If you’re a mom and a dog owner with a sick pup that is on a hunger strike, you might want to give your pet something that smells great, tastes yummy, and that’s easy to digest (like a few jars of Gerber baby food).
But, the big question is: Can dogs eat baby food? Leftover baby food? Is baby food good for dogs?
Yes, feeding baby food to your sick dog might look harmless. After all, it’s safe for human babies. What harm can this bring to your dog?
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case with human foods and dogs. Fact is, our normal food can be deadly to dogs (think grapes and chocolate).
So, before you add baby food to your dog’s diet, it’s wiser to know what’s actually in it and if giving baby food to your dog is indeed helpful.
If you love dogs (like we do), you ought to know that whatever food goes into your dog’s stomach counts since your dog’s health matters the most.
Must-Know Baby Food Facts
Baby food has been on grocery store shelves for years, the 1920s to be exact. Yes, it’s been around for that long, and we don’t see manufacturers stopping its production anytime soon. After all, these sure are convenient and don’t spoil easily compared to homemade baby food.
Interestingly, over the years, store-bought baby food has had their ups and downs. At one point, baby food brands have cooked up some weird flavors (think ramen and liver soup). Thankfully, consumers knew better.
There was also a time when these were filled with sugar and salt – stuff you wouldn’t include in your baby’s diet. Good thing, that’s all over.
And if you think that baby food is only made for babies who are ready to eat solid foods, think again. In the past year, some adults tried a thing called “Baby Food Diet.” They basically ate baby food to shed some pounds.
On the one hand, practical moms didn’t want any leftover baby food to go to waste. As such, they chose to add these to their regular food, including muffins, crepes, and soups.
Can Dogs Eat Baby Food?
If you want a short answer, the answer is IT DEPENDS. It depends on which type of baby food products you’re trying to feed your dog. Others are okay and are helpful. However, knowing which one to get is crucial.
Also, the amount of baby food and your dog’s nutritional needs matter. Make sure to factor this in when feeding baby food to your dog.
Why Is Baby Food Good For Dogs?
There are times when regular dog food doesn’t work, and introducing new food is required, especially when your dogs are feeling under the weather. When this happens, it’s easy to grab whatever regular food we have available.
If it happens that your fridge is filled with unused baby food, you might want to give this to your sick dog to keep them nourished.
Good thing, letting your dog eat baby food when the situation calls for it is okay. In fact, baby food has some nifty uses. Here are some of it:
It Can Increase Your Dog’s Appetite
Sick dogs tend to lose their will to eat, but giving them a few teaspoons of baby food might do the trick. Baby food, after all, has a strong smell that is hard to resist.
It Can Cover Up The Taste Of Meds
Medicine isn’t easy to take, especially if it does not taste or smell good, but covering this up with baby food can work wonders. Since dogs love its tasty smell, you might as well use this to your advantage and disguise the yucky taste of their pills with baby food’s yumminess.
It Can Calm Their Nerves
When you’re feeling anxious, having some comfort food by your side helps relieve the stress. The same goes for dogs. If your dog needs a vaccine but feels fidgety, some veterinary clinics opt to give dogs small quantities of baby food to help keep their cool.
Why You Should NOT Give Your Dog Baby Food
Although baby food isn’t the type of food we would eat as adults since it does not in any way look appetizing, most dogs love it. And as mentioned, giving your dog baby food can be helpful at times.
Unfortunately, dogs are not made equal when it comes to their nutritional needs. At the same time, baby foods are not all the same. So, make sure to know all the risks before urging your dog to eat. Here are some of the health concerns you need to watch out for:
Can Cause Food Allergies
It might not look like it since most dogs can eat anything and everything, but some dogs have sensitive stomachs.
Keep in mind that most allergic reactions are triggered by milk products and protein like lamb, beef, and chicken (often present in meat-based baby foods).
There are also allergies caused by gluten or wheat. If your dog can’t tolerate wheat, then keep those cereals away from them.
