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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.
There are some human foods that are safe for both dogs and cats to eat, and these include:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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This content is intended for counseling purposes only. This content is informational/educational and is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or patient. No claims are made as to the safety or efficacy of mentioned preparations. The compounded medications featured in this content have been prescribed and/or administered by prescribers who work with Wedgewood Pharmacy. You are encouraged to speak with your prescriber as to the appropriate use of any medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy’s compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.