Most pet owners have an opinion about giving dogs table scraps: they either love the idea, or they hate it. For some pet owners, it makes practical sense to give the family pets whatever food is left over after dinner.  It’s better than simply throwing it in the garbage, right?  Well, the answer to that question is not always as straightforward as you would think.  Sure, your pooch goes absolutely wild for whatever remains on your plate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she should really be eating it.

Regardless of your feelings on the topic, there are a few undeniable consequences of feeding your dog from the human table.  We’ll just list a few of them for you here and let you decide what works best for your household.

Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced to meet your pet’s dietary needs. 

You absolutely should not rely on table scraps to provide 100% of your pet’s daily nutrition.  We can guarantee that your leftovers simply do provide everything that your pet needs, in terms of vitamins, minerals, and macromolecules (such as lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates).  If you absolutely must give your pet table scraps, it is recommended that this should not exceed 10% of your pet’s total daily intake.

Feeding your pet human leftovers commonly reinforces bad behaviors.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.  We’ve all met one, from time to time: the dog who wouldn’t break a rule to save his life.  You could wave freshly-cooked bacon in front of this pup, and he wouldn’t bat an eyelash. If that description applies to your pooch, you can disregard our concerns for his impending behavioral issues.

For the rest of us, feeding a dog from the table means that your beloved sidekick turns into a dinnertime nuisance… begging and whining and making it virtually impossible to invite company over for a meal.  Feeding table scraps has also been associated with food aggression and the lovely habit of digging in the trash can.  Our advice is to do yourself a favor and commit to a “no table scraps” policy while your dog is still young.

Sometimes, the things you love the most can cause the most harm.

In your pet’s case, we’re talking about the health concerns that go along with eating foods that are not meant to be consumed by domesticated animals. Those fat trimmings from the delicious steak you just ate… Your vet sees those as a raging case of pancreatitis waiting to happen. The salty snacks that you and your pet love to share can cause an electrolyte imbalance for your dog. The list goes on: everything from avocados to onions to grapes, and more.

The risks of feeding your pet from the human table are simply not worth it.  If your veterinarian has prescribed a balanced home-cooked diet either on a short or long term basis, you can rest assured that your pup will do fine.  However, if you’re simply dropping leftovers for your dog to clean up, we want to encourage you to think again.  There are better ways to treat your pet to something nice.

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