eNewsChannels COLUMN: We love our pets and want to spoil them. But be careful, as some treats can cause more harm than good. Not every pet will have a problem with the treats listed below but some might and it is better to be safe than sorry!

Peanut Butter
This is often a favorite method for administering pills to dogs. Peanut butter can be a huge allergen and should definitely be avoided if your dog has any type of allergy or skin problems such as ear infections, hot spots, or paw chewing/licking. Also, it is very high in fat and should not be used for any dogs with liver or pancreatitis conditions. Alternatives for administering pills are canned dog food, hummus or low fat whipped cream cheese.

Tuna Water
Many pet owners add tuna water to their cat’s food on a routine basis. This is usually because the cat isn’t eating well due to health concerns such as kidney disease. Tuna water is high in phosphorous (bad for the kidneys) and contains mercury. This just isn’t a good habit to get into. Safer alternatives are low sodium chicken or beef broth or an alternative canned cat food used as a “topper.”

Commercial Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are highly processed, loaded with salt, chemicals and are high in fat. In addition, most contain nitrates which are a known carcinogen. A contributing factor to the high rate of cancer in pets is the reduced quality of foods we are feeding them. If you want to eat a hot dog, then take a look at Applegate Farms which is a lower fat, no-nitrate, no-antibiotic version. But for your pets, stick with a piece of home cooked meat over a hot dog.

Fat from Meat – e.g.Table Scraps
The fat from your meat should go into the garbage—not into your pet. Pancreatitis can occur from a simple incidence of cutting off fat from meat and giving it your pet. Pets thrive on lean meats, fish and poultry. Please give them the very best in these foods and don’t give them fat from the table.

Cookie Dough and Other Baked Goods
Pets can get sick very quickly from too much sugar. Most baked goods not only contain sugar but also flour which can be problematic for allergic pets. Some contain raisins which are poisonous. Many pets get urinary tract infections especially from eating grains and high carbohydrates. Please avoid giving your pet grains and especially human baked goods that contain sugar.

Healthy Treats for Your Pet
Feel free to give your pet healthy treats made with fresh protein sources such as salmon, venison or bison. They are often found in dehydrated or freeze dried form with nothing else added. These tasty treats are great for cats and dogs and are a nutritious source of protein. A baby carrot, slice of apple or vegetables are all good choices as well as a small amount of baked or canned salmon or a lean meat. Please look at labels carefully — if you can’t pronounce the ingredients — don’t give it to your pet. Finally, be sure to avoid treats with food dyes that are made to look like fresh ingredients — e.g. orange-colored dog treats that are made to look like a fresh carrot.

© 2011 By Susan Blake Davis, Originally published on