Best and Worst ‘People’ Food for Dogs and Cats


By PetMD

Like buying candy for kids, we often think snacks that have been specially packaged for pets are the best treats in the world. Why would they want anything other than a tasty treat? But a lot of those packaged pet snacks and treats are the equivalent of candy. They are not a big deal, as long as you don’t do too much of it, since they are mostly devoid of nutritional value.

And just as we encourage kids to eat their veggies rather than another candy, we can also encourage a love for veggies in our pets. These low calorie, low fat, vitamin and mineral-packed “treats” are a great alternative to the packaged dog biscuits and kitty chews.


Which Vegetables Are Best and Which Vegetable Are Not Safe for Pets?

There are some plant foods that are toxic to pets, so you will want to be familiar with what to avoid and even prevent access to. If you are unsure, check with your veterinarian to make sure that your planned treats are not going to be harmful to your pet. Also keep in mind that while dogs are omnivorous and thus more open to trying different kinds of foods. Cats, on the other hand, are carnivorous. They are not just picky about what they eat — they are constitutionally incapable of digesting some types of foods.


Next Page: Good and bad foods for pets.


Good Foods

  • Apples – without seeds or core (apple seeds contain chemical compounds that are poisonous to animals)
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon – without seeds
  • Frozen bananas
  • Green beans
  • Carrots – raw or cooked
  • Sweet potato – cooked, cubed or mashed without butter or seasoning; regular potatoes are also good, but in limited amounts since they are high in sugar and can increase weight
  • Squash, zucchini
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Popcorn – unsalted and unbuttered
  • Catnip or cat grass


Bad Foods

  • Grapes and raisins – contain chemical compounds that are toxic to dogs
  • Garlic and onions – both have chemical properties that can be toxic and even life threatening to dogs and cats
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Mushrooms – particularly wild mushrooms
  • Fruits with pits, such as peaches, cherries, and plums – in some cases the pit can be toxic or can simply present a choking hazard
  • Nuts – particularly macadamia nuts, which are toxic to pets


Next Page: The Best Way to Feed These Treats

What is the Best Way To Feed These Types of Treats?

The foods should be baked or steamed, cut up into smallish pieces, and only given in small amounts at a time. This will prevent both choking and an overload of carbohydrate- and calorie-rich foods. You can give the vegetables and fruits by themselves, or you might mash or puree them and mix them up with the prepared food and given at meal times.

Replacing your pet’s dense, high fat packaged treats with healthy treats like fruits and vegetables will be one of the most beneficial things you do for your pet. Over the long term, your pet’s health and immune system will be stronger, aging will not be as severe, its weight will stay steadier, and if weight is already an issue, you may even see your pet’s weight become more manageable — if you stick to it and include moderate exercise.

With any change in diet, it is important to observe your pet for issues that can arise in response to the change. If your pet begins to show digestive or behavioral changes, stop feeding the new foodstuff and consult with a veterinarian if the problem does not go away in the absence of the added food.

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‘People’ Food for Dogs and Cats originally appeared on


Chris Carson
Past Member 3 years ago

Great article Thanks.

Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Love involves smart sharing

Claire S.
Claire S3 years ago

I have had cats for over 20 years and I just don't give people food to them anymore. They will swipe things once in a while though.....

Elisa F.
Elisa F4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Lis T.
Elisabeth T4 years ago

Thanks for this information.

Anteater Ants
Anteater Ants4 years ago

And for anteaters?

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Helga G.
Helga Ganguly4 years ago

I forgot.My dog had terrible gas -just horrible,when she was a puppy.No matter who 's lap she was on,you knew she had had done something as that happy smile turned into quickly putting her on the floor-all 5 pounds of her. Again,the solution to the problem was the food. I won't say which-because about 3 years ago,they were bought out by one of those huge companies and they changed the formula-and we changed to Blue.

Helga G.
Helga Ganguly4 years ago

My dog doesn't smell,or frankly,we wouldn't have one. She's small.She gets a bath every week.She gets her teeth brushed every week.A carrot chunk or two takes care of the breath. We have her anal glands expressed once a year at her annual exam. I've never noticed a smell.
Yeast,whatever that is comes from having too many carbs in the diet.She eats Blue Buffalo Wilderness. I've read that eating the Dog foods that list ground corn and processed meat as the first ingredients, will have too much sugar and carbs in them and too little good quality protein.That will actually turn the fur pinkish and and the sweetish smell was yeast. So if your dog is licking it's paws till they are raw and bleeding, buy better dog food. UGH! Mine doesn't smell. She sleeps on a white antique couch during the day and on my bed at night.

Helga G.
Helga Ganguly4 years ago

Tomatoes are in the nightshade family. Of course,now and then,my dog and cat both have a little spoon of chicken curry and there's a touch of onion and garlic and tomato in it.But a touch is not enough to make even a 7 lb dog sick.