Healthy treats for cats and dogs

We all enjoy giving our pets a little treat now and then, but with 1 in 3 cats and dogs now overweight, we need to think carefully about how we show our animals affection.
Cute puppy and kitten lying on a leather sofa seat
New research has revealed that three quarters of cat and dog owners will regularly give their pets the leftovers of unhealthy foods such as fish and chips, curries, burgers and pizzas. Worryingly, some do this every day.

What not to feed your pet

The following foods and drinks should not be fed to cats and dogs.
  • ALCOHOL - Very toxic to pets. Can cause vomiting and in severe cases coma
  • ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS - Contain a toxic component called persin that can damage a dog’s heart and lungs. It is also high in fat and can cause stomach upsets
  • AVOCADO - Contains theobromine or theophylline which can stem the flow of blood to the brain
  • CHOCOLATE, COFFEE, TEA AND COCOA - Contain theobromine and caffeine that can cause vomiting and diarrhoea
  • COOKED BONE - Raw bones are nutritious for your pet, but cooked bones can splinter and lodge in the throat or stomach
  • GRAPES AND RAISINS - Contain a toxin that can damage the kidneys
  • HOPS - Pets can go into shock if they digest hops used by home brewers. Dispose of hops very carefully
  • MACADAMIA NUTS - Create weakness and stiffness in the legs by attacking the nervous system
  • MOULDY FOOD - Can contain multiple toxins that cause vomiting and diarrhoea
  • MUSHROOMS - Can contain toxins that affect the nervous system and in severe cases cause shock
  • ONIONS - Can cause anaemia and even kidney failure. Just one is enough to cause harm. Garlic and chives, also members of the Allium family, can be eaten in small quantities without causing any harm
  • POTATO, TOMATO AND RHUBARB STEMS/LEAVES - Contain oxalates, which can upset the digestive system and urinary tract
  • RAW EGGS - There is a small risk of salmonella. They also contain an enzyme that can reduce the absorption of biotin. Can be fed to a healthy pet occasionally
  • RAW FISH - Too much can lead to a deficiency in thiamine, resulting in loss of appetite and seizures. Only feed occasionally and sprinkle with brewer’s yeast, a great source of thiamine
  • SYNTHETIC COLOURINGS - Can contain artificial additives. For natural colourings try beetroot juice, carrots and crushed tomatoes
  • YEAST DOUGH - If eaten raw, it can expand in the stomach causing pain and possible rupture

Eating with your pet

The RSPCA site also has some healthy diet tips for our furry friends:

Originally published on 03/02/2012

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