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Top Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe and Satisfied at Dining Table

Tim Boyer's picture
Pet Food

To help pet owners make safe choices in what scraps to feed to their pets and which ones not to, Lucy Postins, founder of The Honest Kitchen - a private, family owned pet food company that specializes in fresh, uncooked, home-made pet-food consisting of “people-food” ingredients - provides the following top tips to keep your pets safe and satisfied at the dining table.

The holiday season is particularly trying on the cook in the kitchen as friends, relatives and family members beg for your attention and snacks while you are preparing a holiday meal that everyone will enjoy. However, another individual in the kitchen begging not just for your attention, but for scraps too, is your beloved pet. While the temptation to toss a scrap from your overly-filled, busy counter top or dining table is great, the risk to your pet’s health is even greater. Toss the wrong scraps and you may be tossing your pet’s life away.

Listed below are Lucy Postins' top tips to keep your pets safe, and a recipe for a tasty pet treat.

Food Scraps Safe for Your Pet

• Turkey, Ham, Prime Rib and other meats. These can all be added in moderation; the key thing to remember is to never feed pets any type of cooked bones because they can splinter and damage the GI tract. Also avoid too much fat and gristle, which can potentially be dangerous. Whenever possible, choose free-range, natural and grass-fed meats, which are healthier for you and your pets.

• Green Bean Casserole. Most pets love the sweet taste of green bean casserole, just do not include the onion topping and serve to pets in small amounts. As an alternative, you can share fresh, raw or cooked green beans to your pets as well.

• Sweet Potatoes. These are an excellent source of beta carotene and make a highly nutritious meal addition for dogs. Steamed or baked sweet potatoes are ideal, especially since raw root vegetables can be difficult to digest. Avoid giving your pet the holiday-themed sweet potato side dishes that contain marshmallows, syrup or nuts.

• Cranberries. These are a great addition to your pets’ meals any time of the year, but be wary of the sauce and jelly side dishes. Cranberries contain natural compounds that can help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, so they are an excellent choice for cats and dogs that are prone to urinary tract infections.

• Winter Vegetables. Winter vegetables like pumpkin, squash, chard and kale are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, and are great gently cooked for pets. Avoid serving your pets large amounts of vegetables, however, that contain added salt, wine, soy sauce or butter.

Food Scraps NOT Safe for Your Pet

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• Stuffing and Corn Pudding. These products tend to contain onions and raisins, as well as bread and cornmeal, which can lead to ear infections and skin problems.

• Desserts and Cheeses. When eaten in excess, these can cause stomach problems for pets.

• Relishes, Pickles and Sauces. These condiments tend to contain heavy spices, sugar, onion and other ingredients that can cause disruption in their GI tract.

Food Ingredients TOXIC to Your Pet (and should not be fed to pets in any form):

• Onions
• Chocolate
• Macadamia nuts
• Grapes
• Raisins
• Artificial candies containing xylitol


Butternut bites are easy to make and taste delicious! The cranberries also are well suited for pets that are prone to urinary tract infections.


• 1 cup boiled and mashed butternut squash (You can substitute mashed pumpkin or sweet potatoes if you don’t have butternut squash available.)
• 1½ cups uncooked oatmeal
• ¼ cup dried cranberries
• 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
• 1 tbsp. honey

Cooking Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 370°F and butter a large cookie sheet.
2. Combine the cooked, mashed butternut squash with the oatmeal, cranberries, yeast and honey.
3. Mix well so that all the ingredients are very thoroughly combined.
4. Using a teaspoon, scoop small balls onto the buttered cookie sheet.
5. Make sure they are evenly spaced out about 1 inch apart and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes.
6. Allow the bites to cool, and then add these nutritious goodies to your dog’s usual meal or serve them as individual treats!