Can I Feed My Dog Table Scraps
The primary reason for not feeding your dog lots of scraps from the table
is that food which is eaten by humans is not generally good for dogs.
Dogs have different nutritional requirements from humans, and dog food is
designed to provide those requirements. Seek the assistance of your vet
with regard to the quantity of food you should give to your dog, and most
importantly what food you should be giving him. Feeding your dog
consistently at the same time each day, and in the same location of your
home, will help to establish your dog's eating pattern. You can vary his
diet by giving him different types of food as there are a wide variety of
foods designed specifically with canine digestion in mind.
One of the common ailments which the modern-day dog suffers from is
obesity. Dogs which eat lots of table scraps tend to have weight
problems. Suppose you have had a piece of steak for your meal and you
wish to give your dog a morsel. You are unlikely to give him a prime
piece of the meat; he is going to get the fatty piece. Common sense
dictates that a diet high in fat is not good for your dog's health or
weight. An overweight dog will be at a higher risk of developing other
health issues in the future.
Some foods should never be fed to dogs as they pose direct risks to your
dog's health. One such example of a food toxic to dogs is chocolate,
since it contains a toxin which can harm your dog's digestive system, and
in sufficient quantities may even result in his death.
If your dog is to enjoy good health, then a balanced and varied diet
which meets all the nutritional needs of a canine, is essential. A dog
whose diet is mainly made up of table scraps is more susceptible to
digestive disorders. Even if your dog only eats foods which are not known
to be toxic to dogs, eating lots of table scraps and fatty foods can
cause your dog to suffer from vomiting, diarrhea and other unpleasant
While your dog will not come to any harm from eating the occasional scrap
of chicken, if he is repeatedly given table scraps, he will probably come
to prefer such scraps to his own food. Dog food is formulated specially
for canine digestion and nutritional needs. Giving your dog a healthy
diet of dog food as well as lots of table scraps will not benefit him in
the long run.
Consider also the behavioral implications of giving your dog lots of
scraps from the table. If you are to encourage the practice of eating
scraps, you will be teaching your dog how to beg. Consider whether this
is a lesson which you want him to learn.
If you start to feed your dog scraps from the table, even once, then he
will begin the lesson in begging. If you progress to feeding him at every
meal, then he will learn the lesson very quickly. He will learn that you
want him to beg at the table, and that you will reward him with food when
he does beg. In time, even if there are occasions when you do not want
your dog to beg at the table, he will undoubtedly sit faithfully at your
feet, licking his lips, awaiting his reward.
Even if you do not mind being pestered during your meal, consider the
possible implications when you may choose to entertain guests. It is
quite likely that your visitors may not be accustomed to a dog begging
for food while they try to enjoy their meal.
Another factor to consider is that your dog may become a fussy eater. If
your dog is given a choice between dry dog food and a gravy-covered,
juicy piece of steak, then he will probably choose the steak. If you
persist in giving your dog scraps of human food, he will soon start to
develop a taste and preference for table scraps over dog food. Whilst
some dogs will happily eat anything and everything put in front of them,
you really ought to encourage your dog to eat his own dog food, which
meets his nutritional and dietary needs.
A dog which is fed on human food will begin to reason that he has the
right to eat any human food. You will no longer be able to leave any dish
of food out on the kitchen counter without the fear that your dog may
steal the contents. There is also an increased likelihood that your dog
will root through the garbage for any scraps which might take his fancy.
Clearly, this is not behavior which you would want to encourage in your
dog, since there are other items in the garbage which could cause him
harm, and spoiled food will undoubtedly upset his digestive system.
Giving your dog treats is a good way to encourage positive behavior and
obedience. However, treats in the form of table scraps should be limited.
Before you hand him anything from your plate you should think about
whether it may be harmful to your dog, and consider also the manner in
which you give him the treat.
You should never give your dog chicken bones, and any small bones such as
those found in fish, should be removed entirely. Scraps which contain
bones can result in damage to the digestive tract, not to mention
potentially causing vomiting or diarrhea.
Resist the urge to feed your dog directly from the table. In order to
discourage begging, ignore such behavior, and wait until the meal has
concluded. Any leftover food which you intend to give to your dog should
be eaten at his normal eating place, perhaps the kitchen, as opposed to
your normal eating place of the dining room. Having this period of time
between your meal and giving your dog the scraps will help to distance
the connection between begging and your dog receiving a table scrap.
Keep in mind that whilst the occasional table scrap may not be harmful to
your dog's diet, it is most beneficial to feed him on dog food which
contains ingredients to meet his nutritional needs. As the owner, it is
your responsibility to ensure that you care for your dog's health and to
encourage his good behavior.