May Trigger Gastrointestinal Upset
Although this works great in encouraging a dog with an upset stomach to eat, eating too much could worsen your dog’s condition.
So, if your dog starts to experience bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, refuses to drink, and other signs of an upset tummy, it’s best to seek veterinary guidance right away.
Presence Of Harmful Ingredients
Some baby food products contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Meat-based baby food dinners, for example, may include onion or garlic powder in their ingredients list. And if you’re not yet aware, both are deadly to dogs.
Eating onion powder and garlic powder can be fatal to dogs and can lead to poisoning – a condition wherein the dog’s red blood cells and immune system go haywire. Worst comes to worst; this can lead to a life-threatening disease called hemolytic anemia.
Can Make Your Dog A Picky Eater
Young puppies that get to eat baby food might become fussy eaters in the long run. After getting a bite of delicious baby food, you can’t really blame them if they want to eat foods that are as aromatic as baby food.
Tips On How To Pick The RIGHT Baby Food For Your Dog
Can you give your dog baby food? Yes, but make sure to offer something that’s vet-approved and dog-friendly. To know which one to buy, just follow these tips, and you’re good to go.
Choose natural, whole food baby food
Anything artificial is bad for dogs. That is why it’s better to choose all-natural foods over those with additives.
Pick a “one-flavor” baby food
“Dinners” are often made with a mixture of flavors, which equates to a combination of ingredients. Some can be harmful to your dog.
As such, keeping things simple is your best bet and sticking to baby foods with just one flavor is ideal. Reading the labels and the ingredients list is also highly advised.
Wondering which ones are good for dogs? Sweet potato and pumpkin baby food, and banana baby food are good since they can boost your dog’s fiber intake.
Meat-based flavors like beef, chicken, and turkey are also alright since they are high in protein. Just make sure that your dog is not allergic to them.
Seek Expert Veterinary Advice
Your vet knows best. That’s a fact. That’s why it’s always a good idea to talk to someone who can provide veterinary advice before introducing any type of new food to your dog.
If your vet says it’s alright to give your dog some baby food, then you might as well ask for flavor or brand recommendations.
More Pointers On How To Feed Baby Food To Your Dog
Sure, your dogs can eat baby food as an occasional treat or when the need arises, but make sure not to overdo it. If your vet agrees to give them baby food, try to keep these in mind to avoid any mishaps:
Always Start Small
Since there is a possibility that your dog may not be able to tolerate it, it’s always smart to introduce just a small amount. If your dog can take it without problems, then that’s the time wherein you can increase the serving size.
Serving Size Will Depend On Your Dog’s Size
A bigger dog will require a larger amount of food. The same applies to dog treats. And since baby food is considered a treat, as a rule of thumb, dog treats should not exceed 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
You Can Either Serve It Warm Or Mix It Up With Their Regular Food
Food just tastes better when it is warm, baby food included. If it’s a bit too thick, you can add some water. Otherwise, you can add a few scoops of baby food to their regular diet to make it more flavorful.
If baby food is the only thing your dog is eating while they’re sick, giving in to their whims is okay as long as they are only eating it for a few days. However, this can never be a long-term solution.
At the end of the day, you’ll realize that feeding your dog an “only baby food” diet will bring more harm than good since this lump of mush (whether it’s sweet potato or pumpkin baby food, or even banana baby food) does not contain all the nutrients dogs need to fully function.
Remember that your dog’s diet must be complete and well-balanced – something most AAFCO-approved, amino acids-filled dog food recipes provide.
If your dog does not like the current brand you’re giving them, why not try something else. Since there are so many dog foods out there, surely there’s one that your dog will eat. All you need is a bit more patience.
Alternatively, you can cook up a bland diet for your pup. It’s basically a mixture of rice and shredded meat and a few scoops of canned pumpkin or sweet potatoes.
Mixing bone broth to their dry dog food also helps since this adds moisture and flavor to their regular meal.