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What Foods Can Dogs and Cats Eat?

Updated: May 23, 2023


food dogs and cats can eat

As a pet owner, it can be difficult to know what foods are safe and healthy for your canine and feline friend to eat. Is it safe to feed your dog fruits and rice? What about occasional treats for your kitty?


In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the various foods that dogs and cats can and cannot eat, as well as the potential benefits or harm they may have. We will also highlight what you should do if you suspect that your furkid has ingested something toxic.


These are the topics covered:



Foods That Dogs Can Eat


Dogs are known for being scavengers and will eat almost anything, but not all foods are good for their health and well being.


So what foods can they actually eat and how does it benefit them? Read on to find out!



foods dogs can eat

Fruits


Fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They can help promote healthy digestion, boost the immune system, and provide antioxidant protection. Make sure you remove the seeds, pits, and cores before your pup gobbles down these fruity treats.


These fruits are generally safe for dogs to consume:


  1. Apple (without core and seeds)

  2. Banana (without peel)

  3. Blueberry

  4. Coconut (without husk)

  5. Mango (without seed)

  6. Orange (without seeds)

  7. Peaches (without seed)

  8. Pears (without seeds)

  9. Pineapples

  10. Strawberries

  11. Watermelon (without rind and seeds)


Note that most fruits are somewhat sweet and high in calories, so do limit the amounts that your pooch consumes!


Vegetables


Vegetables are another great source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre for dogs. These vegetables are generally low in calories and high in nutrients, which can help to support your dog's overall health and well-being.


  1. Asparagus

  2. Bell Peppers

  3. Broccoli

  4. Brussels Sprouts

  5. Carrots

  6. Cauliflower

  7. Celery

  8. Corn (without cob)

  9. Cucumber

  10. Green Beans

  11. Lettuce

  12. Pumpkin

  13. Spinach

  14. Sweet Potatoes

  15. Zucchini


When preparing vegetables for your dog, do ensure that they’re either raw or lightly cooked. Avoid adding any condiments or seasoning (no salt, no sugar, and definitely no spices) to your pooch’s diet.


Nuts & Nut Butters


Nuts and nut butters can be a great source of protein and healthy fats. However, it's important to remember that some nuts can be harmful to dogs, so it's best to stick with unsalted and unflavoured varieties. Smaller nuts may also be a choking hazard to dogs, so do be careful!

(If you are unsure, it is best to avoid them.)


Some of the nuts and nut butters that are safe for dogs to eat include:


  1. Almonds (unsalted and unflavored)

  2. Cashews (unsalted and unflavored)

  3. Hazelnuts (unsalted and unflavored)

  4. Peanut butter (unsalted and without xylitol, which is toxic to dogs)

  5. Peanuts (unsalted and unflavored)

  6. Pecans (unsalted and unflavored)

  7. Pistachios (unsalted and unflavored, with shells removed)

  8. Walnuts (unsalted and unflavored)


Grains


Grains can also be a healthy addition to your dog's diet, but it's important to choose whole grains and to give them in moderation. These grains are a good source of carbohydrates, which can provide your dog with energy and help to regulate their digestive system. Make sure that all grains are cooked well, and avoid adding any seasoning to them.


  1. Brown Rice

  2. Buckwheat

  3. Millet

  4. Oatmeal (cooked)

  5. Quinoa (cooked)

  6. Whole Wheat


Meat


Meat is an essential part of a dog's diet, as it provides them with the protein and nutrients they need to maintain muscle mass and stay healthy. These meats are a good source of protein, which can help to keep your dog's muscles and bones strong.


  1. Beef

  2. Bison

  3. Chicken (without skin)

  4. Deer

  5. Duck (without skin)

  6. Elk

  7. Fish (some types, such as salmon and sardines)

  8. Lamb

  9. Pork (lean cuts only)

  10. Rabbit

  11. Turkey

  12. Venison


Should meats be served to your canine raw or cooked? While there are advocates for raw meat (also known as the BARF or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet) to be fed to dogs, others have felt that today’s factory farmed meat may not be entirely safe. Moreover, certain types of raw meat like chicken, pork and fish may become breeding grounds for bacteria and other forms of microorganisms.


Perhaps the safest way around this is to lightly cook the meats that you intend to serve your pet. This will minimise any chance of contamination while preserving the nutrients in the meats.


Oh yes, do be careful of fine bones from fish or chicken. These could be extremely dangerous to your dog as they’re unable to remove them from their food. Remove all bones prior to serving the meat item.


Others


Lastly, there are a few other foods that dogs can eat in moderation that can provide your dog with additional nutrients and can make a tasty and healthy addition to their diet.


