Most dogs are more than eager to gobble up any morsels of food that you throw their way. Generally, vets recommend sticking to canine-friendly food products or specially designed raw diets. Human foods are almost always out of the question.
But let's be honest: What dog owner hasn't "thrown their dog a bone" every once in a while? The occasional human-grade snack is innocent enough as long as you steer clear of ingredients that are dangerous for dogs.
Human foods are much tastier for canine palates, making them a good choice to entice those stubborn pups that ignore their standard kibble.
So, what about baby food? If you have some infant food around, you may be tempted to give some to your fur baby. But baby food products are even more fine-tuned than regular human foods. Are they safe for dogs?
Is Baby Food Good for Dogs?
You'll be happy to know that, for the most part, baby food is a relatively safe snack in moderation. In fact, many veterinarians utilize snacks made for infants to soothe stressful dogs.
As a whole, baby food is pretty safe. It's made for young infants with sensitive stomachs, after all. Most products don't contain any chemicals, preservatives, or anything that's even remotely harmful to young bodies.
Naturally, they're a good choice for dogs. On top of all that, baby food is nutritionally dense and doesn't have too many unhealthy extras like sugar or salt. That's why you see so many vets using baby snacks in place of traditional dog snacks.
Safe in Moderation
With all that said, baby food is only safe in moderation. At the end of the day, baby food isn't formulated for a dog's stomach or nutritional needs.
You can't expect it to fulfill their dietary requirements or even support their health in the long run. It's just not made to do that.
Obviously, dogs and human babies are different. Dogs will always fare better with products formulated for canines. Baby food can be a good one-off treat to address a medical issue or overcome pickiness. But, it should never be a frequent thing.
Eating too much of the stuff could make your dog sick, which only defeats the purpose! Not only that, but young puppies can end up developing a taste for finer things.
Provide too much delicious baby food, and your pup won't want to eat anything else moving forward!
When You Might Want to Feed Your Dog Baby Food
Now that we know baby food is fine every once in a while, why would you ever want to give it to your dog. Well, hopefully, you never have to!
Baby food is alright as an occasional treat. However, most vets recommend that you limit these types of snacks to whenever your dog isn't eating.
Many canines suffer from appetite issues after undergoing illness.
Gastrointestinal upsets turn your dog away from food for a while. The same issue often arises after surgical procedures, major sickness, and other significant health problems.
Get Your Dog to Eat
Your dog has to eat at some point. Baby food can help entice them! These mushy snacks are packed full of flavor and usually have a strong aroma. It's the perfect recipe for attracting a picky eater or one that's not feeling too well.
Some vets say that baby food products make good periodic supplements. It may help dogs that suffer from chronic health problems. For example, supplying baby food for dogs with kidney disease is pretty common.
In this case, you would need to choose a formula that's low in protein and sodium but high in omega fatty acids.
Those products simulate specialty diets pretty well. The mushy consistency is high in water, which is a big plus for dogs with kidney issues.
Of course, never attempt to treat kidney disease or any other health problem on your own. Always use supplementary diets under the supervision of your vet.
What Kinds of Baby Food is Safe for Dogs?
Not all products catered to babies are going to work for your furry friend. Even with gentle organic formulas, dogs can interact negatively due to the ingredients list.
If you want to treat your dog, here are some good baby food products to try.
Banana Baby Food
Bananas are a universally adored snack for dogs. It's healthy, jam-packed with vitamins, and super delicious. Mashed banana baby food formulas are the perfect thing to try out.
Just make sure that it contains bananas and nothing else! Avoid any products that have added sugar or unnecessary preservatives.
Like bananas, applesauce is a good option, too. However, you should pay attention to the sugar content. Excess sugar can lead to weight gain, so avoid anything that seems too much. That applies to all fruit-based recipes.
Pumpkin Baby Food
Pumpkin is a fantastic dog food ingredient. So, it only makes sense that mashed pumpkin formulas would benefit your dog. Pumpkins are a great complex carb that absorbs slowly into the body. It's also very nutritious and high in fiber.
If your pooch is suffering from soft stools, pumpkin puree baby food may be the thing they need to get some relief.
Sweet potato products are very similar to pumpkins. It's a healthy complex carb that's high in fiber. The only thing you need to pay attention to is spices and additional ingredients. If possible, stick to pure sweet potato puree.
Meat-Based Baby Foods
Of course, you can't go wrong with meat-based recipes. Meaty baby foods are tasty and have a good amount of protein. It's not enough to meet your dog's dietary requirements, but it can put your pup well on its way.
The biggest benefit of meat-based products is the softness. You can use it for dogs that suffer from dental issues. Like a gravy, it'll go down easy and soften kibble.
What Should You Avoid?
Dogs are allergic to many things. Always scrutinize the ingredient list before you give any food to your dog.
You should avoid anything that's toxic for dogs. This includes:
Not all of those ingredients are immediately toxic. But eating even a small amount could lead to stomach problems or the development of autoimmune diseases.
If you're not sure about the ingredients of a baby food product, ditch it. It's better to be safe than sorry.
How to Feed Your Dog Baby Food Safely
Once you determine that a product is safe, you can provide a little to your dog. Follow the 10 percent rule, which dictates that snacks should never exceed 10 percent of your dog's daily calories.
Realistically, you should provide anywhere near 10 percent! Keep it small and mix it into your dog's standard food. That should be enough to attract their scent and get them to eat again.
Them, keep an eye on your dog! Look out for vomiting, diarrhea, and any other signs that the food doesn't agree with them. If those symptoms occur, take a trip to the vet to be on the safe side.
To sum up: Baby food is safe in moderation. It should never replace your dog's standard food. Baby products are great as a quick snack or to restore your dog's appetite.
But as always, exercise caution. Any time you give your dog something that's not explicitly made for canine, you have to do your due diligence.
Check out the ingredient list and keep a watchful eye on your pup to ensure that they handle the food like a champ. Don't go overboard, either. As long as you limit baby food snacks to rare occasions, you should be fine.
Also Read: Can My Dog Eat Whipped Cream?