Is It Okay To Feed Dogs Table Scraps and Leftovers?
Feeding table scraps to your dog is okay.
There are a lot of new dog foods being marketed since the diets with Chinese ingredients started killing pets. Some of these new dog foods are really good quality and if you want to go that route there is certainly nothing wrong with it. The most amazing part of the new dog food kibble diets though is that they all claim “human quality food” and yet they all cost more per pound than human quality food!
(I feed my dog a natural diet but looked into dog food prices for this article. Many of the new brands are not better that table scraps and still use some inexpensive carbohydrate fillers, despite the price.)
Do those pet shop and grocery store prices seem too high? There are a couple of alternatives to buying this expensive kibble:
1. Make up your own diet with high quality raw ingredients. This may or may not not be any cheaper, depending on how you find your foods. It is better for your dog.
2. Make up a dog food with much cheaper ingredients. This has to cost considerably less than the food I have seen advertised.
3. Feed your dog whatever you are eating. Your dog´s GI tract may not appreciate this alternative. It might cost you both in visits to the emergency vet and in late nights cleaning the carpet.
What About The Problems With Table Scraps?
There is an advantage of feeding your dog whatever leftovers you have on the table: it is convenient! Imagine how easy it would be to just take a few leftovers and dump them in his bowl. There are several disadvantages if you do feed scraps, so you need to be ready to deal with them:
- His GI tract may be upset from frequent diet changes, leading to diarrhea and vomiting. Some dogs have a "cast iron stomach" and have no problem with frequent changes.
- Not any leftovers can be given. Some things that you may eat are toxic to your dog.
- If your dog is not able to handle the leftovers he may also have problems with conditions like pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas aggravated by high fat meals.
- Leftovers may be higher in fats than a home cooked diet and can lead to obesity.
Those old-time dog owners out there argue “But when I was a kid dogs just got leftovers, and they were fine.” Okay. The ole timer probably did not worry if the dog was having the squirts since it was in the back yard and not in the family´s living room. The ole timer was also not as concerned about feeding a dog toxic foods like onions. Dogs died young back then from diseases like distemper. Maybe the old timer didn’t even notice if Brownie passed on a little younger than the average of seven years.
What Table Scraps Can I Give My Dog?
Are there leftovers I would consider giving to my dog?
1. Scrambled or boiled eggs. Omlettes are more likely to have onions but if you have plain eggs they make a great treat to the dog. I would share eggs-over-easy with my dog too but there are never any leftover.
2. Pasta without sauce. This is one of those leftovers that can be very high in calories so it needs to be given in moderation. It really needs to be eaten in moderation by the humans in the household, but that is a separate topic.
3. Beef trimmings, raw long bones, chicken giblets. If your dog is overweight or one of the breeds/types predisposed to pancreatitis this would not be a good idea. My dog is young and thin so she gets almost anything without causing any problems.
4. Plain yogurt. Yogurt is useful for replenishing the bacterial flora of the GI tract and if you use it and have any leftover your dog will benefit too.
5. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber slices. Your dog might not care too much for these leftovers but they are healthy. My dog will usually take a piece of raw corn on the cob but would no more be seen with a carrot stick than with a border collie.
The main point to remember is that a little bit of the right types of leftovers are not going to harm your dog. If you have any questions about the contents of the food or about the danger to your dog throw the leftovers in the trash. You can feed your dog some leftovers, but do not overdo it!
If I Give Leftovers Will My Dog Need Supplements?
Some supplements are good, and even the commercial dog foods that have "extra fish oil" or "extra glucosamine" do not have enough to help your dog´s health. If you can afford to give them, your dog should also be getting:
Fish oil: beneficial effects to the coat, GI tract, the immune system
Yogurt (live): restores the intestinal flora and controls loose stools
Milk: treats constipation in lactose intolerant dogs. A teaspoon of powdered milk sprinkled over your dog´s scraps will not cause loose stools in most dogs and can be used to add protein and calcium to the diet.
Brewers yeast: Vitamin B supplement that can help control fleas and aid in the functioning of the nervous system.
Egg shells: A dog needs calcium every day and crushed egg shells are an easy and bioavailable method to supply her needs.
Apple Cider Vinegar-numerous potential benefits.
What Table Scraps Should I Avoid?
- Anything with a lot of onions: You may have forgotten about the onions by the time it is time to feed your dog. If you want your dog to suffer from severe anemia go ahead and feed onions.
- Anything with artificial sweeteners like xylitol: There are a lot of recipes out there that use artificial sweeteners in place of sugar. A small amount of xylitol is enough to kill your dog. Some others may cause problems but have not been tested.
- Dishes containing alcohol: Most dishes have very little alcohol added but it is better to avoid them.
- Anything with grapes and raisins: If you are making a salad with apples and carrots, your dog will probably like it. If you have thrown raisins on top, avoid it.
- Leftover chocolate cake, chocolate pie, and even chocolate chip cookes can be toxic. Avoid them.
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