach often retains high levels of pesticides and may include several of 50 different pesticides when sourced from non-organic farms.

3. Papaya

Papaya is a sweet tropical fruit that has a lot of dietary fiber. It contains papain which is a meat tenderizer. Papain also helps fight muscle and joint inflammation. Papaya has a lot of vitamin A which helps in sebum production. Sebum helps support skin and keep hair shiny in humans and dogs.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric is a healthy spice that is safe for dogs. In ancient medicine, turmeric was used to relieve stomach pain and bloating. The main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which is an anti-inflammatory agent. Turmeric helps improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Curcumin in turmeric reduces muscle damage and is an excellent immune booster.

5. Broccoli

Raw or cooked broccoli is healthy for you and your dog. Steamed broccoli is best because it retains more nutrients than boiled broccoli.

Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Vitamin K helps in red blood cell production and bone marrow growth. Potassium promotes healthy muscle and nerve function. Potassium prevents the formation of kidney stones and the onset of osteoporosis.

Pup tip: broccoli has an ingredient called isothiocyanates which could irritate your pup’s stomach in excess amounts. Feed your dog broccoli in small portions.

6. Red pepper

Did you know that red bell peppers pack more vitamin C than oranges? The vitamin C content in  a red bell pepper is 125mg - much more than the 45mg in oranges. Also, red bell peppers are rich in beta carotene.

7. Chicken

Chicken soup is perfect for delivering healthy nutrients to your pup. Chicken meat is rich in protein and important B vitamins such as B12. 

Pup tip: serve soup (with or without chicken) as a delicious and nutritious delivery mechanism for most of the vegetables mentioned here.

8. Cucumber

Cucumbers are a healthy snack for you and your pup. You can use it in vegetable salads or feed your dog healthy slices raw. Cucumber is full of vitamins C, B1, and K. This veggie is also rich in copper, potassium, biotin, and magnesium.

Biotin strengthens your and your dog’s hair and nails. This mineral also lowers blood sugar and bad cholesterol in humans and dogs.

9. Watermelon

Watermelon is perfect for hydrating your dog. This healthy fruit also packs plenty of vitamins and minerals. A slice of watermelon has loads of vitamin A, vitamin C, and B6. Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine increases the production of the “feel-good” hormone serotonin. Watermelon is also rich in lycopene.

Pup tip: remove the seeds and rind before feeding your dog watermelon.

10. Green beans

Raw or steamed green beans are safe for your dog to eat. Green beans have loads of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Your dog will especially benefit from the natural silicon in green beans. Silicon promotes a shiny dog coat, skin, and supports bones.

11. Bananas

Bananas are the perfect portable treat for you and your dog. Bananas are high in potassium, biotin, copper, and dietary fiber.  You can serve your dog bananas as they are (unpeeled, of course!) or include them in healthy, home-baked treats.

12. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is in the same family as watermelon. It has lots of water and fiber which hydrates and improves your and your dog’s digestive systems. Cantaloupe is also immune-system supportive for the entire family, with high vitamin C levels.

Compared to watermelon, cantaloupe does have higher sugar content. Feed your pup smaller slices to hydrate them and keep sugar levels low.

13. Carrots

Like cantaloupe and cucumber, carrots are an excellent low-calorie treat for your pup. Carrots are also great to keep around in the summer because they are highly portable and do not spoil quickly. Carrots are especially rich in Vitamin A.

Pup tip: the crunchiness of carrots helps keep your dog’s teeth strong and clean.

14. Peas

Peas are a terrific source of fiber.  A few servings of peas provide you and your dog with lots of folates, vitamin c, manganese, and vitamin A. Another important ingredient in peas is vitamin B1 or thiamine. Thiamine protects the organs and keeps the brain, heart, muscles, and nervous system functioning optimally. Vitamin B1 supports the digestive system as well.

15. Mushroom

Store-bought mushrooms are safe for your dog and many kinds are considered to have medicinal healing properties. Mushrooms are rich in fiber, boost immunity and promote cell health. There are many different kinds, but most have properties that are believed to anti-inflammatory, protect the liver, and support kidney health.

Pup tip: Some wild mushrooms can be toxic to your dog!  Avoid letting your dog snack on these.

Conclusion

These 15 human foods are not only cheap and nutritious for your family, they also make for very healthy dog treats and snacks. Bookmark or pin this list now for the next time you stock up.

Pup tip: Be sure to check our list of dangerous foods to avoid when putting together meals for your pup. Read more here.

Tag us on social media #PupWaxPup to show off your favorite shared meals.

Bon appetit!


1 comment

  • Judy Moffett

    This was very interesting to read


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