Table Scraps You CAN Feed Your Pet

Your husband thinks it’s cute when the dog begs for bacon. And the kids like to give the cat milk … and sneak her a few lima beans. But is it really OK for your animal to eat from the table?

“In general, scraps from your plate aren’t recommended for pets because they add too many extra calories and may contain harmful ingredients,” explains Lisa Peterson, director of communications for the American Kennel Club and a longtime dog breeder and owner. However, small people-food handouts can be helpful, especially when it comes to behavioral training. Here’s the skinny on animal-friendly people food.

Table Scraps for Pets: The ‘Yes’ List
If you plan to feed your dog people food, keep the servings small. Table scraps should total less than 10% of your pet’s diet.

  • Fruit: Apples, watermelon and berries are good sources of fiber and water. But don’t hand out dried fruit -- it’s sugary and may cause diarrhea.
  • Veggies: Pump up vitamins A and C in your pet’s diet by adding green beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli, squash and carrots.
  • Grains: Rice, plain pasta and oatmeal are fiber-rich foods and are OK for your pet to eat. Just skip the raisins and brown sugar in the oatmeal.
  • Eggs: A bit of scrambled or fried egg from your plate adds protein to your pet’s diet. Just don’t serve eggs raw.
  • Yogurt: Packed with calcium and protein, unsweetened yogurt (even frozen) is a creamy treat for your pet.
  • Salmon: Fatty fish contains healthful omega-3s. Be sure to pick out any tiny bones, and always serve it cooked.
  • Meat: Keep it lean (no fat, gristle or bone), and your pet will leap for joy when you give her a taste.

Again, the key is portion control. Any time you give your pet people food, you should cut back a little on its regular portion of food so your furry friend doesn’t end up eating too much. Be careful with the size of the offerings too -- cut foods into half-inch cubes.

Table Scraps for Pets: The ‘No’ List
Certain table scraps can cause intestinal upset or even poisoning. Foods you should never give your pets include:
 

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocadoes
  • Caffeine
  • Grapes