By Shelby Davidson

It is dinner time and everyone has been drawn to the table by the delicious scents wafting through the house — including your beloved pet. With the hunger in their eyes and that soul-piercing gaze, it can be hard to say no. But not all foods we eat are healthy, or even safe, for our canine and feline pals to consume.

We understand that sometimes it can be hard to resist those puppy dog eyes, or those twitching whiskers and wagging tails, so here are some guidelines to help treat your furry friends while keeping them safe and healthy. Keep in mind, everything in moderation!

Can-Do Treats

Veggies

Just as vegetables are healthy for humans, they can be beneficial for dogs and cats. Although as carnivores, fruits and veggies are not a necessary part of their diets, according to the American Kennel Club, they can serve as healthful substitutions for treats.

Green beans,  pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, peas, cucumber, celery and zucchini are all good options for both cats and dogs, according to Trupanion, a pet insurance company. On the other hand, you should avoid garlic and onions as they contain chemical properties that can be toxic, and even life threatening to dogs and cats. Be sure to avoid mushrooms as well.

Fruits

You will find that most fruits are great for your pet’s health, dogs and cats alike, but there is one key element you cannot forget: never leave the seeds intact. Apples for instance are great, but only when the core and seeds are removed as the seeds contain harmful chemicals that are poisonous to animals. Some other alternatives include blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe and bananas. However, you will want to avoid anything with a pit (like peaches and avocado) and citrus fruits. Grapes and raisins also contain chemical compounds toxic to dogs, making them a definite no-no.

Lean meat and grains

Dogs and cats alike need and enjoy protein-centric diets, so giving your furry friends cooked turkey or chicken without skin is acceptable in moderation, according to Banfield Pet Hospital. Cooked rice and barley is also a great treat when it is not salted or buttered.

Off Limits Treats

Alcohol

You would think this would be common sense, but too often there are YouTube videos and Snapchats of people feeding their dogs or cats Bud Light when they are mostly likely intoxicated and have no idea what they are doing. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, giving your pet any product containing alcohol can cause issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

Raw/Undercooked protein

Growing up, my mother used to feed our black lab raw eggs so I always assumed it was safe, but according to the ASPCA, raw meat and eggs can contain bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Eggs also contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can cause skin/coat issues.

Chocolate, coffee and nuts

In general, all three of these treats should be off limits to dogs and cats as they contain methylxanthines, which cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death.

Next time you choose to slide your scraps into your pet’s bowl, think twice about what you are putting into their body. Your pet’s body is a temple as well, folks. Make sure you treat them with the same caution and respect as you would yourself.