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As winter break comes to a close, numerous students find
themselves back at home with a fridge full of leftovers. For many
pet owners, this means a few less trips to the store for pet food.
While sharing lunch with your four-legged friend is possible,
owners should realize that your pet has particular dietary
restrictions it must follow to guarantee that it stays happy and
"People enjoy sharing food with their pets, it is part of the
bonding process," said Deb Zoran, doctor of veterinary medicine,
and associate professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). "But proper control of
the types and amounts of food pets are served is crucial for its
"For example, a diet consisting too high of fats can very
dangerous for dogs, even causing such problems as diarrhea or in
severe cases pancreatitis," Zoran said. "The additional calories
found in average table foods can also lead to obesity problems in
your pet if not controlled."
These problems arise not from the food itself, as whole foods
such as meat and potatoes are very nutritious and well digested,
but from the many spices added and the food not being in the proper
balance for the pet.
"The food itself is perfectly good for our pets," Zoran said.
"If owners want to feed 'human food', and are willing to follow
prescribed recipes set up by a nutritionist, then it is an
excellent way to meet their nutritional needs."
Choosing to feed your pet in this fashion also leaves the owner
with the responsibility for meeting their pet's proper nutritional
needs, which are different for dogs and cats. Chicken is an
excellent and frequently used meat source to feed pets, with the
fat removed for dogs and left in place for cats.
"Generally high fat things are potentially very problematic for
dogs, while cats don't need carbs in their diets at all," Zoran
said. "Spices and seasonings, especially onions, capsaicin, and
other additives are all potentially problematic in your pet food as
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