You know the scene, you’ve just sat down at dinner, opened a fresh package of cheese, or cracked a can of tuna and there’s your pet… Looking up at you with those soulful eyes, head cocked, maybe a paw curled up or an inquisitive mew… Sometimes it’s hard to say no.
As difficult as it is to deny your pet the foods you eat, it is important to know which people foods are safe for your four-legged friend, and which aren’t. So before you let Fluffy or Fido snarffle down your leftover breakfast burrito or share your ice cream, read up on what’s what when it comes to pets and people food.
Pets and People Food: Healthy and Delicious
Here are some healthy food options to enhance your pet’s diet. Keep in mind, these foods are not suggested as a meal replacement. And remember, those extra calories do add up and can contribute to obesity, so keep track of how much you are giving your pet above his or her regular food servings.
- Fresh vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, leafy greens, and spinach, are excellent choices to boost your pet’s intake of delicious and nutritious veggies. And, green beans are a diet-friendly choice for those pups struggling with weight issues, as they are low calorie yet filling. Be cautious with gas-producing foods, such as broccoli or cabbage.
- Fruits like cantaloupe, apples (but never the core or seeds), blueberries, and bananas are great sources of antioxidants and potassium – and can be a sweet, cooling treat during the hot summer months.
- Canned pumpkin and sweet potato are great sources of vitamins and minerals and can be stored in the pantry when fresh food items aren’t available. (Pay attention to the label and avoid brands with salt, sugar, Xylitol, or syrup added.)
- Some higher-fat or higher-protein foods are also fine in moderation, such as cheese (except those with mold), lean, boneless cooked meats, and almond or peanut butter. Rice is also a great choice for digestion-sensitive pets, but sparingly.
Also, be mindful of canned and prepared items, making sure they do not contain garlic, onions, sodium, or any of the items listed below.
Foods That are Toxic to Your Pets
These foods are commonly found in any kitchen, yet can often create an emergency situation if ingested by a pet.
- Xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free foods)
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Onions and garlic
- Raisins and grapes
- Peach pits, apricot pits, apple cores
- Uncooked dough
- Macadamia nuts
Why Cats Should Not Have Milk
You might picture a cat lapping up a bowl of milk, maybe it was something you saw in an old magazine ad, and wonder why milk isn’t recommended for cats. Cats become lactose intolerant in adulthood, which means feeding them dairy products can upset their digestive system.
The cat and it’s milk concept comes from the cat’s love of cream, and the way milk was produced in the past, with the heavy cream rising to the top, gave cats the fat they liked. Now milk is more processed, and lacking the fat cats love.
What to Do If Your Pet Eats Something Toxic
If you suspect that your pet has eaten something that he or she shouldn’t (or is caught in the act), give us a call. We’d rather tell you that there’s nothing to worry about, than say “I wish you’d have come in sooner.” Depending on what your pet has eaten (and how much), we’ll advise you on the best course of action and let you know what to look for.
We at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital care about your pet’s health and diet. If you are ever unsure of whether something is good or bad for your pet, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re always happy to help.