The Do’s and Don’ts of Feeding Pets from the Table

Our pets are like members of our families. We treat them with the same kind and loving consideration we do our human relatives. We give our pets warm beds to sleep on, toys to play with, sometimes clothes to wear, and food to eat. Occasionally, the foods we give them are foods we eat. But, did you know there are a few “human” foods that are harmful to pets? Before feeding your pets from the table, take a look below to see what’s healthy for them and what’s not.

Do Feed:

Apples are safe for pets to eat, but be careful of the seeds and core. Ingesting a large amount of seeds is harmful and can cause blockages. Some pet owners will also remove the skin of the apple.

Bananas are rich in carbs and fibers and can help with bowel movements. However, too much of them can cause stomach issues. Just remove the peel before feeding them to your animal and give in moderation.

Berries, including blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries, are all safe foods and can be served either fresh or frozen. They are full of various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But, like bananas, they need to be given in small amounts. Berries can also be used as treats for good behavior.

Watermelons are mostly water and are safe to be consumed in larger quantities. This snack is great during the summer as another source of water. Again, be careful of the seeds and rind, which can create an intestinal obstruction.

Oranges and citrus fruits can be sweet treats for pets, but are high in carbs and sugars. Smaller amounts are best and shouldn’t be problematic with regard to a pet’s blood sugar levels. Plus, have your cameras ready for when your animal tastes a lemon and reacts to the fruit’s sourness.

Sweet potatoes are a food my dog, Gidget, loves. Every day, she eats one because of the vegetable’s health benefits. They are great for digestive health and are high in dietary fiber. Another benefit is their sweet flavor. Just don’t add any butter or spices. White potatoes are okay for pets to eat, as well.

Pumpkin is along the lines of sweet potatoes in its nutritional value. It is known to help with digestive and urinary health, as well as weight loss. Some tips to remember are to not give your animal the actual pumpkin, but give them canned, unsweetened pumpkin instead. Don’t use the pie filling. Pumpkin seeds, cooked fresh pumpkin, and pureed pumpkin are also fine.

Meats, especially beef, chicken, turkey, venison, and pork are healthy for animals. Any of these meats can be cooked and used as snacks or meals. Bones should never be fed to pets.

Don’t Feed:

Grapes and raisins should never be eaten. Within a few days of digestion, these fruits could possibly kill your animal. Vomiting and excessive urination will begin shortly after consumption.

Peaches, cherries, plums, and other fruits with pits are very harmful. Their huge pits are choking and blockage hazards. Also, they are poisonous and contain cyanide.

Chocolate is a big no-no for pets. Even a small amount causes vomiting and diarrhea. Due to the toxic component theobromine in a cocoa bean, consuming large quantities can result in muscle tremors, seizures, irregular heartbeats, internal bleeding, or heart attack. Theobromine poisoning is often portrayed as hyperactivity. Wondering why chocolate isn’t harmful to humans? Our metabolism can break down theobromine better. A pet’s metabolism will process the food slowly, allowing more time for toxic build-up.

Coffee is another dangerous food, because of the caffeine, created by theobromine. This beverage causes an effect similar to chocolate. It can bring about elevated blood pressure and elevated body temperature, as well as hyperactivity and seizures.

Digesting nuts can create stomach issues and blockages for animals. While there are health advantages to this food, you need to be cautious about which types of nuts to give. This can be determined by whether an animal can easily digest them or not. Peanuts and peanut butter are great to eat, while macadamia nuts can develop into stomach problems and pancreatitis.

If your pet accidentally eats a toxic food, pay attention to their behavior and symptoms. Get them to a vet immediately. Sometimes an animal will get rid of the item on their own or will need treatment. To help prevent your cat or dog from getting into a harmful food, keep them out of the animal’s reach and check the ingredients on products.

As much as we love our animals and want to make them happy, there are some foods we shouldn’t feed them, for their benefit. Keep your pets on a healthy diet, and when in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask your vet.