Feeding Table Scraps to Animals: Some Dos and Don'ts

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If you're an animal lover, you've no doubt shared morsels of "people" food with your furry and feathered friends. Feeding table scraps to animals can even be a good way to prevent food waste. But before you give in to those imploring eyes, it's important to consider safety. 

Over at the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership blog, Vera Zakharov has shared a great roundup of dos and don'ts for feeding leftovers to animals like dogs, cats, chickens, and wild birds. "People often feed scraps to animals to avoid creating waste, which is indeed a noble effort," she writes. "But while some scraps are fine as treats and even contribute to your pet's nutrition, other leftovers can be unhealthy, or even deadly." 

Here are a few tips: 
  • Dogs: Lean meats, rice, and pasta are safe, but things they may have been cooked in, such as oils, onions, or wine, are poisonous. 

  • Cats: Adult cats are lactose intolerant, so avoid feeding them milk. Cheese is safe as an occasional treat. 

  • Birds: Many people enjoy feeding birds their stale bread, but white bread can seriously hurt swans and cause vitamin deficiency. 
 Check out the blog for more do's and don'ts.

→ Read more: An animal's guide to leftovers at Brighton & Hove Food Partnership

(Image: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock)

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Emily Han (formerly Emily Ho) is a writer, recipe developer and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food and herbalism. She is author of Wild Drinks and Cocktails (Fall 2015), co-founder of Food Swap Network and creator of Miss Chiffonade