Which human foods can I feed my cat or dog?


This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr. Josepha Cox DVM

While most pets are quite happy eating commercially prepared dog and cat food, we know owners still love to give treats and extras. A common question we get asked is what human food is safe to give to my pet? Below is a list of foods that are not only safe but can be nutritious too!

Safe proteins for pets

Lean meats and fish belong in our pets' diets! Meats are best given plain, unseasoned and free of added oils. You may feed the meat fresh or cooked however, cooking generally removes the risk of bacterial and parasitic contamination. Also never feed your pet cooked bones.

  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Poultry (cooked)
  • Kangaroo
  • Lamb
  • Eggs (cooked)
  • Hard cheese and cottage cheese (ok in small amounts as an occasional snack)
  • Yoghurt (ok as an occasional snack)

Please note some pets are lactose intolerant so don't continue to feed dairy if this upsets your pet's tummy.

It's best to steer away from ham and other processed meats as they often contain a lot of salt which is not ideal for our cats and dogs.

Safe vegetables for pets

Vegetables can be a great low calorie snack that is full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Most vegetables are best served plain with no seasonings and cooked (boiled or steamed) for easier digestion. Cats are notoriously more fussy than dogs so they may refuse any vegetables offered to them however, there is the occasional cat that loves to chow down on veggies!

  • Pumpkin
  • Carrot (raw or cooked)
  • Sweet potato
  • Zucchini
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers (raw)
  • Corn - cooked kernels only. Beware of the cob!!! This is one of the most common foreign body obstructions in dogs

Safe fruits for pets

Fruits can be another nutritious snack and can be fed raw. However, be careful not to feed too much as they do contain a lot of natural sugar which can potentially cause tummy upsets.

  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon (seedless)
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe

Other human foods safe for pets

  • - Popcorn (plain and air popped)
  • - Cooked rice
  • - Oats
  • - Quinoa
  • - Peanut butter -Unsalted, with no added sugar or sweeteners such as xylitol. Xylitol is toxic to pets

All the above suggestions are for snacks and occasional treats in healthy pets. Please check with your regular vet regarding snacks if your pet is on a prescription diet or has a diagnosed medical condition.

Human foods to avoid feeding your pet

  • - Avocado : these contain persin which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. The main source of persin is in the pip and this also doubles as a choking hazard.
  • - Chocolate: it contains theobromine and caffeine both of which are toxic and even fatal to pets.
  • - Onions and garlic : Any plant in the Allium genus of plants can be toxic. These contain substances called organosulfoxides which can damage red blood cells leading to anaemia as well as causing vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • - Xylitol: as mentioned earlier this sweetener is toxic and potentially fatal in our pets.
  • - Grapes and raisins: the toxic substance in grapes and raisins is still largely unknown but even just one grape has the potential to cause kidney failure
  • - Nuts: it's a good idea to avoid these in general as they can cause stomach issues due to their high fat content. However the Macadamia nut itself is toxic and can cause neurological issues
  • - Bread dough : a small amount of cooked bread is relatively harmless but the raw dough can be toxic as the digestion leads to ethanol and alcohol poisoning
  • - Alcohol or products containing alcohol: avoid as these can be potentially fatal
  • - Citrus fruits: Most pets detest these anyway but they also contain citric acid which can cause tummy upsets
  • - Cinnamon : Not necessarily toxic but can cause irritation to the inside of the mouth

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Further Reading

Want to read more? Check out our other articles:

Tick paralysis in dogs and cats

Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

Arthritis care in dogs

Looking after your senior cat

Caring for a blind dog


Human foods for dogs: Which foods are safe for dogs? Medical News Today

What Kind of Human Foods Can Dogs Eat? Nasa Pet Hospital

What Human Foods Can Cats Eat? Purina

Safe Human Foods for Cats to Eat. Forever Vets

Can I Feed My Pet Fruit? Hill's Pet

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