Healthy Human Snacks You Can Share with Your Pets
Unlike Chloe, the human-foodie cat of The Secret Life of Pets crew, your pet probably eats their kibble happily. They may try to eat all the foods happily, which isn’t actually safe—I’m looking at you, chocolate. Cats have a different digestive system (they are primarily carnivores) so while there are plenty of nontoxic snacks for kitties, you do have to be careful. And the same goes for dogs, who are more tolerant of omnivore diets. But many snacks can be shared with your fluffy friends, and here are a few of the safe and healthy ones.
Just like us, your pets may be in love with cheese. You can train dogs with cheese; it works wonderfully as a reward because, well, cheese is delicious. But also just like us, too much cheese is not healthy; it can be too high in fat and pets can be lactose intolerant (i.e. it can lead to digestive issues). Low-fat cheeses like mozzarella are best, and, if kept just for rewards or special occasions, cheese is a welcome treat.
Vegetables can be shared with your pup or kitty—raw or cooked carrots, green beans, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes offer nutrition for dogs and roughage for cats. The more important list is that which to avoid—grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and others are toxic to pets and should not be given in any circumstances.
Eggs are protein rich and safe for both dogs and cats, which could make Sunday brunch a whole family affair. Since eggs are found in nature, both canine and feline ancestors have probably scavenged a few out of wild nests. The difference with your domesticated pet is they should only eat cooked eggs (scrambled, hard-boiled, and no additives) and skip the shells. A good rule to follow is that pets are much smaller than us, so no more than one egg would suffice (and even that’s a stretch). As with all treats, watch for the warning signs of allergies.
Dogs and cats love fish. Canned fish, like tuna, is fine to share with your kitty or pup in small portions. Cats have a tendency to go absolutely bananas for tuna in a can, so while it’s okay to give them a small treat, there can be too much mercury, fatty acids, and magnesium in human servings of tuna, which can lead to digestive issues and health problems. You should never rely on just fish for your cat or dog; the food you buy at the store is specially formulated to hit all the nutritional needs including vitamins and minerals. Relying on human food to feed your pet is a surefire way to miss out on these essentials.
Peanut Butter and More
Peanut butter is a major canine favorite, but word to the wise for Mr. Whiskers: cats can be allergic to peanuts. For yogurt, avoid faux-sweeteners (typically in diet yogurts), as they can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Plain and unsweetened is best, but keep in mind, it is a dairy product and may upset tummies. We also checked out jerky—absolutely do not share salmon, beef, turkey, or any jerky with your pet, including those formulated for animals!
If you’re not sure what to share, Healthy Paws has a great list of foods that are safe and not safe for dogs; Pets at WebMD has a thorough list of no-no’s for cats.