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Is It Okay To Feed Dogs Table Scraps and Leftovers?

Updated on November 16, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Feeding your dog table scraps is okay at times.
Feeding your dog table scraps is okay at times. | Source

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Not any leftovers can be given. Some things that you may eat are toxic to your dog.
  3. 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.
  4. Leftovers may be higher in fats than a home cooked diet and can lead to obesity.

Eating some commerical foods leads to obesity.
Eating some commerical foods leads to obesity. | Source

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.

Know what is toxic before feeding your dog table scraps.
Know what is toxic before feeding your dog table scraps. | Source

What Table Scraps Should I Avoid?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Dishes containing alcohol: Most dishes have very little alcohol added but it is better to avoid them.
  4. 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.
  5. Leftover chocolate cake, chocolate pie, and even chocolate chip cookes can be toxic. Avoid them.


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    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 7 weeks ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Bella, it is not necessary to feed your dogs a commercial food. Homemade diets are a lot healthier than a product that has been cooked so long that it can sit on the shelfs of the pet store for months at a time.

      That is a good point about begging. I have seen too many families create problems with feeding scraps from the table during their own meal time.

    • profile image

      BellatheBall 7 weeks ago

      It depends. Just like this article says. Don't rely on feeding scraps or leftovers instead of a regular diet of commercial food.

      And the manner in which you feed leftovers is very important. Never feed pets while you are eating! Always wait until all humans, including baby are finished eating before giving scraps to pets.

      Insist that pets be patient and wait. Dogs must sit on command and wait to be given leftovers.

      Otherwise meal times will become a tug of war.

    • profile image

      Joyce Cogburn 2 months ago

      Very good info.

    • profile image

      freewayryder 4 years ago

      My dogs get table scraps but it is mized in with their kibble..NOT from thetable..i cook from scratch so my food is healthy for us and forthem

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Our premium food is Pedigree (the Waltham diet, but down here they do not use carbs like corn), which is about $3.50 US per kilo. Most dog owners I know complain about that. If I told them about 10 dollars a pound they would probably not believe it.

      Good reason to feed leftovers?

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 4 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Hey Doc, just caught up to this one. You think 60 bucks for a 30 pound bag is expensive? That's chump change compared to ZiwiPeak dog food at $123.00 for an 11 pound bag on Amazon.

      I had a lady call the store once to ask if we carried it and I told her that we didn't...but that we did carry such and such (a number of high quality, grain free holistic foods that run 50 to 60 bucks for a 26 to 30 pound bag). She said, "Oh no, those are far too expensive for my budget" and didn't believe me when I told her the price of ZiwiPeak.

      Dog kibble at over 10 bucks a have you seen everything?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Be sure to let me know how things work out for you.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama


      well, it was too much something (or maybe not enough?) that made my daughter's boxer itchy and changing to Nutro helped. Sorry I got some word mixed up and it's been a while, my old mind wants to do its own thing.

      I may try the eggs. Thanks for the tip.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Too much protein? I doubt that since protein is one of the most expensive components in dog food and they usually add fillers like wheat and corn to make it cheaper; it is usually the cheap fillers that cause most of the skin allergies. Most commercial dog foods have a mixed-source protein, like the entrails from cattle and pigs at the slaugherhouse. Egg whites are 100% protein, very pure, but also too expensive for dog food manufacturers. (I don't mean to ramble on but I raise organic laying chickens so I use this source of protein to supplement the cheap dog food I am able to buy here.)

      Whenever you add a new food source, do it slowly and monitor the dogs reactions, if any. Only add one source at a time so you will notice any problems. Some foods can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and swollen ears, as well as the itching you noticed in your dogs.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama


      It may be worth to try eggs. It was my understanding though that some dog foods have too much protein and get allergies that way. my daughter had to change food for their boxer. He was getting too much protein and itching like crazy. They changed his food to Nutro and that helped. Is the egg protein the same as in dog foods? I am willing to try eggs now and then if you think it's o.k.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      When you buy those canned foods Rui you are mostly paying for water and fillers. You are better off buying a dozen eggs for the same price and boiling them, giving him chunks of egg as treats. Not PC, I know, but dogs really enjoy them. wetnosedogs it sounds like you have more of a battle than Rui and myself, but egg protein is usually safe for all animals. You might want to try it if you need something.

    • Rui Carreira profile image

      Rui Carreira 5 years ago from Torres Novas

      Just because they can't have table scraps doesn't mean they can't have treats.. I treat mine with some of those canned dog foods instead of the regular dry rations

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      None of my dogs get table scraps anymore. I used to give them a taste. However, Bella has allergies and so table scraps are out and the dogs are eating dog food with no soy, no corn, no wheat. Can't give them chicken fingers which they loved, cause those are fried and contain soy. The dogs seem to have accepted their new diet. What one gets, they all get. What one can't have, neither can the others. I believe Bella knows this is for her own good since she feels better.