When you sit down to dinner with your family, does your dog wait anxiously by your side for a scrap or a crumb to fall to the floor? Does your dog beg every time you go into the kitchen to prepare a meal or a snack? This is incredibly common for pet owners and many give in to the begging behavior of their pets, believing that a little bit of “human food” here and there will not do any harm. What many pet owners do not realize, however, is that feeding their pets “people food” can actually be dangerous – especially if you feed them the wrong thing.
Dangers of People Food for Pets
For the most part, cats are not as interested in human foods as dogs are. A dog will devour anything that comes close to its mouth if it looks or smells good. Cats are generally not interested in anything other than meat when it comes to people food.
Where a person might have a daily recommended calorie intake of about 2,000 calories, your dog may only need half that amount – or less! A 45-pound dog only needs roughly 1,075 calories on a daily basis. If you feed your dog the recommended amount and then add some table scraps on top of it, your dog could be receiving hundreds of excess calories. Those extra calories add up quickly and, before you know it, your dog could be overweight.
Toxic Foods for Pets
Another danger of feeding people food to pets is that certain human foods are actually toxic to dogs and cats. You should never feed your dog or cat something unless you are absolutely sure it is safe. In many cases, it is better to be safe than sorry but, if you absolutely must feed your pet people food, make sure you avoid these toxic foods:
- Apple Seeds
- Apricot Pits
- Artificial Sweetener (Xylitol)
- Avocado (mainly avoidance of the large seed/stone)
- Cherry Pits
- Gum (Xylitol)
- Macadamia Nuts
- Mushroom (some types)
- Onions and onion powder
- Peach Pits
- Potato leaves & stems
- Rhubarb leaves
- Tea (due to caffeine)
- Tomato leaves & stems
- Yeast dough
- Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
Safe Foods for Pets
Now that you know which human foods are dangerous for pets, you may be wondering if there are any left that are safe to feed. There are a number of people foods which are not only safe for pets to consume, but that can actually be good for your pet. Certain fruits, for example, can provide your pet with valuable nutrients and they can be a great way to cool your pet down on a hot day. Yogurt is another food that can be good for your pet – it contains valuable probiotics and is a good source of calcium and protein.
Below you will find a list of safe human foods for pets:
- Apples (no seeds)
- Chicken (cooked)
- Eggs (cooked)
- Green Beans
- Peanut Butter (avoid peanut butter containing xylitol)
- Salmon (cooked)
- Sweet Potato
If you choose to offer your pet people food, it should only be in small amounts and as a treat rather than a mainstay of their diet. Unless you are sure that a certain food is non-toxic for your pet, however, you should really steer clear.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian