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Myths and facts about pet snacks

Daniel Bouwmeester    December 4, 2023    3 min read   

In the lead up to Christmas holidays, where food is a big part of the celebrations, it is important to be aware of which foods are safe and unsafe for pets.

The latest research from pet insurance comparison site Compare the Market revealed that many people were not aware of foods that can be a nightmare for their pets. 

The survey, which had respondents choose from 16 foods varying from toxic to safe pet treats, found that 29.2% of people thought all items listed were toxic to pets (Compare the Market survey of 1,005 Australians aged 18 and over in October 2023).

While dairy is an okay once-in-a-blue-moon treat, as many animals can be lactose intolerant, it’s usually the sweeteners used in these products that cause the worst trouble.

Nuts can also be nuanced as peanuts or cashews, completely unseasoned, are okay as rare treats, while macadamia nuts are an absolute no-go for any pet.

Toxic foods for pets
Grapes, sultanas and raisins
Alliums (onions, chives, garlic etc)
Semi-toxic foods for pets
Dairy (ice cream, yoghurt, cheese, milk, etc)
Yeasted goods (i.e. bread, doughnuts, cakes, etc.)
Any sort of nut
Citrus fruits
Image: Jakob Owens / Unsplash.

Safe foods

There are also some misconceptions about the foods that are safe to give to pets as a treat.

Almost nine in 10 people said that berries were a toxic feed, whereas both cats and dogs are able to consume berries safely.

Eight in 10 people also said feeding pets porridge is a no-go, yet it is completely fine for pets to consume – if it’s cooked with water.

Compare the Market general manager for general insurance Adrian Taylor said it was quite alarming to see how many people don’t know what is safe for pets to eat.

“Clearly, there’s a lack of general knowledge of what everyday foods are and aren’t okay to feed to pets,” Mr Taylor said.

“Because people have such a lack of understanding, they may be feeding their pets, or their friend’s pets something that could cause serious problems.

“There may be many treats that begin to lie around, from chocolate and lollies to fruit bowls, all of which pose a silent threat to our furry friends.”

Mr Taylor added that, while there are obvious no-go foods, pet owners should keep an eye on what their pets like – as, just like humans, they could have allergies to common foods that otherwise may pose no harm. 

“We’ve heard of cases where pets show symptoms of coeliac disease and can’t stomach even normal treats without some gastro problems.”

Safe foods for pets
Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
Peanut butter
Sweet potato
Cooked chicken

Vets and insurance

This holiday season, Mr Taylor reminded readers that vets may not be open, so knowing which 24/7 emergency clinics are located nearby, in case the worst happens, is a good idea.

He also said it was important to understand the limits and excesses that apply to pet insurance.

“If you need to claim on your pet insurance, do you know how much money will be reimbursed and how much you may need to pay? Be sure to read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully, as you could still be left out-of-pocket – even with cover.”

See also: Pet adoption wins hearts at first-ever Valentine’s sale

Pet adoption wins hearts at first-ever Valentine’s sale

Top image: Flouffy / Unsplash.

Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.