The pet food scene is changing. Raw diets, and foods that incorporate ingredients that look like what we eat are soaring in popularity. Bivvy pet parents, after all, want to treat their pets like their children and enrich and enhance their lives in any way possible. The pros and cons of raw feeding are a story for another day, but here we’ll offer a primer on the “people foods” that are healthy additives to your pet’s diet, and which you absolutely must stay away from.
If you feed your dog or cat a wet, pouched or canned food, you may see peas in there, and see them with flavor names that include pumpkin and sweet potato. Those three people foods are all safe for both dogs and cats. Turkey is a safe bet for both too—cooked, and plain, that is. None of that honey baked glaze or rich, savory gravy. Here are a few highlights:
- Bread (plain, without raisins or spices) is fine for pets, however there’s really no health benefit.
- For cats, tuna and other canned fish may be okay as an occasional treat, but don’t make it an everyday thing. If that’s all or even most of what they eat, they’ll be malnourished. These are also usually high in oils and sodium that are not good for pets.
- Cooking up a nice juicy fish (but adding nothing to it, of course) and giving it to your cat every now and again, or adding it to their cat food, is generally fine. But it shouldn’t be a meal of its own. And too much fish can lead to eczema and digestive issues in cats.
Here are some more people foods that are generally harmless for pets:
- Unsalted cashews
- Apples (in moderation, and remove the seeds and peel!)
- Berries (frozen ones make a great summery snack!)
- Brown rice
- Pumpkin and squash
- Cooked eggs
- Cooked, lean beef, poultry (boneless, skinless chicken), and fish
- Lean deli meat
- Green beans
One might think people foods that are “healthy” and “clean” are therefore okay for our furry friends. Nope! It just doesn’t work that way. Certain vegetables, fruits, and plants are some of the worst things for our pets. So do your research before assuming that the additive-free, non-processed paleo diet you’re on will be okay to give your pet table scraps of. Here are some things to take note of:
- Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and cats.
- Almonds aren’t toxic, but they can block your pet’s esophagus or tear their windpipe if not chewed up. And salted ones can increase water retention, which can be particularly bad for pets with heart problems.
- Chocolate being bad is not an urban legend. Just a little bit will likely cause diarrhea and vomiting, and a lot can cause seizures, mess with pets’ hearts, and even cause death. If your pet consumes any chocolate, call the Pet Poison Helpline, found in this Bivvy pet health insurance article.
- No fat trimmings or bones. Fat can cause pancreatitis, especially in cats. And bones can splinter and cause internal damage or make your pet choke.
- Grapes and raisins in large quantities will cause kidney failure and can be fatal.
- “Raw” diets for dogs and cats are definitely trending upwards these days, and you can explore the pros and cons of that if it intrigues you, but giving your pet just straight up raw meat or fish as a diet in itself is never good.
- Also trending upwards? The whole sourdough, DIY bread thing. Or are we past that? Either way, if you do it, keep the dough away from your curious critters. If they eat it, it can expand in their stomachs, plus the fermentation of the yeast creates alcohol, which can be toxic.
Here are some people foods you’ll definitely want to steer your pet clear of:
- Candy and gum, especially sweetened with xylitol
- Anything containing caffeine
- Onions, garlic, or chives, fresh or in their powdered forms
- Raw eggs
- Baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg are all highly toxic for cats
- Mushrooms—some are poisonous and won’t make their effects known for 6-24 hours after consumption
- Baby food
- Citrus oil
- Human vitamins
Arm yourself with our pet insurance, so you’ll be prepared in case your dog or cat ever eats one of the above and needs diagnostic treatment. Bivvy offers coverage for overeager eaters, as well as illnesses, x-rays, ultrasounds, and more!
If you find yourself in a bind after your pet’s accidentally consumed some people food they shouldn’t have, and need a blood test, surgery, or hospitalization, treatments are within scope of our pet health insurance coverage. And our cat and dog insurance cost is less than $1/day, covering even new prescription meds and emergency care if your pet gets into people food and needs medical attention.