Having a sick or stressed dog is tough, but when your pet refuses to eat his or her favorite meal, the situation becomes even more challenging. If your pet isn't eating, you might be tempted to provide them with baby food. But Is it okay for dogs to consume baby food? Will you be helping or hurting your dog?
The quick answer is that puppies can consume baby food. However, many different factors need to be considered. While feeding baby food to your dogs may appear innocent, it might have unintended—and undesirable—repercussions.
After all, dogs have different nutritional requirements than people. Thus, the infant food's ingredients, as well as the quantity, are important considerations.
Why Would I Feed Baby Food To My Dog?
A sick dog with stomach or digestive troubles may reject his or her regular dog food but may show interest in something different, such as wet dog food, pungent, strong-smelling human food like sardines, or easy-to-digest food like baby food.
Because new meals might entice dogs with a weak appetite, baby food can also be a convenient way to provide medication to your dog. Giving your dog baby food can help mask the flavor of a bitter prescription tablet and keep your drug administration regimen on track.
It's also fine to give your dog a teaspoon or two of baby food as a treat every now and again.
However, Sarah Freer, DVM, a veterinarian at Cummings Hospital in Pennsylvania, warns against over-reliance on baby food for dogs, advising that it be used sparingly and only as needed. "It's not a long-term solution," she explains, "since dogs have particular nutritional needs that are better met by food developed specifically for dogs."
When Should I Feed Baby Food To My Dog?
The first thing you should do is take your dog to the vet if they show signs of gastrointestinal discomfort or exhibit any of the following symptoms.
Warning signs to look out for:
Anorexia nervosa (refusing to eat)
Only give your dog baby food if your veterinarian has determined the cause of your dog’s problems and recommends that you feed your dog baby food.
If you're feeding your dog baby food as a nutritional supplement, check with your veterinarian to make sure there aren't any health risks.
How Can I Feed Baby Food To My Dog?
Once you've received permission to feed your dog baby food, there are several options for how to do it. Warming it up to a safe temperature and adding water if it looks too thick are popular methods. Even finicky dogs should find the food more appealing due to the combination of smell and warmth.
Scoop a few spoonfuls on top of your dog's usual meal as another choice. Use the 10% guideline as a guide for how much to feed your dog each day whether you're supplementing or feeding baby food as a treat.
Which Baby Food Flavors Can I Feed My Dog?
Baby food comes in a variety of flavors, allowing your pet to sample a wide range of tastes. You should aim for baby food that is strong in protein and low in carbs, so you may incline toward meat-based dishes. (Think meat, chicken, and lamb instead of peas.)
While dogs can consume most items that a human infant can, there are several restrictions, both in terms of taste and safety. Garlic and onion, both typical human components that can hurt your dog, are two to avoid.
Begin by looking up ingredients at the shop or online. Gerber, for example, provides a simple page that lists all of its products along with their components.
Onion powder is found in many of the "dinner" flavors that combine vegetables and meat, but not in the basic meat flavors. Before giving your dog meat-based baby food, double-check the label in the store.
Try the following flavors:
These are just a few common flavors that you should be able to purchase in any supermarket. While it's crucial to pay attention to the ingredients, many brands and kinds of baby food don't contain salt, onion, garlic, or other potentially dangerous components for your dog.
After I've Given My Dog Baby Food, What Should I Do?
As with any new food, keep an eye on your dog to make sure he or she is digesting the baby food properly. While some baby food is unlikely to cause serious sickness, keep an eye out for an upset stomach, an allergic response, diarrhea, or any other problem.
If you have numerous dogs, keep in mind that each one is unique, and what works for one may not work for the others.
Make careful to throw away any leftover baby food the next day. Many baby foods are only good for around 24 hours after they've been opened, so it's better to be cautious and trash the leftovers rather than feeding your dog seconds from the same jar days later.
Food For Thought About Feeding Dogs Baby Food
Instead of starting with a huge amount (such as the entire jar), introduce a small amount at a time to evaluate how your dog reacts before adding more.
In general, if you feed your pet baby food, don't make it a permanent part of his or her usual diet. Canine-specific food will always be your best bet. Baby food is still an option for your home, but it should be used as a treat rather than a regular part of your dog's diet.