By John Woods, Founder, All Things Dogs
It’s estimated that around 5% to 10% of homeless people have a dog. Homeless people have normally lost everything, from their job, to their possessions, and in many cases, their friends and family.
Keeping a dog can provide them with love and loyalty and can help to offer a certain amount of protection with all the dangers that come alongside living on the streets.
Most hostel and other homeless shelters don’t accept dogs into their accommodation which can make it even more important to make sure they are properly fed.
But what can you do to help? If you spot a dog with a homeless person, the first thing you can do is go over and talk to them. Ask them how they are, whether they would like any food and whether you can feed their dog.
It’s always advised you ask any dog owner before feeding their dog, you can start by asking their dog’s name which you can also call to calm the dog during feeding.
Often, they will be glad of any extra food for the four legged friend, and here are some of the best snacks you can give to them.
#1: Peanut Butter
Any peanut butter which doesn’t contain xylitol is fine for a dog and is a great source of protein for them. You can either just give them a spoonful of the tasty treat, or if you have more time you could bake some peanut butter biscuits.
There are some recipes which require are few a 3 ingredients and they are really simple to make. Given that the dog probably doesn’t get much tasty food, this could be a really nice thought and gesture if you want to make a better connection with their owner, so that you are able to offer more support if they ever need it.
Apples are packed with fiber, vitamin A and C. They are also low in protein and calories which is great if the dog has already have a proper meal and you just want to give him an extra snack.
There are plenty of other fruits which you can give dogs too, including Bananas, Blueberries, and Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Mango and Pears.
Be careful to avoid fruits which will make a dog ill such as Apricots, Avocados, Dates, Figs and Grapes. Also remember to only feed them small amounts, too much of any one of these snacks is not a good idea.
Eggs provide a great amount of protein for dogs. The protein in eggs is easily digestible. The best way to feed an egg to a dog that lives on the streets is to buy a boiled egg.
Never give them raw eggs, they can cause biotin deficiency. If you have more time to cook up something tasty for the dog, you could consider making them scrambled eggs.
You can feed dogs raw or cooked carrots – they’ll enjoy both. Make sure they are cut into small enough chunks to prevent any choking.
Carrots are a nutritious snack for dogs, and have the added bonus of helping them with their dental health too. They are a great source of vitamin A, potassium and fiber.
You can also feed dogs other vegetables such as red peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, celery and peas.
Avoid vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, unripe tomatoes or corn.
Meat sources such as chicken are great and easy snack options to feed a homeless dog.
Chicken provides many benefits to dogs; it is a lean mean and is high in protein without having too many calories. It’s also a great source of essential amino acids and glucosamine which protects bone health.
Never give them raw chicken, or chicken which has been cooked on the bone. Avoid giving them ham or other meats which are high in fat and salt content.
#6: Regular Dog Treats
If you don’t have time to prepare anything for the dog, and you just want the convenience of buying something from the local shop, you’ll be able to find a whole range of snacks which are made just for dogs in the dog food isle.
Try to choose something which has high protein content and is made from as many natural ingredients as possible rather than filler ingredients.
This will help to satisfy the dogs hunger and keep him fuller for longer. Some examples include chews, pig’s ears, bones or other treats.