For years we did not give our dogs human food (other than pumpkin) but since our special needs kid with kidney issues came along, things have changed. Under the guidance of our vet and holistic vet, we added boiled chicken or ground turkey, sweet potatoes, brown rice, carrots to their kibble and hardboiled egg for snacks instead of treats a few times a week. We also throw in green beans to change it up.
Please keep in mind that I am NOT a VMD and I ask that you please consult with your pet child’s Veterinarian before you change or add human foods to their diet. Together you can chat and determine what is best for your pet child(ren).
It seems that we see a lot of what not to feed our pet kids but below is a list of some good foods that you can share with them, again with guidance from your VMD.
Human Food for Cats
Cats are meat eaters, plain and simple. They have to have protein from meat for a strong heart, good vision, and a healthy reproductive system. Cooked beef, chicken, turkey, and lean deli meats are a great way to give them that. Raw or spoiled meat could make your cat sick. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t give it to your pet.
Oats have a lot of protein per calorie, and they’re easy to make. Many cats like corn, and polenta, a coarsely ground cornmeal, has a good texture for them. You can try brown rice, barley, and wheat berries, but you may need to mash them first. Cats tend to like smaller grains like millet and couscous. Just make sure any grains you give are cooked so your kitty can digest them fully. Whole wheat breadcrumbs are OK, too.
Fish have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which help your cat’s eyes, stay sharp as well as help with arthritis, kidney disease, and heart disorders. Canned or cooked fish is fine for a treat. But don’t share your sushi — raw fish isn’t a good idea.
Eggs are another super source of protein for your cat. But make sure they’re cooked. Like raw meat and fish, raw eggs can harm your kitty.
Fruit and Vegetables
Not all cats like vegetables, and even fewer like fruits (felines can’t taste sweet flavors). But they are a rich source of vitamins, and they’re loaded with fiber and water to help with digestion. Try fresh cucumber or cantaloupe, steamed broccoli, or asparagus. But you might have better luck slipping him a veggie burger — really!
Cheese is a high-protein snack that’s fine for your cat in small amounts. But the protein in cheese is less “complete” than the kind in meat, fish, and eggs. Also, many cats’ tummies can’t handle dairy, so go easy on the cheesy treats, and skip the saucer of milk.
Human Food for Dogs
Peanut Butter is one of the best treats to give to dogs because it lasts them so long! Plus, it’s packed full of protein, healthy fats, niacin, vitamin B and vitamin E. Unsalted peanut butter is the best, as too much salt is just as bad for dogs as it is for people. Make sure you check your peanut butter to make sure it DOES NOT contain sugar substitutes like Xylitol, which can be deadly for dogs.
Yes, dogs can eat bread. Small amounts of plain bread (no spices and definitely no raisins) won’t hurt your dog, but it also won’t provide any health benefits either. It has no nutritional value and can really pack on the carbohydrates and calories, just like in people. Homemade breads are a better option than store-bought, as bread from the grocery store typically contains unnecessary preservatives, but it’s best to avoid it all together.
Yes, quinoa is OK for dogs. Quinoa is actually an ingredient in some high-quality dry dog foods. The strong nutritional profile of quinoa makes it a healthy alternative to corn, wheat, and soy — starches that are often used to make kibble.
Yes, dogs can eat cashews. Cashews are OK for dogs, but only a few at a time. They’ve got calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and proteins, but while these nuts contain less fat than others, too many can lead to weight gain and other fat-related conditions. A few cashews here and there are a nice treat, but only if they’re unsalted.
Yes, coconut is OK for dogs. This funky fruit contains Lauric, which strengthens the immune system by fighting off viruses. It can also help with bad breath and clearing up skin conditions like hot spots, flea allergies, and itchy skin. Coconut milk and coconut oil are safe for dogs too. Just be sure your dog doesn’t get its paws on the furry outside of the shell, which can get lodged in the throat.
- Carrots are high in fiber and vitamin A while being low in calories, so they make a great snack for your pooch. Chewing raw carrots is also beneficial for your dog’s teeth. If you’ve got an overweight dog, carrots are a great choice for treats because of their low calorie content.
- Green beans are highly recommended by veterinarians for owners looking to help their dog’s loose weight. They are very high in fiber but low in calories, making them a healthy treat alternative that’s filling but won’t add any weight.
- Canned pumpkin or fresh, cooked pumpkin with no added sugars and spices is a great choice for dogs with a sensitive stomach. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin A and fiber.
- Sweet potatoes work similarly to pumpkin as they are high in vitamin A, fiber and other nutrients. They are easily digestible when steamed or baked, served unseasoned.
Yes, dogs can eat cheese in small to moderate quantities. As long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, which is rare, but still possible in canines, cheese can be a great treat. Many kinds of cheese can be high in fat, so go for low-fat varieties like cottage cheese or mozzarella. (Note: some dogs are lactose intolerant, and any dairy products should be given in small amounts.)
Yes, it’s OK for dogs to eat eggs. Eggs are safe for dogs as long as they are fully cooked. Cooked eggs are a wonderful source of protein and can help an upset stomach. However, eating raw egg whites can give dogs biotin deficiency, so be sure to cook the eggs all the way through before giving them to your pet.
Yes, dogs can eat fish. Fish contains good fats and amino acids, giving your dog a nice health boost. Salmon and sardines are especially beneficial – salmon because it’s loaded with vitamins and protein, and sardines because they have soft, digestible bones for extra calcium. With the exception of sardines, be sure to pick out all the tiny bones, which can be tedious but is definitely necessary. Never feed your dog uncooked or under-cooked fish, only fully cooked and cooled, and limit your dog’s fish intake to no more than twice a week.
Yes, dogs can eat tuna. In moderation, cooked, fresh tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes heart and eye health. As for canned tuna, it contains small amounts of mercury and sodium, which should be avoided in excess. A little bit of canned tuna and tuna juice here and there is fine – prepared only in water, not oil – as long as it doesn’t contain any spices.
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