AVMA issues bulletin on home-cooked pet foods
"From monitoring the news, we saw a lot of stories about people saying they don't know what they are going to do because they don't trust using the foods that are out there," says Michael San Filippo, an AVMA spokesperson.
"We don't want to encourage this, but if people are going to do it, we want to ensure they do it right," says San Filippo. To that end, an AVMA bulletin informs pet owners how to provide homemade options for their pets.
Table scraps and other foods humans often think are safe for dogs and cats, such as gravies, meat fats and poultry skins, can cause stomach and intestinal upsets, or even lead to pancreatitis, a condition that is deadly in dogs, explains AVMA President Roger Mahr, DVM.
Bones often splinter when chewed and cannot be digested by the animals' systems. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate used in baking, can be poisonous to animals, and xylitol, a common sweetener in baked goods, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs, Mahr says.
AVMA does not support owners cooking for their pets, but says if they insist on doing so they should first consult their veterinarian to ensure the very unique and complicated nutritional needs of their animal are met.
It is hard to match the balanced diet provided in commercially packaged products, says Dr. Tony Buffington, DVM, of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. If an owner still wants to cook for their pets, he recommends www.petdiets.com as a quality online information source.
"If your pet is healthy and doing well on the pet food it is currently eating, and the food is not on the recalled-products list, there is no reason to change the diet," Mahr says.