The modern day Pavlov’s bell is the sound of clanking dishes.
We all know the feeling. Setting the table for dinner, and all the sudden you hear the clicking sound of dog paws walking on the hardwood floor. You and your dog know exactly what time it is, and they are fully expecting some table scraps.
Some may wait patiently staring while others may even begin to whine. If we have multiple dogs, then dinner time may also be a time for a scuffle. They get just as territorial over your dinner as they do their own!
But is feeding your dogs table scraps a good idea? Many people think feeding your dogs table scraps is completely harmless. But that’s not always true.
Dogs have specific dietary needs that need to be fulfilled for them to be healthy. Just like we need healthy food, so do our dogs. And, a lot of the time the food we feed ourselves isn’t particularly healthy.
For this reason, our table scraps are likely not good for our dogs either. Read on to learn why giving your dog table scraps is a no-no, and how to change this behavior.
Table Scraps for Dogs: Why It’s a Bad Idea
Dogs are a gift to us all. They’re cute, energetic, and loving. They give us so much joy and love that we seek out ways to repay them.
We probably even enjoy spoiling our dogs. It makes us feel good to see them happy, and so we go to any length to do so. But this need to spoil them can backfire when we feed them table scraps.
But we’ve also grown up with the belief that food shouldn’t be wasted. So, instead of throwing our leftovers away, we think it’s better to feed them to our pups instead.
Despite your motivations for feeding your dog table scraps, simply aren’t good for your dogs. Explore the following reasons why table scraps aren’t good for dogs, and what to feed them instead.
1. Health Problems
Table scraps can sometimes be high in fat content. These foods are hard for dogs to digest and can result in a number of health problems. For example, vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic. Acute pancreatitis can result even after feeding your dog table scraps high in fat or other substances just once. Pancreatitis means that the pancreas is inflamed which can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, and gagging.
2. Weight Gain
Just like humans, dogs need to maintain a healthy weight. Table scraps can easily add to your dog’s daily caloric intake which can result in weight gain. Once a dog does gain weight, it can be difficult to reduce their weight.
To avoid weight gain, don’t feed your dog fatty food. If you do want to feed them human food, consider giving them green beans or yogurt. If you do decide to give them these foods, then take into account their caloric intake for the day.
Some foods are toxic to dogs. These foods can cause serious health problems and even death. For example, dogs should never be fed anything cooked with onions, chocolate, or avocados. Grapes, raisins, and walnuts are also toxic to your dog.
To avoid feeding your dog something that could hurt their health, don’t feed them table scraps. Especially meals that include multiple ingredients in one dish.
4. Bad Behavior
Dogs are smart creatures. Sometimes we think that we have them trained, but instead they have us trained. The act of begging is a great example of how your dog knows how to get table scraps from you.
They may whine, beg, or even bark to get you to give them some food. This behavior is hard to break, so it’s best to avoid feeding your dog table scraps to prevent these behaviors.
5. Dog Food Aversion
Some dogs get so used to the taste and excitement of human food that they form an aversion to their dog food. However, dog food contains many nutrients dogs need to be healthy. If your dog is in this position, gradually reduce the number of table scraps you give them or mix it in with their dog food.
6. Chaotic Environment
Dogs that run the show can create a chaotic environment. When dogs are used to getting their way they can develop a number of annoying behaviors. These behaviors can create a tense environment for you, your guests, and your dogs.
This is especially true if you have more than one dog. They may all feed off of the energy and bad habits of one another. This can result in fighting, barking, and other problematic behaviors.
Table Scraps and Creating New Behaviors
As dog owners, we need to learn how to stop feeding our dogs table scraps. It’s easy to simply stop this behavior, but we also need to prepare ourselves for long-term change.
To start, consider not allowing your dogs to gather around your dinner table. This will prevent their puppy dogs eyes from influencing you to feed them table scraps. Instead, put them outside, train them to lay down, or seclude them in a room.
Next, it’s important to educate your entire family and guests about the downsides of feeding dogs table scraps. We all know how easy it is for a kid to just slide a piece of food they don’t want to our dogs. But, all family members need to understand that it’s better to just not eat the food rather than feeding it to the dog.
Lastly, purchase some healthy dog treats to reward your pet. Giving your dogs healthy treats is a great way to train them and improve their behavior. Dogs that get too much food like table scraps may begin to view treats as less valuable, which could lessen the effects of using treats to train them.
Want to spoil your dog with a new dog bed instead of table scraps? Check out our blog post to learn how to choose the right dog bed.