What 'Human' Foods Are Safe for Pets? TikTok's Viral Vet Dr. Hunter Finn Shares Some Tips

If you're a pet-lover who spends any amount of time on either TikTok or Instagram, chances are you've stumbled upon viral vet Dr. Hunter Finn of Pet Method and his hilarious, as well as informative, videos.

His great posts give insight into everything from pet behavior to signs of health issues and how to give your pets their best possible lives, and recently, he's been covering the topics of which "human" foods are good for cats and dogs. We just had to learn more, and we got the chance to interview him to get some top tips on the best human treats for pets—as well as the ones you should never feed your animals.

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Sweety High: What are the healthiest "human foods" for pets? What nutrients do these foods have that make them great for animals?

Dr. Hunter Finn: I get this question a lot, and it is a great question! We all want what is best for our pets, but while we look for the most nutrient-dense foods and supplements at the supermarket for ourselves, this isn't necessarily the case with dogs.

My biggest piece of advice is to pick human foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients. The list is long, but some of my absolute favorites for dogs and cats include blueberries, carrots, celery, watermelon, apples and plain Greek yogurt. All of these have certain levels of antioxidants, are nutrient-dense and are delicious,
 low-calorie snacks for dogs and cats.

Everything in moderation, and just remember, before giving your pet any new treats, call your vet just to make sure it isn't a concern with any of their conditions or medications they may be on. One instance for me is grapes. Grapes seem like they are harmless, but are extremely toxic to dogs, so it's always better to check with your vet first.

funny golden retriever puppy eating watermelon: Shutterstock

(via Shutterstock)


SH: SH: Are there any foods that are great for dogs but not for cats? How about vice versa?

HF: For the most part, dogs and cats can eat the same foods. Dogs seem to tolerate carbohydrates better than cats, but some cats absolutely love potatoes, rice, etc. One fun fact about cats is that they cannot taste anything sweet. They literally don't have sweet receptors, so think twice before giving your cat licks of your ice cream, because you might think they love the sweetness, but they can't even taste it!

Couple sitting on the square in the summer and feeding the alaskan malamute dog ice cream. Family, pet, animal and people concept.: Shutterstock

(via Shutterstock)


Also read about: Can Petting Cats and Dogs Relieve Stress? We Asked Expert Patricia Pendry


SH: What types of human foods that are totally safe for us should never be fed to cats or dogs? Why?

HF: This is the most important list you will hear today. Dogs and cats should never eat:

  • Grapes: toxic to their kidneys
Chocolate: toxic to their liver, heart and nervous system
  • Sugar-free products (think peanut butter, gum, etc): Xylitol is extremely toxic to pets.
Caffeine: Caffeine is very bad for your pets and can be serious if they ingest enough, so no more coffee or green tea for your pets
  • Onions/garlic: If they eat enough of these, it basically causes their red blood cells to explode. That means any recipe that has onions or garlic as seasoning, as well such as in your pastas and burgers.
  • Alcohol: I've seen lots of videos of people giving their pets beer, and this is really bad for them. It can cause serious issues and I would advise you to never do this.


SH: Are there any human foods pets can have as "sometimes" treats that may not be the healthiest, but aren't terrible, either?

HF: I believe in moderation, and basically, if it's not on that toxic list that I just gave you, most fruits and veggies are perfectly okay in moderation. I will be the first person to tell you I give my pets some lean chicken breast, the occasional non-fatty piece of sausage or any lean meats because they love them, and it is a form
 of bonding to give your pets food and treats.

Realistically, your pet probably will be fine if you give them some of your dinner, but as long as you aren't doing this every day, it shouldn't be a major issue. Just again, make sure you speak with your vet, because some pets have medical conditions that mean they really can't have foods that are high in salt or high in oxalates, and things of that nature.


SH: What are the most problematic foods that are commonly fed to pets?

HF: By far, the most problematic foods I see being fed to pets are fatty foods. This can range from chicken thighs to pork products like bacon to buttery toast or a 
greasy burger. Most pets do not handle grease and fat well and it can lead to a serious issue called pancreatitis, which is very painful in most cases. The
 leaner the meat, and the less seasoned, generally the better. Also, again I urge people to check the labels on their peanut butter or other treats and ensure there is no xylazine or other artificial sweeteners in them. Dogs and cats will handle true sugar much much better than any artificial sweetener.


Also read about: The 10 Most Valuable Pet Tips We Learned From Viral TikTok Vet, Dr. Hunter Finn


SH: Any tips and tricks for getting our pets to enjoy healthier treats?

HF: Most pets will truly enjoy the healthy snacks you offer them. Try different things from the list below and I guarantee your dog or cat will enjoy at least one of them, if not fall in love with them. We as humans think that they only want our ice cream sandwiches or fatty burgers, but in reality, they can actually love these healthy snacks. Sometimes, you just have to try different methods, such as freezing some blueberries rather than serving them at room temperature, or boiling zucchini rather than pan-searing it.

A Cute Dog with a Blueberry on its Nose: Shutterstock

(via Shutterstock)


Also read about: This Bucket List for You and Your Dog Will Help You Make Every Moment Count


Recommended Treats (With Calorie Counts)

Raw Vegetables

1 Cup Sliced Cumber (100 g): 15 calories
4 Baby Carrots (40 g): 16 calories
1/2 Cup Green Beans (45 g): 15 calories
1/3 Cup Chopped Sweet Red Peppers (50 g): 15 calories
2 Celery Stalks (100 g): 15 calories
5 Cherry Tomatoes (85 g): 15 calories
1/2 Cup Chopped Broccoli (45 g): 15 calories

Pomeranian dog eat carrot. Dog outdoor. Beautiful and clever pomeranian dog: Shutterstock.

(via Shutterstock)


Cooked Vegetables

1/2 Cup of Boiled Cauliflower (70 g) 15: calories
1/4 Cup of Boiled Brussel Sprouts (40 g): 15 calories
1/2 Cup of Boiled Cabbage (75 g): 15 calories
1/4 Cup of Boiled or Steamed Broccoli (50 g): 15 calories
  • 1/3 Cup of Steamed Carrots (50 g): 15 calories
  • 1/3 Cup of Steamed Yellow Squash (60 g): 15 calories
  • 1/2 of a Steamed Medium Zucchini (100 g): 15 calories
  • 1/3 Cup of Steamed Green (50 g): 15 calories



1/4 Cup of Chopped Apples (30 g): 15 calories
3 Medium Strawberries(50 g): 16 calories
20 Blueberries (25 g): 15 calories
15 Raspberries (30 g): 15 calories
1/8 Medium Banana (20 g): 15 calories
  • 1/3 Cup of Diced Watermelon, Honeydew or Cantaloupe (50 g): 15 calories


Cooked Meats

  • 1/4 Hard-boiled Egg: (13 g): 20 calories
  • 1 Tablespoon of Boiled or Baked Chicken or Turkey (9 g): 15 calories


Other foods

  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Canned Pumpkin (30 g): 15 calories
  • 2 Tablespoons Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt (28 g): 15 calories
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Air-Popped Popcorn (4 g): 15 calories

Labrador dog eating yogurt: Shutterstock

(via Shutterstock)


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