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Everything You Should Know About Feeding Human Food to Dogs and Cats

Do You Consistently Feed Your Dogs and Cats from Your Plate?

Before commercial pet food entered the market, many dogs and cats lived on the scraps left over from human's meals. This trend regained popularity in 2007 after hundreds of dogs and cats died from eating melamine-contaminated food manufactured in China. Today, more and more pet owners are home-cooking the foods their pets eat so they know exactly what goes into their diets.

While this is certainly an acceptable way to feed your pet, the reality is some human foods aren't good for a cat or dog to eat. Some foods are toxic to animals. So, before you start scraping your leftovers into your pet's dish, you should have a solid foundation on what your pet's dietary needs are and which foods are safe and unsafe for your pet to eat.

20 Human Foods You Can Feed Your Cat or Dog

There are some human foods that are safe for both dogs and cats to eat, and these include:

  • Salmon
  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Yogurt
  • Peanut butter
  • Cottage cheese
  • Carrots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Oatmeal
  • Peas
  • Bananas
  • Cheese, especially hard cheeses like Gouda, Cheddar, and Swiss
  • Pumpkin
  • Blueberries
  • Apples

Human Foods You Should Never Feed Your Cat or Dog

Just as there are safe human foods for cats and dogs, there are also foods that you never should feed your pet. These foods include:

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Soft drinks
  • Avocados
  • Foods containing Xylitol
  • Chewing gum
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Yeast dough
  • High sodium foods, including bacon

If you want to start feeding your pet a healthy diet of foods already in your refrigerator or pantry, then here are some tips to help you make a successful transition from commercial pet food. Ask your veterinarian to make sure all the dietary needs of your pet are satisfied if you home cook her food.

1—Make the Change Gradually

A dog or cat's digestive system won't do well with sudden food changes, and this is especially the case when changing from commercial pet food to human foods. Start the transition by adding a little bit of bland, unseasoned chicken, meat, or vegetables in with your pet's kibble. Gradually add a little more people food and a little less kibble each day.

2—Diversify Your Pet's Diet

Don't feed your pet one kind of food, such as only meat or chicken. Pets like diversity too, so incorporate grains and vegetables into her diet so she enjoys the benefits of a well-rounded, nutritionally rich diet.

3—Keep Fat in Check

It's true that animals need fat to be healthy and strong, but too much fat is never a good thing and it may even cause your pet to experience stomach upset. Keep things like fatty meats, chicken skin, butter, and other high-fat foods out of your pet's diet and she'll be healthier for it.

4—If You Won't Eat It, Don't Feed It to Your Pet

If you have things left over on your plate after a meal that you won't eat, like fat, gristle, or skin, don't feed them to your pet. They're just as bad for her as they are for you.

About the Author

Dr. Evan Ware

Dr. Evan Ware is a veterinary practitioner in Phoenix, Arizona. He received both his undergraduate degree in microbiology and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Ware is currently the Medical Director of University Animal Hospital (VCA) and is also the owner of two other hospitals, including Laveen Veterinary Center and Phoenix Veterinary Center. His areas of expertise include orthopedic medicine and surgery, veterinary oncology and chemotherapy, and general and advanced soft-tissue surgery.