What foods are good and bad for your pet

We all want to give our four-legged friends the best food for them, food that will keep them healthy and happy for life, but what that is, can sometimes be more than a little confusing.

Because while some pet owners opt for custom-made, store-bought pet food, others offer their four-legged family members scraps from their own table or specially prepared “human-type” meals. The latter might work fine as long as the animal ends up eating a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, but to make sure you have all your bases covered, commercial pet food, which has been tailored to your pet’s nutritional needs, is often a better choice.

To help you feel confident you are giving your pet the right food for them, we have put together a quick reference guide over what to feed your cats and dogs – and what treats you really need to avoid.

Dogs

Most dog owners opt for so-called wet food, which are easily available and affordable. And while this processed “gloop” may look a little yuck to us humans, to your dog, this type of food is tailored to his needs and contains all of the nutrients he needs to stay healthy.

For the most part, these foods are a variety of meats, but dogs, unlike cats, are not strict carnivores, and so any high quality food for your dog should also contain grains, fruits and vegetables, which will help his digestive system stay healthy.

Many dog owners also feed their dog dry food, and many vets will argue that “mixed feeding” – in other words alternating between dry and wet food – is what is best for most dogs’ nutritional needs. Note that as wet and dry feed are digested at different speeds, it is generally recommended that you don’t mix them in the same meal.

Cats

Just like with dogs, most of a cat’s diet should be a nutritionally complete cat food, which you can buy in the shop or from a pet store. But every now and again, you are OK to give her a treat from your plate too – you just need to know how to choose the right feline-friendly snacks:

Cats are carnivores and need to consume protein from meat for a strong heart, good vision, and a healthy reproductive system. Which means that cooked beef, chicken, turkey, and small amounts of lean deli meats are all great treats to offer your kitty. Avoid raw or spoiled meat, as this could make your cat sick. Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t give it to your pet.

For their high level of omega-3 fatty acids, canned or cooked fish are both fine for a treat (avoid raw fish). As well as this, some wholegrain snacks might be good for cats too, so you can try with cooked millet or couscous.

People foods pets should never eat

Some human foods can be seriously harmful to your pets, and should be avoided at all costs. Here are the top toxic people foods to avoid feeding your pet:

Alcohol
Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine

Citrus
Grapes and Raisins
Macadamia Nuts
Milk and Dairy
Onions, Garlic, Chives
Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Salt and Salty Snack Foods

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