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Is It Okay to Feed My Pet Table Scraps?

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You might be tempted to give your dog table scraps, and that’s especially true when they’re watching you as you eat. While it’s understandably hard to resist your dog’s big, pleading eyes, think twice about giving your furry friend human food. The high-calorie foods we think are a treat can actually impact your dog’s health in ways you may not realize. At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we promote nutritious diets in pets. We uncover the potential health risks of feeding your dog table scraps. 

Digestive Problems

A dog’s digestive system is much different from yours. The foods we eat are often high in calories and fat, which is why they are hard for dogs to digest. Your dog can experience diarrhea, vomiting and even develop bigger problems like pancreatitis. Human foods also have lots of salt and sugar that are unhealthy for dogs. 

Some Foods Are Toxic

There are many ingredients in human food that are toxic to dogs. You probably already know that dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, but it’s also dangerous for your pet to consume onions, grapes, macadamia nuts and garlic, too. Feeding your dog leftovers can mean unknowingly feeding her something harmful. Processed foods can also contain artificial sweeteners, which your dog should avoid. 

Weight Gain

If you are giving your dog table scraps alongside their regular meals, you may be contributing to unhealthy weight gain in your pet. A bite or two might not seem like much, but over time, it adds up. For example, one ounce of cheddar cheese for a dog is the same caloric equivalent to a person eating one and a half hamburgers. Weight gain can increase your dog’s risk for heart disease, arthritis and many other health issues, so avoid giving your dog even a small portion of your meal. 

Encourages Undesirable Behavior

By giving into your dog’s demands for food, you’re reinforcing their begging behaviors. Even though you think it’s cute, visitors and dinner guests may have other feelings. Your dog will hover nearby while guests eat, and they may even think it’s okay to take food right from the counter or table. Some dogs eventually refuse their kibble when they’re constantly given human food. 

Choosing the Right Dog Food is Important

Given the risks of feeding your dog table scraps, think twice before caving to your pup’s begging. Dogs tend to eat until they make themselves sick, so it’s up to you to ensure your dog eats the right amount of the best food. A balanced diet supports your dog’s energy, shiny coat and healthy weight. There are plenty of quality dog foods available, and once you’ve determined your dog’s preferences, it’s easy to give your dog food that he enjoys. 

If you aren’t sure where to begin, call our veterinarians at Blue Lake Animal Hospital. We provide in-depth nutritional guidance to help you choose foods that support your furry friend’s long-term health. Get in touch today to schedule a checkup at our office. 

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