LEFTOVER FOODS: STRAIGHT TO THE WASTEBIN OR PET’S STOMACH?
Jordan Walker practices healthy eating and his pets are doing the same, saying that he wants to live a healthy and active lifestyle for as long as he can. He loves writing about pet health as seen in some of his posts at Coops And Cages and in blogs like this one. In here, he shares some valuable information about feeding pets table scraps.
Do you consider your pets as your real best friends? How do you show your love for them? Pet owners have their own unique way of showering their pets with love. Some would buy their cats, dogs or birds some of the most expensive toys they could afford. Others take a particular care in their grooming needs. But when it comes to pet ownership, health is something that should always be on top of your list. What your pet dog or cat eats plays an important role in their overall development. Many vets recommend feeding pets with pre-mixed petfoods since these are popularly known to have all the nutrients that they need. What about those who feed their pets with human table scraps? Is this considered healthy for pets too?
Table Scraps for Pets
Leftover foods for pets could be healthy or unhealthy depending on its quality. The real question when it comes to feeding your pets some table scraps is not whether these are considered leftovers, but if these are deemed adequate to their nutritional needs. Take note that humans have different nutritional requirements compared to that of pets. For people, a balanced diet should consist of a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. While all of these types of foods can be eaten by animal companions, their breed may need you to cut down on a certain food group and consider adding a bit more on some. Cats for example will need more protein in their diet.
Foods That Pets Can Eat
There are many types of human foods that pets could eat. Some of the healthier options are the following:
- Lean meat. Commercial pet foods often contain meat products so that pets could get their needed dose of protein. Some of these can come from low quality meat that humans would not normally serve on their dinner tables such as chicken feet and gut. The meats that you eat may be healthier for pets provided that these are lean. Take out the bones from chicken and turkey though since these may hurt your pet’s digestive system.
- Mashed potatoes. This all-time favorite food for the holidays is great to share with your pets. However, just to be on the safer side, take out the other stuff that usually comes along with it. Onions, gravy, butter, sour cream, and onions are not considered safe for pet consumption.
- Rice or pasta. The good thing about giving pet dogs carbohydrates is that these provides them with the extra energy they need especially for the more athletic breeds. Feeding rice or pasta is safe just as long as you cut down on acidic sauces.
- Green vegetables. If you have difficulty feeding your kids with green leafy vegetables, don’t let these go to waste. Your pet cat or dog could highly benefit from their high nutritional content. These too are considered great sources of fiber and are easily digestible for pets. Lettuce, spinach or kale will make your pets healthy.
- Squash. Eye health is very important for pets. You can’t have them take a refraction test and get a pair of eyeglasses or contacts. Vitamin A from natural food sources are considered healthier than those that come from synthetic sources? Why? Synthetic vitamin A comes with the risk of toxicity. One of the best sources of vitamin A is squash. Pets easily warm up to this food since it tastes sweet. Additional benefits include added vitamin C source and it’s great for constipation too.
- Apples. If you love eating apples, then save the scraps for your pet. Just like squash, apples contain vitamins A and C. Just make sure that you take out the pits. Apple seeds contain cyanide, considered toxic for pets. A few seeds swallowed by your pet may not have significant effects but take all of them out anyway for their safety.
- Beets. Aside from your greens, pets could also benefit from red vegetables such as beets. This can be served cooked or raw. For pets, beets have vitamins and minerals that could help them have a liver cleanse. You may need to watch them while they eat this though or else, some of the red stains could end up in fabric covered furniture.
- Oats. If you had it for breakfast and you can’t eat them all, your old pet suffering from bowel issues may benefit from eating oats. Oats are high in fiber, something that can help your pet have regular bowel movements. You can also feed oatmeal cookies as long as these are not loaded with salt and sugar.
- Plain yogurt. For an added tummy protection, you can let your pets eat some yogurt. Along with probiotics, yogurt contains calcium and protein for better muscle and bone health. Consider getting fat-free yogurts if you want to give these to your pets too.
- Eggs. Recent studies show that eggs help improve cholesterol levels by encouraging the production of the good kinds while lessening the bad ones. It’s now considered a superfood because of its abundance of nutrients that include B vitamins, vitamin A and Selenium to name a few. Most of the nutrients are found on its yolk, so share the yellow part with your pet too.
The Bad Foods
Yes, not all human foods are considered great for domestic animal consumption. There are certain foods that are better thrown in the trash can than served on your pet’s bowl. Depending on your pet’s type and breed, some of the foods considered bad for pets are:
- Macadamia nuts.
- Cooked bones.
The key to feeding leftover foods for pets is choosing the right kinds and serving these in ideal proportions. Anything in excess, even for highly healthy foods, is considered risky both for pets and humans. With this said, remember that pets need healthy options and are not substitutes for trash bins.