By Bexx Merck and Rachel Waldron
FoodCorps Athens Service Members Bexx and Rachel like to share the vegetable love with their pets and think you should, too.
Everyone loves pizza. And this probably includes your pets.
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In fact, we always hear that we shouldn’t feed our pets human foods, but who hasn’t thrown that rule out the window before? Maybe you’ve stealthily slipped your pet a veggie scrap under the table. Maybe you’ve not so accidentally dropped that bit of fruit on the floor. Maybe you allow your pet to assist with cleaning the dishes before they go into the dishwasher.
Good news, it doesn’t have to be your dirty secret anymore.
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Sure, you should probably start eating all your veggies like a big kid and stop feeding Fido under the table, but that doesn’t have to end your pet’s veggie affair altogether. Dogs and cats (and birds!) can really benefit from a variety of fruits and veggies that people normally eat. Do they need vegetables in their diet? Not like humans require them, but certain fruits and veggies can’t hurt.
Here’s a list of safe and beneficial foods that can go into your pet diet.
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WHOA…no, no, no… your pet’s diet. Apostrophes save lives, y’all.
To make it easy on you, we’ve curated an elegant list of the finest pets around noshing on their choice treats.
Our canine friends have so many options.
Clearly this guy has no reservations about getting his carrot fix.
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And have you seen animals eating watermelon? Maybe the most photogenic (and tasty!) fruit ever.
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Albeit awkward to eat, broccoli is a special treat.
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Green beans, and snap peas, are juicy, refreshing, and have few calories, so they don’t interfere much with a dog’s regular kibble diet. And apparently they make dogs feel really cool.
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Just like for humans, apples can be the perfect dog snack. Make sure to avoid the core, though!
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Other delicious and safe foods for your pup include green beans, spinach, lettuce, cooked sweet potatoes and cooked pumpkin. Avoid cherries, garlic, onions, grapes, mushrooms, and raisins.
For your feline friends, try some of these.
Cantaloupe can be a source of hydration and small cats!
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Cats will love the taste of banana, but its best in small quantities as it is high in sugar.
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To avoid terrifying cat expressions, chop carrot into small chunks.
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Spinach is said to be a great way to alleviate cats’ cravings for your beloved houseplants.
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Other good choices for your kitty include broccoli, peas, zucchini and watermelon. Avoid cherries, garlic, onions, mushrooms, green potatoes, unripe tomatoes, and peaches.
Plenty of other pets will also enjoy chowing down on some fresh fruits and veggies.
This little guy has a lot of work ahead of him.
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Most small mammals love grapes, but make sure to keep both away from your dogs and cats. This hamster is clearly getting the royal treatment with its peeled grape.
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Our feathered friends enjoy a large variety of fruits, in particular, but be sure to avoid avocado.
It’s important to note that different pets have different sensitivities to fruits and vegetables. For example, Bexx’s sort-of-pet golden retriever, Mojo, loves avocado and cherries and has no issues or sensitivities with them, likely because he’s over 80lbs. Some foods that are considered safe for him, however, don’t exactly always go down quite right, so those are foods Mojo should avoid.
If you’re worried about a pet’s reaction to a new food, start small. Only introduce one food at a time, and if your pet has any adverse reaction, stop immediately. Another way to ease the transition to fresh vegetable treats is to lightly steam them, which takes the edge off that fibrous, aggressive roughage.
Remember that these are treats and additions to your pet’s regular diet. By no means are they a replacement to pet food or what your vet recommends. Most sources recommend that additions like these take up no more than 10% of what your pet consumes. This especially makes sense for cats and dogs because they both come from a long line of carnivores.
Most importantly, if you ever find yourself in an urgent situation with a pet that consumed something harmful, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661, immediately. The smaller the animal, the more quickly you should act. For more information on common pet poisons, check out this list from the Pet Poison Helpline: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons/.
“But Rachel! Bexx! What do I do now?” Well, our pet-loving friend, it’s time to get off the internet and get into action. We recommend you do some of your own research or give your veterinarian a call. There is a lot of information out there about what animals can and can’t eat, so be wary of your sources. Now go forth and snack together.
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