Proteins

Good Proteins

Fish contains good fats and amino acids, giving your dog a nice health boost. Salmon and sardines are especially beneficial — salmon because it’s loaded with vitamins and protein, and sardines because they have soft, digestible bones for extra calcium. With the exception of sardines, be sure to pick out all the tiny bones, which can be tedious but is definitely necessary. Never feed your dog uncooked or undercooked fish, only fully cooked and cooled, and limit your dog’s fish intake to no more than twice a week.

Ham is OK for dogs to eat, but certainly isn’t the healthiest for them. Ham is high in sodium and fat, so while sharing a small piece is all right, it shouldn’t be a continuous habit. It can cause pancreatitis.

Pork is a highly digestible protein, packed with amino acids, and it contains more calories per pound than other meats. Pork also may be less likely to cause an allergic reaction in some pets compared to other proteins.

Salmon is an excellent source of protein, good fats, and amino acids as long as it is fully cooked. It promotes joint and brain health and gives dog-immune systems a nice boost. However, raw or undercooked salmon contains parasites that can make dogs very sick, causing vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and, in extreme cases, even death. Be sure to cook salmon all the way through (the FDA recommends at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit) and the parasites should cook out.

Shrimp every now and then is fine for your dog, but only if they are fully cooked and the shell (including the tail, head, and legs) is removed completely. Shrimp are high in antioxidants, vitamin B-12, and phosphorus, but also low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates.

Tuna should be enjoyed in small amounts. In moderation, cooked, fresh tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes heart and eye health. As for canned tuna, it contains small amounts of mercury and sodium, which should be avoided in excess. A little bit of canned tuna and tuna juice here and there is fine — prepared only in water, not oil — as long as it doesn’t contain any spices.

Turkey is fine for dogs as long as it is fully cooked. Salmonella can be found in raw and under-cooked turkey which can make your pup, and you, very sick. Also, be sure to remove excess fat and skin from the meat. Don’t forget to check for bones; poultry bones can splinter during digestion, causing blockage or even tears in the intestines. Any meat with excessive salt, seasonings, onions or garlic should not be fed.

Bad Proteins

Raw and undercooked meat and eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets and humans. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. 

Legumes include bean and alfalfa sprouts, mature beans such as kidney, pinto, and lentil, and peas. They can be a good source of protein and fiber. They should be given with care because a recent FDA update states there are reports of canine dilated cardiopulmonary (DCM) in dogs eating pet foods containing legumes or potatoes high up on the ingredients list. If your dog has food high in legumes they should not be given more. You also may want to consider finding ways to reduce the number of legumes in his or her diet.