  1. Cheese (in moderation)

  2. Eggs (cooked)

  3. Honey (in moderation)

  4. Popcorn (unsalted, unbuttered and remove unpopped kernels)

  5. Salmon Oil (as a supplement)

  6. Yogurt (plain and unsweetened)


There are many foods that dogs can eat, and incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and meats into your dog's diet can help to keep them healthy and happy. However, it's important to always check with your veterinarian before introducing new foods to your dog's diet, especially if they have any health conditions or dietary restrictions.



Toxic or Unsafe Foods That Dogs Cannot Eat



toxic food for dogs

Are there any foods that you should avoid feeding your dogs? Here are some of the toxic foods that you should not feed your furkid with.


1. Alcohol

Alcohol can have a deadlier effect on pets than humans. Alcohol poisoning in dogs has similar symptoms to humans such as vomiting, breathing problems, coma, and in severe cases, death. Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to heart arrhythmias, dangerously low blood pressure, or worse outcomes.


2. Apple, Apricot, Cherry, & Plum Seeds/Pits

Apple seeds contain cyanide, which can cause vomiting, irregular and fast heartbeat, seizures, coma, and death. Apricot, cherry, and plum seeds and pits should also be avoided as they contain cyanide and can cause similar symptoms.


3. Avocado

Avocados contain a substance called persin that can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. If eaten, avocados may also trigger fluid accumulation in the lungs and chest, leading to difficulty breathing and death from oxygen deprivation. You certainly don’t want that to happen to your beloved.


4. Broccoli

Broccoli contains isothiocyanates which can be harmful to pets in very large doses. Broccoli stalks can also get caught in a dog’s throat, causing an obstruction.


5. Caffeine, Coffee, Tea & Coffee Grounds

Caffeine can cause potentially fatal diarrhoea, vomiting, seizures, and irregular heartbeats. Coffee grounds or any drink that is high in caffeine can cause seizures, tremors, arrhythmias, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. This means that you should disallow your dog to drink soft drinks like Coke, Mountain Dew, Red Bull, and certainly not Monster!


6. Chicken & Turkey Skin, Ham, & Other Fatty Cuts of Meat

These food items contain a high-fat content, which can cause acute pancreatitis, a life-threatening illness with severe complications. Lean muscle meat lightly cooked is best for your pooch.


7. Cooked bones

Dogs can develop severe indigestion or vomiting after eating bones. If the bones splinter, they can obstruct the bowels or damage the stomach or intestines, leading to a fatal abdominal infection.


8. Chocolate

Chocolate toxicity is one of the most common causes of pet poisoning during the holidays. Chocolate contains a lethal component called theobromine—the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhoea, pancreatitis, abnormal heart rhythm, and seizures.


9. Grapes & Raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Symptoms of raisin or grape poisoning include vomiting and diarrhoea, loss of appetite, changes in the amount of urine passed, or not passing any urine.


10. Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, & Pistachios

Macadamia nuts can cause dogs to suffer numerous painful symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting. Pistachios and almonds are also problematic due to choking hazards or if they are flavoured or spiced.


11. Milk & Dairy Products

Milk and dairy products should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Some dogs are lactose intolerant or allergic and may experience diarrhoea and gas if they have cow’s milk. Ice cream is also bad for dogs because of the lactose, the high sugar, and high fat. Cheese is alright in small quantities, but stick to lower-fat cheese as a treat instead of high-fat.


12. Mushrooms

It’s best to be on the side of caution and avoid feeding your dog mushrooms. Mushrooms may contain a variety of toxins that may cause kidney and liver failure, vomiting, diarrhoea, hallucination, and damage to red blood cells. Washed, white mushrooms from the grocery store may be alright, but it’s probably safer to choose a different treat.


13. Nutmeg & Cinnamon

Dogs should not be fed any foods with nutmeg. Nutmeg may cause hallucinations and severe vomiting. Cinnamon should also be avoided because it can irritate your dog’s mouth and sometimes lead to low blood sugar.


14. Onions, Garlic, Chives, & Leeks

Onions and garlic contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia in dogs. Onion and garlic powders are found in many prepared foods, so make sure to read labels before serving store-bought food to your pet. All Allium plants can cause potentially fatal anaemia in dogs, including chives and leeks. Certain Japanese breeds of dogs, like Akitas and Shiba Inus, are extra sensitive to Allium plants, but these plants are dangerous to all dogs.


15. Salt

Excessive amounts of salt can change the fluid balance of cells in your dog and cause tremors, seizures, and even coma. Don’t let your dog have rock salt, homemade playdough, or potato chips.


16. Spicy Food

Keep your pup away from spicy food. Hot, spicy food can cause vomiting, stomach ulcers, or diarrhoea, which can be painful for both your dog and your wallet.


