What you feed – or don’t feed your dog – can add years to their life. Here are the scientific facts from The Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan. First, let’s talk about what your dog doesn’t need.

Like a vegetarian diet. Even if you’re a vegetarian or a hard-core vegan, you have to realize that dogs are omnivores. They get essential nutrients from meat – not just protein. Dogs need the amino acids in meat. A vegetarian dog would need to get those from supplements. Dogs do need protein too. A great non-meat source is eggs, and dogs love them. But cook them thoroughly. Raw eggs can give them salmonella poisoning. But if you decide to make your dog a vegetarian, you need to tell your vet so they can head off any vitamin or nutritional shortages.

Another thing dogs don’t need: Ice cream. Dogs are generally lactose intolerant. The occasional spoonful won’t hurt, but why risk it? Also, a lot of ice cream contains foods a dog should never have – like chocolate, raisins, and coffee.

The final thing your dog doesn’t need? A bone. Chicken, beef, fish – it’s not worth the risk. Bones can easily splinter and puncture your dog’s digestive tract.

So what foods does your dog need to stay healthy?  Pumpkin is like a miracle food for dogs. It’s good for both diarrhea and constipation. Get 100 percent canned pumpkin – don’t give them the sugary pie filling. But a couple tablespoons of plain, old canned pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A. Use teaspoons with a smaller dog. Don’t feed them the whole can – it’s too much vitamin A at once for them to handle.