Do you ever wonder if there are people foods for pets that are both delicious and safe? There are actually a number of healthy fruits and vegetables that you can give safely to your canine or feline companions.
The many fruits, vegetables and other foods that people eat to sustain health can also help pets stay healthy, too. Not only can they be given as treats, but they may be added as part of your pet’s daily diet.
However, just because some people food for pets are safe for dogs and cats does not mean that they are advisable for your particular pet. Always consult with your veterinarian before making even small changes to your pet’s diet.
Remember to wash all fruits and vegetables prior to giving them to your pet. And for fruits remove the seeds, cores, rinds, and any inedible skins. Some seeds contain cyanide and cores can be a choking hazard.
Most cats do not like fruit since they lack the receptors to taste sweetness, but the following are safe for both dogs and cats.
Apples are great snacks for dogs. They have vitamins A and C, and are a good source of fiber. They contain pectin, which helps rid the body of toxins, aids in digestion, and strengthens the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract.
Pears contain pectin, which strengthens the intestinal tract, and are a good source of potassium and fiber. Potassium provides the body with heart and muscle strength, while fiber is excellent for colon health.
Oranges improve respiratory health, reduce cardiovascular disease, and lower cholesterol levels. As with most fruits, remove the seeds and the rind prior to feeding to your pet.
Most berries have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
Cranberries lower the lower the pH levels of a pet’s urine and help maintain the health of the urinary tract.
Blueberries are high in antioxidants and can reduce tear staining in dogs. Raspberries have low sugar content, but are high in fiber and vitamin C, and enjoy anti-inflammatory properties.
However, the sugar that is contained in raspberries is xylitol, which can be toxic to pets in large doses.
The seeds on the skin of the strawberry have the added benefit of rubbing away plaque that may adhere to hard-to-reach places within the mouth.
Some cats do enjoy cantaloupe. It is high in beta-carotene, promotes good eyesight, and reduces the growth of cataracts. Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant, known cancer preventative, and great treat to ward off dehydration. Your pet should not receive the rind.
Carrots are low-calorie, rich in vitamin A, and contain beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant believed to help fight cancer. Carrots are a good source of vitamin C, known for its immune-boosting properties and its help maintaining cartilage, teeth, and bones.
While dogs enjoy carrots raw or gently cooked, chop and cook carrots prior to feeding them to cats.
Broccoli is healthy and nutrient dense. The stalk is excellent for animals with bad teeth because it is low in sugar content and unlikely to raise blood glucose levels. It contains large amounts of vitamins A, C, and D. Broccoli is great for dogs raw, but when cooked it produces a cancer-fighting enzyme.
However, too much can inhibit thyroid function in dogs and cause stomach upset. For cats, break up broccoli and cook prior to feeding.
Pumpkin is excellent for dogs and cats with digestive issues or those with irregular bowel movements. It helps regulate blood sugar and provides a good source of beta-carotene. It can be given as a low-calorie treat.
In canned form pumpkin can be added to your pet’s meals for gastrointestinal health. Choose plain canned pumpkin and not the type used for pie filling.
Green beans contain vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folic acid and beta-carotene. They are a great low-calorie source of fiber, which can help your pet maintain a healthy weight.
For overweight animals green beans can be a viable kibble substitute. They lower blood fat levels and are a healthy choice of omega-3 fatty acid. For cats, cook beans to minimize wear and tear on their more sensitive teeth.
Celery can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and stress hormones. Its high water content can freshen your pet’s breath and help maintain hydration.
Give people food for pets in moderation
It is important to know that although all of these fruits and vegetables can be given to your pet safely, they must be given in moderation. And what passes for moderation will be determined in consultation with your veterinarian based upon your pet’s health and specific dietary needs.
A small amount of broccoli can be a great addition to your pet’s diet, but too much broccoli can cause stomach irritation and may even inhibit thyroid function.
A bit of orange can provide a huge boost of vitamin C, but too much vitamin C can lead to stomach upset.
Introduce one fruit or vegetable at a time and wait several days before introducing any other new dietary item. This way you can monitor your pet carefully for any changes in health, elimination habits, or behavior that may be caused by dietary changes.
Toxic fruits and vegetables
Keep in mind that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for your pet.
Cherries, grapes, and raisins are all toxic to your pets and can cause irreversible kidney damage. Very strong citric fruits like lemons and limes can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Onions in any form – cooked or raw – can cause the red blood vessels to burst, causing anemia.
Giving your dog a fruit or vegetable as a treat may not seem like something your dog or cat would like, but it is something that can help them stay happy and healthy.
So the next time you are eating a healthy snack like a celery stalk or some blueberries, give your pet a bite. This treat is truly all natural and good for both of you.
Hey Frank – I’d go for that dish too…
My little guy is not much for veggies but Sabrettes, slow smoked leg of lamb with eastern Mediterranean spices, and Latkes make him very happy.
Very good article
Hey Frank – Crystal and I are coming over for dinner! 😉 – beth
I don’t think it is appropriate to advocate feeding fruits and veggies to cats for people who may not understand their dietary needs. These are great dog treats, but cats are carnivores and supplementing their diet with non-meat items is not generally recommended when not specifically ordered by a veterinarian. I am sure you mean well, but many people find posts like this on blogs and use it to justify feeding cats a vegetarian diet against medical advice, causing vitamin deficiencies and other health issues . Maybe put a disclaimer or other link to information about proper nutrition for a feline in a more prominent place so they can understand the health risks?
Otherwise, great article about treats for doggies!
Thanks for your concerns, but we prefaced the article asking folks to always speak with their veterinarians prior to making any changes to their pet’s diet. This applies to dogs, cats…any pets at all.
Pets for Patriots
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