What’s For Din?


          While caring for two dogs with health problems this past winter, I started to experiment with making their food to supplement the prescription dog food they were on. After talking with their veterinarian about it, I was able to find a few combinations that were okay and that they would eat, but in doing some research, I found it to be a very controversial issue. Some people believe that pets should eat only a diet of raw foods; others say to cook everything thoroughly. The idea of feeding raw fruits and vegetables doesn’t really bother me, but somehow I just can’t go along with the raw meat diet, so everything I made for my dogs was cooked first. If you look online, you can find some easy recipes and that is where I started. In my research, I also found out which foods to avoid at all costs, because they are very toxic or at the least are apt to cause stomach upsets. While they aren’t foods you would normally give to a pet, it’s still good to know that they should be avoided, even as snacks. These are the ones mentioned most often:

Chocolate—most of us know that chocolate (especially dark chocolate) is highly toxic to pets.

Alcohol and beer


Bread dough—the yeast will expand in a pet’s stomach, just as it does in the bowl

Candy and gum—which have no nutritional value and may also contain the sweetener xylitol that is toxic.

Grapes and raisins

Macadamia nuts—only a small amount is needed to make a pet very sick.


Salt and nutmeg

Onions, chives, and garlic

Seeds of most fruits—the pits of peaches, etc. contain toxic cyanide and also if ingested whole can cause intestinal blockages.

Raw eggs

          This list of foods to avoid also applies to cats, but I discovered that too much tuna is not good for cats either because of the mercury. A steady diet of tuna packed for humans does not provide the necessary nutrition for a cat. Most cats are lactose intolerant, so milk and dairy products may be hard for them to digest. Too much liver is not good because of the excess of Vitamin A. Cat food is higher in protein and shouldn’t be fed to dogs. Conversely, too much dog food is bad for cats and can cause them to become malnourished, if it is all they eat.

          The good news is if you want to cook for your pets, there are plenty of “people foods” they can eat. Lean, cooked meats (fat and bones removed) are fine. I’m sticking with chicken and turkey, since my dog needs to stay on a low-fat diet. Rice and oatmeal (plain) and I’ve also cooked barley to mix in with the meat. Slices of apples and oranges (no seeds), blueberries, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, and plain potatoes are okay. If you want to share a people treat, plain popcorn, natural peanut butter (in small amounts) and low or no salt pretzels are fine. Foo Foo also enjoys an occasional small wedge or leaf of crunchy lettuce. I guess she likes her salad! I’ve found she can tolerate small amounts of yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese. Some dogs may be lactose intolerant, though, so it’s best to see how any dairy food affects them when feeding it.

          Though making pet food has become part of the routine lately, I still find it more convenient to just reach for the commercially prepared kind, which seems perfectly acceptable, too. But each cat or dog is different. For more information on what to feed your pet, it’s best to consult your veterinarian for your pet’s particular needs.   


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11 Comments on “What’s For Din?”

  1. Funny, Mr. Alexander and I were just talking this morning about how onions weren’t good for cats. We discovered our new kitten batting around a shallot! Silly kitty…Thanks for all the tips!

    • Kitties do find the silliest things to play with, don’t they? Mine like to chase crumpled up pieces of paper, which is at least safe. I’ll bet Scatter wouldn’t have liked the taste of the shallot.

  2. Interesting article Lucy. Thanks for the information. I don’t have a dog, but I do have 8 indoor cats that I have to watch out for. Especially the ones that we brought in from outdoors!

    • My old cat (about 14 now) had what I called kitty IBS for a while. I finally found a food he can eat okay. It’s been more trouble to feed the pets than it was my kids!

  3. melissakeir Says:

    My one dog is an alcoholic. She will go for any alcoholic drink. I know it’s not good for her so I have to yell at the adults who leave it in reach. 🙂 Good luck with the new diet!

    • I’m ashamed to say that when I was a kid, we had a dog that liked to drink beer. Then she would howl while my mom played the harmonica. I’m not making that up. Not something I would do now.

  4. Kristen Says:

    I’ve wanted to switch my geriatric Tyler J. Dog and Polly the Border Collie to real food for a while now, so this is a really helpful article. I also now know that I have to start watching my eggs better when I bring them in from the chicken coop. Both of those sneaky punks will often snag them right off the counter!

  5. Diane Burton Says:

    Really good advice, Lucy.

  6. Great advice, Lucy. Heidi, our rescue, loves green beans. Now I know why. The vet said if she was human she’d be in assisted living, so your post really helped me in helping her.

    • Glad to hear that. I had another dog once who would eat carrots but not beans. She hated beans. Now I put everything through the food processor and that seems to hide whatever Foofoo might not like. Good luck with Heidi.

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