Are Leftovers or Table Scraps Okay for My Dog or Cat?

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May 2016 guest blog article

Kristen Levine, pet living expert

Feeding pets people food can pose problems. The most desirable leftovers from the table are high in fat and calories, but low in nutrition value for your pet. Too many scraps from the table can cause upset stomachs that can send you on a trip to the vet, or have you cleaning up a regurgitated mess on the floor!

Often, pets become spoiled by the great taste of people food and become picky, refusing to eat their own healthy pet food. And it doesn’t take a pet long to figure out how to beg for more. Feeding from the table just a couple of times can teach your pet to lurk under or around the table at dining time, even when you have company.

Eliminate these pesky problems associated with table feeding by placing your pet in another room while you dine, or design a family policy to never feed pets from the table.

Treat your pet with a more appropriate snack! Follow these helpful 'treat tips' as a guide.

Remember, treating pets is a very good thing when practiced in moderation and choosing appropriate types. Follow these tips to "treat your pet right":

  • Choose treats specially made for your type of pet. Specialty stores offer treats formulated for all kinds of animals including dogs, cats, ferrets, reptiles, birds and more. Consult your veterinarian if your pet has food allergies or special dietary needs.
  • Don’t fill pet up on treats before meal-time.
  • Look for treats that benefit your pet’s overall well being. Healthy morsels include cat treats that prevent hairballs, treats that clean teeth, treats with added vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Fresh veggies are good snacks for pocket pets like gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. Always consult with your veterinarian first to make sure the foods are acceptable (for instance, bet you didn’t know lettuce can cause diarrhea in rabbits!)
  • Ask your veterinarian how many calories your pet needs per day. Then add up the calories his/her food provides and never let treats exceed daily caloric needs.
  • A good rule of thumb, don’t let treats equal more than 10% of pet’s daily diet.

Some people food is not safe for pets

Veterinarians say the following foods have been identified as potentially toxic, even fatal to dogs: alcohol, avocados, chocolate, macadamia nuts, fatty, moldy or spoiled foods, onions, grapes and raisins, salt and yeast dough.

For more ways to live happier and healthier with pets, visit my website, Kristen Levine Pet Living.