It seems as if we just can’t eat in peace without our pets looking at us so forlornly as though we never feed them. Most pet owners end up feeling guilty and obligingly hand over the leftovers to our four-legged companions but this may not be such a good idea. Some foods can actually be harmful to pets. Certain people foods can cause pain, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort and other illness in pets. For example, onions are toxic to cats and dogs and can cause anemia.
I once had a cat that loved chocolate fudge bars. I didn’t know it then but I now know that chocolate can cause hyperactivity, dehydration and tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) in cats and dogs. Coffee, tea and tomatoes can also be harmful to pets. You’re probably wondering why anyone would give a cat or dog coffee or tea. Most people wouldn’t but there are some pets that will help themselves when you’re not looking. My friend has a dog that loves coffee. I found that out while visiting one day. I got up from the table to make a phone call and when I returned a moment later the dog was happily devouring my coffee.
Many people mistakenly believe that because cats love milk, cheese and other dairy products that these items are good for them. Cats are actually lactose intolerant, meaning that they lack the enzyme necessary for proper digestion of dairy products. Although some cats can digest dairy products better than others, many will suffer from vomiting and diarrhea after ingesting dairy products.
Dietary requirements can vary in each pet depending on age, health condition and other factors. You should always consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet. People that have both a cat and dog in their household may find it interesting that the pets will eat each other’s food. While it is true that dogs will eat cat food and cats will eat dog food you should not let your pets do this. If they won’t stay out of each other’s food separate them by putting them in separate rooms at feeding time. You should not allow cats to eat dog food or dogs to eat cat food. Cats require more protein in their diets than dogs. Cat food contains a higher amount of protein that can be harmful to dogs and dog food won’t provide proper nutrition for cats.
Adding leftovers to your pet’s regular commercial pet food diet can alter the balance of your pet’s diet causing allergic reactions such as skin allergies. Keep their diet and feeding as routine as possible. Cats are carnivorous and need animal fat in their diets. Most of the time a good commercial pet food will provide the necessary nutrients they need but many brands of pet food contain a bunch of unnecessary fillers. Organic pet foods are more expensive but much healthier for your pet since they don’t contain preservatives or chemicals.
Cats that have access to the outdoors will probably supplement their own diets with an occasional bird or rodent. Those that are kept indoors can be given liver, chicken or hamburger periodically. Improper nutrition can lead to physical ailments and even personality disorders or behavior problems. Unless your pet has health problems or dietary restrictions a good commercial pet food fed twice daily along with a fresh supply of water should be sufficient. Consult with your veterinarian if you feel your pet is not getting adequate nutrition from his diet. Your veterinarian may suggest a change in diet or the addition of a dietary supplement.
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