Feeding Table Scraps to Dogs
To feed or not to feed your dog table scraps... That is the question. Learn about the pros and potential cons of feeding your dog food from your table.
Why Not to Feed Tables Scraps to Dogs
Table scraps and other “people food” can compete with and imbalance the nutritional benefits of high-quality, well-researched commercial diets. Table scraps often add empty calories, predisposing dogs to putting on weight. Obesity is on the rise in companion dogs and is a serious health problem, especially in this country. People food can be mighty tasty to a dog, interfering with its appetite and souring it on the taste of its regular diet. Fatty foods, such as poultry skin, ham, bacon, sausage and gravies, can trigger painful and potentially dangerous bouts of pancreatitis. Feeding a pet from the table encourages begging and counter-surfing, behaviors that most people find annoying. Some dogs are lactose intolerant and develop unpleasant diarrhea when fed milk, cheese, cottage cheese or other dairy products, although plain yogurt is often recommended to stimulate the growth of helpful bacteria in the intestinal tract and calm the gut.
Why Some People Food May Be Okay for Dogs
Not all human food is bad for all dogs. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with an occasional snack to break up the monotony of plain old kibble. Many owners routinely add leftovers and table scraps to their dog’s dinner bowl or share eggs and toast over breakfast. Small dogs may enjoy Cheerios as a low-calorie snack. Carrots, bananas, apples and many other fruits and vegetables are good for dogs, and many love these healthy treats. Almost all dogs enjoy eating cooked, bone-free meat, poultry and fish. Rice and boiled chicken are used as part of veterinarian-supervised elimination diet trials for dogs suspected of having food allergies, and often for those recovering from gastrointestinal ailments or surgery. Dogs typically like eggs, whether hard-boiled, scrambled, poached or fried. Beef jerky and turkey jerky can make great rewards during training sessions, because they are extremely tasty, easy to store in pockets and simple to break into bite-sized pieces. All sorts of flavorful people food are used by dog handlers to keep their animals focused in the show ring. Dogs with diarrhea can be fed unsweetened canned or cooked pumpkin, sweet potatoes or yams, which tend to firm up the stool. Some breeders wean their puppies on various combinations of human baby rice cereal, fresh or canned goat’s milk, raw egg yolks, ground kibble and/or puppy milk replacer. Frozen mini-bagels can provide a great deal of relief to puppies that have sore gums from teething, although gnawing on them may make a mess.