Safe Summer Foods for Pets

By Dr. Carolyn Thorne, DVM

Labor Day will soon be upon us.  While summer is coming to an end, the summer crops are in full harvest mode.  Whether it is fresh peaches and blueberries, tomatoes picked from the garden, or ice cream and popsicles, we all have our summer food favorites.  As much as we might like to share with our pets, many summer foods aren’t good for them.

Grapes, for example, make an easy snack to pack in your little camper’s lunch box or put out on the patio table to enjoy al fresco with some wine and cheese on a hot summer evening. 

Pets may seem curious to try them, but grapes are DEFINITELY NOT a snack food or appetizer for cats and dogs.  In fact, grapes and raisins are highly toxic and can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Popsicles are also a go-to summer snack and dessert in many households.  Before you offer your furry companion a cool lick, always check the box for xylitol – a sweetner that’s toxic to pets.

Between the two of us, our clinic manager Lisa Whiting and I have four dogs - Bianca, Boston, Rikki and Calvin – who have sampled more than their share of tasty pet-safe summer foods. 

Here’s our vet-and-pet-approved list of safe summer food favorites:

  • Strawberries and blueberries – drop them in some yogurt for a frozen summer treat
  • Carrots – Calvin prefers his peeled first
  • Watermelon – look for seedless and remove the rind
  • Peaches – Rikki likes these in small chunks (but not the pit)
  • Cucumbers – Boston likes his chilled

I tell all my clients that if they aren't sure if their pet can eat something, better to not let them try it. 

I also suggest putting the ASPCA’s Pet Poison Control Center telephone number 888.426.4435 in their contacts on their mobile phone and keep it posted in a visible place at home.

If you are concerned your pet may have ingested a potentially dangerous food, contact the APSCA’s Pet Poison Control Center immediately.  For more pet emergency information, visit our resources.