IT can be hard to resist those pleading puppy eyes when your dog looks up at you while you’re about to dig into a delicious burger. However, feeding your pet with human food or table scraps is not the best choice for their nutrition and health. In fact, an inappropriate diet may lead to digestive issues, illnesses, nutritional deficiencies, and other health problems. In extreme cases, it can even cause their death.
Despite the risks, many pet owners continue to feed their pets table food. Social media is replete with examples of pet owners sharing their meals with their furry companions or offering them human food as treats. These can mislead other pet owners into thinking that such practices are normal, acceptable, or even correct, when in fact they are often harmful or unsafe.
To keep your fur babies in good shape, it’s best to keep them away from foods that are toxic to them and turn to trusted sources to ensure your pet is receiving the right nutrition.
Examples of foods that harm your pet:
Raw food diet. Some pet owners believe that feeding their pets raw foods such as uncooked meat or raw eggs can help improve their skin, boost their energy, and shrink their stools. But according to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Global Nutrition Committee, there is no evidence that a raw food diet has significant health benefits over commercial or homemade cooked diets. In fact, it can lead to a foodborne bacterial infection of E. coli or Salmonella, which can be fatal.
Dairy. Although pets deserve a reward for exceptional behavior, take note that feeding them any dairy product such as ice cream or whipped cream as a treat is not wise. For both cats and dogs, lactose intolerance increases as they reach adulthood, so ingesting milk, cream, cheese, or the like may result in an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Cake. Celebrating your pet’s birthday wouldn’t be complete without a cake. However, cakes made for humans contain lots of sugar, fat and other ingredients that are unhealthy or even toxic to cats and dogs. While it’s true that some cakes are made specifically for pets, it’s best to give them to your pet in moderation. Also, take note that cats can’t taste sugar, so they won’t appreciate the sweet treat anyway.
Onions and garlic. If you want to share your meal with your pet, think again. Onions and garlic are part of the allium plant family, which also includes leeks, chives, and shallots. While onions and garlic make meals for humans delicious, they can be toxic to cats and dogs, according to Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Fresh or cooked, allium vegetables, can damage your pet’s red blood cells, resulting in anemia and digestive issues.
Chocolates. These are a huge no-no for cats and dogs due to caffeine and theobromine, the compounds responsible for the bitter taste in cocoa and chocolate. Chocolate can potentially lead to heart problems, seizures, restlessness, or even death in pets.
While knowing exactly which types of food are unsafe for your pet can be challenging, there are several ways to ensure they receive proper nutrition.
“Since there is a lot of misleading information about what your pets can and cannot eat, it’s best to avoid feeding your cat or dog anything you’re unsure about. And if you believe your pet has ingested something they should’ve not eaten, bring them to a vet immediately,” said Gerard Poa, Royal Canin’s Philippines market head “You can also discuss and consult on your pet’s diet with your vet to make sure they’re getting the right nutrients.”
It’s also a good habit to check the label on pet foods for which type of pet they’re designed for and the serving recommendations. It’s easy enough to tell dog food from cat food, but there’s more to it than that.
Royal Canin’s products are tailored for a pet’s breed, size, age, lifestyle, and medical issues, which means that each recipe is formulated with the right amount of essential nutrients to meet your pet’s unique health needs.
Image credits: AP/Charlie Riedel