17. Sugar-Free Gum & Candy (Xylitol)

Xylitol is a sweetener found in many human foods, such as sugar-free gum and candy. In dogs, it can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar that leads to weakness and even seizures. Some dogs may also experience liver failure. The amount of Xylitol in just five pieces of gum has the potential to kill a 65-pound dog. Now you know!


18. Tomatoes & Raw Potatoes

A ripened red tomato is generally alright, but the green parts of the tomato plant have solanine, which is toxic to dogs. Green, unripe tomatoes also have solanine. If baked or boiled with no additives, potatoes are generally safe in small amounts, but raw potatoes contain solanine, which is toxic to dogs.


19. Yeast & Raw Dough

The raw dough can expand in your dog’s stomach, causing severe pain and even potentially life-threatening torsion or rupture of the stomach. Yeast and sugar in raw dough can also ferment, leading to alcohol toxicity, which can quickly become fatal and requires immediate medical intervention.



What To Do If Your Dog Eats a Toxic Food


what to do if your dog eats toxic food

It is crucial to take immediate action if your dog ingests a toxic substance. Look for signs such as lethargy, discomfort, pain, vomiting, or bloody stools. If your dog's abdomen is bloated and feels hard to the touch, seek emergency medical attention at your nearest animal hospital or veterinarian clinic.


The appropriate action to take depends on the type of toxin consumed, so it is essential not to self-diagnose or treat your dog. Contact your veterinarian or poison control centre as soon as possible. Inducing vomiting may not always be the correct course of action and could worsen the situation.


Early intervention is essential when treating toxicity in dogs, as it increases the chances of a successful outcome and reduces hospitalisation duration. If you have pet insurance, ensure your veterinarian provides all relevant treatment records.


Prevention is always better than cure, so keep potentially dangerous substances out of your furry friend's reach and monitor their food intake carefully.



Foods That Cats Can Eat


foods cats can eat


What is safe and healthy for your pet cat to eat? Cat owners—here’s your list of purr-ific and not so purr-ific eats


Cats are obligate carnivores, so they will generally prefer meat to veggies. However, in the wild they do hunt prey which are herbivores. Naturally, some fibre is indirectly included in their diet. So don’t be surprised that your feline companion will crave some greens!


Meat


For cats, meat is a crucial element of their diet as it furnishes them with the necessary protein and nutrients to preserve muscle mass and sustain their health. As obligate carnivores, cats depend on meat to survive.


  1. Chicken

  2. Turkey

  3. Beef

  4. Lamb

  5. Pork (lean cuts only)

  6. Fish (some types, such as salmon and sardines)


Do make sure that the meat served is fresh and of high quality. Avoid serving spoiled, contaminated, or low-quality meat, as this can lead to foodborne illnesses and digestive issues.


While some pet owners feed their cats a raw diet, it is generally safer to provide cooked meat. Cooking meat helps to kill off harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause serious illness in both cats and humans.


Cats can benefit from a variety of meat sources, including chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, and fish. However, avoid feeding your cat raw fish as it can contain an enzyme that destroys thiamine, an essential vitamin for cats.


Finally, always remove cooked bones from the meat before serving it to your cat. Bones can splinter and pose a choking hazard or cause internal injuries.


Fruits


Fruits are not a significant part of a cat's diet, but they can be a tasty and healthy treat. Make sure you remove any seeds, pits, or cores before giving them to your cat.


These fruits are generally safe for cats to consume:


  1. Apple (without core and seeds)

  2. Banana (without peel)

  3. Blueberries

  4. Cantaloupe

  5. Mango (without seed)

  6. Orange (without seeds)

  7. Pineapple

  8. Watermelon (without rind and seeds)


Note that certain fruits may be high in calories and lead to weight gain if consumed in excess. Thus, consider these as a treat and serve them sparingly to your kitty companion.


Vegetables


Vegetables are not a significant part of a cat's diet, but they can provide additional nutrients and fibre. These vegetables are generally safe for cats to consume:


  1. Asparagus

  2. Broccoli

  3. Brussels Sprouts

  4. Carrots

  5. Cauliflower

  6. Cucumber

  7. Green Beans

  8. Peas

  9. Pumpkin

  10. Spinach

  11. Sweet Potatoes

  12. Zucchini

It is probably safer for you to lightly cook your vegetables (without any seasoning) before you serve them to your cats. Do also ensure that you process them into smaller pieces to minimise potential choking incidents—your cat is a much smaller animal than you after all!


Dairy


Dairy products can be a tasty treat for cats, but not all cats can digest them properly. If your cat is lactose intolerant, they may experience diarrhoea or other digestive issues. These dairy products are generally safe for cats to consume:


  1. Cheese (in moderation)

  2. Yogurt (plain and unsweetened)


Others


Last but not least, there are some foods that cats can consume in limited quantities, which can offer them extra nutrients and serve as a delectable and nutritious supplement to their diet.


