Impact of Human Food on Pets

Posted on 22 February 2021 by WCF Select

The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association recommends not to give your pet human food snacks or treats because they are often high in fat and salt that can be bad for them. However, fruits and vegetables can be safely given to your cat or dog - if they want to eat them. The impact of human food on pets has some nutritional advantages but can also be dangerous if they ate the wrong type. Adding a bit of variety to your pet’s diet will be a welcome treat, as long as it is in moderation. We recommend feeding pets commercial, premium pet food suited to their requirements as they will contain all the nutrients they need to stay fit and healthy.


It is possible to feed your cat or dog a raw meat diet. However, this is controversial and could prove dangerous for you and your pet. If you want to give your pet raw meat or if you are unsure what type of food to feed your pet, consult with your vet first. 

Cats and Human Food

As cats are carnivores, they will naturally prefer to eat meat rather than fruits and vegetables. However, if you find your cat wants to eat these foods, there is no harm in feeding the occasional bit of cooked broccoli, carrots, or peas. Bananas, blueberries, watermelon, and apples are also safe to feed to your cat if they are willing to try them. Remember to remove the seeds and rind as they are choking hazards.


Cooked lean meat such as chicken, turkey, and beef can be given safely to your cat, in moderation. Choosing a slice of leaner meat (lamb can be high in fat) will be a better choice because it will help keep their weight in check. Always make sure the bones and skin are removed before serving.


Most fish is ok to give to your cat but make sure it is well-cooked to prevent salmonella poisoning.   


Milk should never be given to your cat as they are lactose intolerant and consuming dairy products can upset their digestive system. If your cat does suffer from digestive issues a hypoallergenic cat food may be better for them. 


For more information on a healthy diet for your cat visit the Pet Food Manufactures’ Association website

Impact of Human Food on pets - fruit and vegetables

Dogs and Human Food

Dogs will likely enjoy a small amount of fruit and vegetables. Feeding your dog a mixture of commercial and human foods, in moderation, is perfectly ok and will add variety to their diet.


Fruits are also safe for your dog. However, like some vegetables, they are naturally high in sugar. Apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries and pears (remove the seeds) are all safe to give to your dog in small amounts.


Cucumbers are a great, low-calorie snack with high water content, perfect for dogs that are overweight. Watermelon is another fruit naturally high in water and will help keep your dog hydrated. Remember to remove the pips and the rind.


Dairy products such as milk, cheese, or plain yoghurt, can be fed to your dog as long as they are limited because dogs lack the enzyme responsible for breaking down the sugars in milk. Consuming too much dairy can lead to dogs suffering from digestive issues. Plain, cooked rice with lean meat such as chicken is a good meal for a dog with a digestive stomach.


Most dogs can eat other well-cooked, lean cuts of meats, including turkey and ground beef. Make sure pork is unseasoned and given in moderation as the fat content tends to be high. It is also hard for dogs to digest. Remember, all visible-fat should be cut off meats before giving them to your dog to eat - this will help reduce their risk of becoming overweight.


Fish, including salmon and tuna, are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids that can help maintain your dog’s shiny coat and help keep their immune system healthy. Remember not to feed your dog raw fish as it can contain harmful parasites.


The PDSA website has a good article on safe fruits and vegetables for dogs.


Some human foods that should never be fed to your cat or dog, as they could cause serious illnesses or even death, are as follows: Onions, garlic, chocolate, nuts (especially macadamia), alcohol, uncooked bread dough, Xylitol sweetener, grapes, raisins, and high salt foods. The above list is intended as a guide and is not a complete list of poisonous human foods for pets. Contact your vet if immediately if your cat or dog has eaten any food highlighted above in bold or something else you are unsure of. 


If you prefer to feed your pet a veterinary-approved diet, see the WCF Select website for a range of grain-free, super premium pet foods, available to buy online today.