For some of us it’s only natural to want to share your food with your pet. We’re all guilty of it aren’t we? Those puppy dog eyes looking straight into our soul to make us give up our last piece of food on our plate, every single time.
So, what are the foods your pet can eat? We all think we know, but you might be surprised at some of the foods that can be toxic and cause discomfort to your pets.
Pasta and Rice
Your dog can have pasta as a one-off treat, as long as it’s plain and it’s cooked. Brown rice is an excellent, healthy whole grain that your dog can enjoy. Human food can be a great treat for your dog, just make sure that it only makes up 5-10% of their diet and the rest should be dog food which provides the nutrients they need.
What kind of dog doesn’t go crazy when there’s meat around? Chicken, Turkey, Lean Beef Mince or Steak are animal-based proteins which will help your dog grow strong, however heres a few rules to stick to: - Avoid fatty cuts, such as bacon - Cut meat (or any human food) into chunks, so your dog can chew them easily - Old, mouldy or spoiled meats are not ok to feed to your dog
You’d presume that all vegetables are safe, wouldn’t you? Just because vegetables are good for us humans, doesn’t mean they are good for our pets too. Most vegetables give your pup vitamins, fibre and some canine crunch. Try serving these raw veggies grated or finely chopped: - Carrot, Cucumber, Courgette, Lettuce, Bell Peppers, Spinach and Celery You can also give your pet steamed foods like: - Broccoli, Green Beans, Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower Vegetables to Avoid: Avoid giving your pet vegetables such as Avocado, Mushrooms and Onion
Small chunks of whole wheat bread are good for your dog’s gut. However, raw dough is a no-go and it can cause serious stomach problems.
There majority of fruits that are safe for your dog to eat, but stay away from grapes, raisins, cherries and tomatoes. Try giving your dog slices of fresh banana or apple (without the seeds), small chunks of watermelon or cantaloupe, blueberries and even orange segments.
Help the Pills Go Down!
We all have our own little tips and tricks to get our pets to swallow their medication. Most pets will resist taking pills, especially if they’re large or smell bad. To make them go down quicker, use a tasty treat such as peanut butter. Dogs love peanut butter!
Give a Dog A Bone?
Giving your dog a bone to chew on is generally better than a chew-toy. However, it’s important to know which bones are safe to give to your pet. Chicken and Turkey bones are unsafe for dogs, because they splinter off into sharp pieces easily. Experts say even large bones like lamb or beef still aren’t a good idea either, because bits of raw meat on bones can harvest disease-causing germs. Even with cooked bones, large bits can break off into sharp pieces, please be extra cautious giving any bones to your dogs or even avoid it altogether.
What About Cats?
Cats are very different to dogs, and can be super opinionated about what they eat. It’s believed that a cat will make their food preference choices within their first year of life, so it’s a good idea to get your cat used to different foods while they’re still a kitten.
But even if you have an older cat and you just want to make sure they’re getting the nutrients they need, you can start by learning more about what you’re buying and what your cat needs.
Choosing Balanced Food
All cat owners should know how to read a cat food label, meaning you should be able to focus on the nutrients rather than the ingredients, with the most important being protein and fat.
It could be habit to think that carbohydrates and grains in pet food are bad, but carbs can be valuable to hold dry food together and make food more affordable as well as giving cats the crunch they like. As long as carbs are in an amount that a cat can handle, they are ok.
How Much, How Often?
Most cats will eat their main meals in the morning (dawn) and at night time (dusk), when they would normally be hunting prey in the wild, so these are often the best times to feed them.
How much food you should put in your cat’s bowl depends on their age, size and how active they are. The average should be around 200 calories per day.
Cats will also like to nibble throughout the day, but just be careful if you are leaving the house for the day and decide to leave a bowl full of food for them. If you think your cat will only take little bites throughout the entire day, you could be wrong. Cats are sometimes not great judges of how much they should eat. Overfeeding your cat could lead to health issues such as joint pain, heart disease and diabetes.
It’s a much better choice to stick to meal times for your cat, and keep food hidden away at all other times.
What About Treats?
Of course, we all like to treat our feline friends. It’s absolutely fine to give your cat treats outside of mealtimes, just don’t overdo it. Treats should be no more than 5-10% of your cat’s daily calories.
Now, a Vegetarian or Vegan diet may seem the best thing ever for yourself, but it’s not for your cat. Unlike dogs and humans, cats need specific vitamins, minerals and proteins that you can only find in meats.
But not raw meat, that may be part of life for those big cats in the wild, but it’s unnatural for your housecat. There can be bacteria in raw meats such as E. coli and salmonella can make your cat very poorly.
What Human Food Can My Cat Eat?
Most of your cat’s diet should be a nutritionally complete cat food, however it is acceptable to give them a treat in the form of human food every now and then.
Cats are meat-eaters, plain and simple. Cooked beef, chicken, turkey and small amounts of deli meat are a great way to give your cat the protein they need. Just stay away from any raw meat.
Whole grains such as brown rice, barley and couscous. Just make sure grains are cooked so your cat can fully digest them.
Fish of course is a feline favourite. It is high in omega-3 and fatty acids, which can help your cat’s eyes stay sharp as well as help with arthritis, kidney disease and heart disorders. Canned and cooked fish is great for a treat, but raw fish isn’t a good idea.
Eggs are a super source of protein for your cat, but again make sure they are cooked.
What Your Cat Can’t Eat
Stay well clear of chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts and bread dough. These are all toxic to cats.