If you have a pet, chances are it’s a very important part of your family. Dogs and cats tend to work their way into your heart and can have you wrapped around their little paws in no time. When enjoying a meal with family and friends it can be hard to resist sharing a bite or two with your furry friends.
Before you set your pet a place at the table, take a look at this list of human foods that can and can’t be shared in moderation with your canine or feline companions. As always, consult with your veterinarian first.
There are a lot of fun, delicious snacks to share with your pets, but there are a couple of foods you should avoid feeding your pets at all costs.
- Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine, which is very bad for pets. In dogs and cats, theobromine can cause tremors, seizures, and even death. Though it may be a favorite sweet for humans, avoid giving chocolate to your pets.
- Onions and Garlic: These vegetables, delicious as they may be to humans, can cause hemolytic anemia (the bursting of red blood cells) and gastroenteritis (inflammation of stomach and intestines) in dogs and cats.
- Grapes and Raisins: These delicious fruits are a summer favorite, but be careful your pet doesn’t find any that may have fallen on the floor, as the toxicity can wreak havoc on your dog’s kidney.
Okay for Dogs
- Peanut Butter: You probably know this one already, but yes: dogs love peanut butter. What you may not know is that it is a great way for them to get protein, heart healthy fats, vitamin B, E, and niacin. However, keep an eye on labels for a sweetener called Xylitol, which can harm dogs. If your peanut butter is safe, try putting it in a chew toy and watch the dog have fun getting it out.
- Popcorn: It’s true; you can give your puppy pal some popcorn. Popped kernels contain magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and fiber – all things a growing dog needs. What isn’t good for dogs is the stuff humans tend to put on the popcorn, like butter and salt. So if you plan on sharing with your canine, stick to the unsalted and butter-free variety.
Okay for Cats
- Whole Grains: Oats are loaded with proteins and iron, both things cats need. But cats are carnivores, so yours may not think of oats as a treat, per se. However, many folks have found creative ways to share cooked whole grains with their feline friends as a special snack. Take a look online to find a few recipes that may be a hit at home.
- Peas: This is a fun one. Peas are full of proteins and carbohydrates, plus they’re small and easy for cats to eat (frozen or fresh). Depending on your cat, frozen peas can make for a good game of “fetch” on the kitchen floor. Who says you can’t play with your food?
Okay for Both
- Cooked Eggs: It’s a pretty safe bet that your dogs and/or cats will love cooked eggs. Packed with digestible protein, riboflavin, and selenium, these flavorful treats are as healthy as they are delicious (for you and them). Be sure to chop the portions so your pet isn’t tempted to take a bite that they may choke on.
- Carrots: Like kids, some pets can be finicky when it comes to foods with essential vitamins and minerals. Thankfully, with a little prep, you can trick both cats and dogs with carrots. Steamed, chopped carrots are a solid source of vitamins A, K, C, fiber, potassium, and of course, beta carotene.
While this list is a good start, it is not comprehensive and does not take into account any allergies your pet may have. As with all things, speak to your veterinarian before trying new foods with your pet to ensure that they’ll enjoy eating the treat as much as you’ll enjoy giving it to them. Every animal is different, so find a healthy, safe snack that the dog(s) and or cat(s) in your family will love!