What are some foods safe to feed pets?

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With all the potentially toxic people foods out there, it’s helpful to know which foods are safe for cats and dogs. Pet Poison Helpline recommends feeding the following foods which are both safe for pets and are low-calorie options.

  • Apples
  • Peas
  • Green beans
  • Popcorn (Hold the butter and salt!)
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Zucchini and summer squash
  • Winter squash
  • Ice chips (Freeze cubes of diluted beef or chicken broth for a real frozen treat!)
  • Lettuces
  • Blueberries

Published on September 23, 2011
Categorized under: Pet Safety Tips

30 Responses to “What are some foods safe to feed pets?”

  1. S says:

    How can popcorn be good when corn itself can cause stomach problems in cats?

    • J.Lee says:

      Well, S, you’re right in that some cats can’t handle vegetable proteins at all. As cats are carnivorous, they typically should get their diet from animal-based protein (e.g., meat). While I won’t get into the pet food industries using a lot of veggie proteins for cats, a majority of cats do handle (“tolerate”) them well. That said, our cats have likely evolved to tolerate certain snacks like popcorn. I use this more for dogs as a low-fat, light snack to make them feel full. My cat personally has discriminating taste and won’t eat popcorn to save his life!

      • JJ says:

        I have read studies and heard from many veterinarians who research dietary needs of popular pets, that cats have no dietary need for carbohydrates, and significant amounts (which are already found in processed foods particularly dry) can be detrimental to their health.

        Cats, being obligate carnivores, lack specific metabolic (enzymatic) pathways and cannot utilize plant and grain proteins efficiently, which not only causes digestive issues, but also puts stress on the renal system often creating long-term health problems.

  2. Our local doggy day care trainer says our puppy can have peanut butter but I don’t see it on any list of “ok” foods for dogs. Is it in fact alright for them to have?

    • J.Lee says:

      It’s not on our ideal recommended list – while it’s safe to stuff into Kongs for hours of dog entertainment, it’s loaded with calories for dogs. Being that 40-60% of pets in America are obese, we don’t want to contribute to the cause! Also, some dogs predisposed to pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas – can be triggered by fatty foods such as meat scraps and peanut butter. Breeds include Shelties, miniature schnauzers, Yorkies, etc. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian. But fear not, it’s not “poisonous” per se!

  3. Gary says:

    My dog loves tomatoes

  4. What about bananas, our Shih Tzu loves them.(I guess I should have inquired be-4 giving her some.)

  5. Lisa says:

    My parents had a dog that loved chocolate and beer. They would give her the last drops of beer out of their bottles. She was never given chocolate, but she often managed to get into it. She died of old age.

  6. [...] wants to try the humans’ food, and some of the foods are even good for us! Some foods that are not poisonous are ok to feed both dogs and [...]

  7. Donna says:

    That was so good to know….I do give my dog slices of pear, and he loves it…green beans too and cooked potatoe, but just a little…cause he is little…a little sniglet if I let him…
    Great information….thanks

  8. Donna says:

    That was so good to know….I do give my dog slices of pear, and he loves it…green beans too and cooked potatoe, but just a little…cause he is little…a little sniglet if I let him…
    Great information….thanks I did not say this before…this is my only comment.

  9. Becky Allbee says:

    Can you tell me if Broccoli is okay to feed to your dog? Sometimes I have given my dog Broccoli as she seems to love it, but I couldn’t find anything saying one way or another as to if it’s okay to give it to her.

  10. dominic palazzo says:

    my pug ate 4 blue berries what should i do

    • Hi Dominic,
      As our website isn’t checked for comments daily, it’s imperative to call our 800# (800-213-6680) as Pet Poison Helplnie is available 24/7. The sooner you call, the sooner we can treat. It’s also safer for your pet and less expensive to treat when diagnosed immediately.

  11. K. Burghart says:

    Is it ok to give dogs cranberries? Our Golden Retriever and Standard Poodle love dried cranberries.

  12. Bob says:

    Hi Folks,
    I’ve been making dehydrated sweet potato treats for my dogs, and dogs of my co-workers. These are organic sweet potatoes from Costco. I cook the potatoes well before hand in a slow cooker for 5 hours, slice them and dehydrate them for about 4 days until very crisp and chewy. Someone just told me that the skin on sweet potatoes (or where the bud eyes are) can be poisonous. However, I cannot find any reliable information on this. I have seen they can contain oxalates (via wikipedia) but nothing about the skins being poisonous. Can you let me know if the skins are at all dangerous?

    • Bob says:

      (or if there is anything dangerous about the sweet potatoes themselves?)

    • J.Lee says:

      Hi Bob,

      FIrst, thanks for making a healthy, low-fat snack for your dogs! Remember with poisoning, it’s the dose that makes the poison. While sweet potato vine is poisonous in large amounts, the likelihood its an issue as a dehydrated snack is unlikely to be an issue… especially if this doesn’t make up a significant amount of your dogs’ diet. This is really more of a LARGE ANIMAL (e.g., horses, cows) problem that are chronically grazing on this. Hope that helps!

  13. Bob says:

    Thank you very much! I noticed last night their dried kibble (a new brand from Costco) is also partially sweet potato based, so I’ll augment their diet with a little less sweet potato and more pumpkin doggie biscuits. But especially since I have been giving my co-workers dried sweet potato chips for their dogs, I’m glad this is not a concern. Thank you again for your time.

  14. E M Morris says:

    My dog loves sweet potato! I feed food I make. Chicken, rice, sweet potato, carrots, green beans, apples, peanut butter as a snack, pumpkin, blueberries. She is a terrier mix, 7 yrs old, perfect weight, and very healthy. :)

  15. PetPlus says:

    Thanks for the post and information on low-calorie food.

  16. Frosty says:

    also carrots, and some other garden picked veggies are good for dogs actually. Just read about barfing.

  17. grace says:

    I may have fed my dog too much broccoli stalks. She is a small – mid size poodle, and i fed her the entire stalk (steamed) of broccoli. I am very nervous over what i read about the toxic substance in broccoli – isothiocyanate and can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
    I fed her a chicken breast straight after and 2 slices of apple and pears and went for a long run. It’s been 3 hours, Either she is not reacting much to the broccoli (potential poison) or she is just tired and sleepy.

    • DrThen says:

      The rule with broccoli is that it can’t exceed 10% of the normal food intake for dogs. If it wasn’t more than that, it should be fine. I don’t know much about the signs of broccoli poisoning, but my assumption would be that it would present in vomiting or diarrhea, as the toxin only affects the intestinal tract.

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