  1. Eggs (cooked)

  2. Oatmeal (cooked)

  3. Rice (cooked)

  4. Salmon Oil (as a supplement)

  5. Tuna (in moderation)

It's important to note that some human foods are toxic to cats, such as chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, grapes, and raisins. Always check with your veterinarian before introducing new foods to your cat's diet, especially if they have any health conditions or dietary restrictions. Providing your cat with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs is essential to keep them healthy and happy.



Toxic or Unsafe Foods That Cats Cannot Eat


toxic food for cats

Just like dogs, cats have specific dietary needs and can also be affected by toxic foods. Below are some of the toxic foods that cats cannot eat:


1. Alcohol

Even small doses of alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma, and in severe cases, death. Just a small amount of alcohol can be dangerous to cats.


2. Caffeine

Even small amounts of caffeine can cause restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and in severe cases, death. Caffeine is found in many products, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks.


3. Chocolate

Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, rapid breathing, tremors, seizures, and in severe cases, death. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats can be severe.


4. Grapes & Raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in cats. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and a lack of appetite.


5. Onions, Garlic, Chives, & Leeks

Allium plants like onions and garlic are toxic to cats, just like dogs. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, and a lack of appetite.


6. Raw Eggs, Meat, & Fish

Raw eggs, meat, and fish can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can make cats sick. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and even more serious health issues like salmonella poisoning.


7. Milk & Dairy Products

Most cats are lactose intolerant and cannot properly digest milk and dairy products. This can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, and other digestive issues.


8. Bones

Bones can splinter and cause serious damage to a cat’s digestive system. They can cause blockages, tears, and punctures in the digestive tract.


9. Fat Trimmings & Bones from Meat

Fat trimmings and bones from meat can cause pancreatitis in cats. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.


10. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sweetener commonly found in sugar-free gum and candy. In cats, it can cause insulin release, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).


11. Dog Food

Feeding your cat dog food can cause digestive issues, nutrient deficiencies, and other health problems. Cats have specific dietary needs that are different from dogs, and dog food does not provide the proper nutrients for cats.



What To Do If Your Cat Eats a Toxic Food


what to do if your cat eats toxic food

If you suspect that your cat has ingested something toxic, it is important to take prompt action. Watch out for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing, and if you notice any of these, contact your veterinarian or a poison control centre immediately.


Do not attempt to self-diagnose or self-treat your cat, as the appropriate course of action depends on the type of toxin ingested. Inducing vomiting may not always be necessary or safe.


Timeliness is critical in treating toxicity in cats. Early intervention can increase the likelihood of a positive outcome and reduce the length of hospitalisation. If you have pet insurance, ensure that your vet provides them with all relevant treatment records.


Remember, prevention is preferable to treatment. Keep potentially dangerous substances out of your cat's reach and be cautious about what they consume.



The Best Supplements For Your Cats and Dogs


best supplements for cats and dogs

Wish to boost the nutrients available for your pet pooch or feline friend through pet supplements? Consider choosing supplements that follow these best practices:


Quality and safety: Choose high-quality supplements from reputable manufacturers. Look for products with third-party testing, quality assurance, and clear labelling of ingredients. Avoid supplements with artificial additives, fillers, or undisclosed ingredients.


Specific needs: Choose supplements based on your pet's specific needs, such as age, breed, size, activity level, and any existing health conditions. For example, older pets may benefit from joint supplements, while pets with skin or coat issues may need omega-3 fatty acids.


Nutrient balance: Be mindful of your pet's overall nutrient intake to avoid overdosing on certain vitamins or minerals. Too much of a specific nutrient can be harmful to your pet's health. It's essential to follow your veterinarian's recommendations and the supplement's guidelines.


Form and palatability: Supplements come in various forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, and chews. Choose a form that is easy to administer and palatable for your pet. Some pets may prefer flavoured chews, while others may find it easier to take a capsule mixed into their food.


Storage and expiration: Make sure to store supplements properly, following the manufacturer's instructions, and be aware of expiration dates. Expired or improperly stored supplements may lose their potency or become unsafe for consumption.


Monitor your pet's response: Keep an eye on your pet's response to any new supplement. Look for signs of improvement in their health or any potential adverse reactions. If you notice any concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Keen to know more? Read our article: How to Choose the Best Supplements for Your Cats and Dogs



CAHO supplements

Specially formulated by experts with the latest research in veterinary science, CAHO’s Nucleotide, Immunoboost Colostrum Milk, and Agility+ are designed to strengthen various aspects of your pet’s health and vitality. Find them at your nearest distributor in Singapore or Malaysia here.

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