Jordan Walker says that his love for animals is unrivaled. He writes for Coops And Cages and other blogs where he happily shares his pet passion and knowledge with similar-minded folks like us. In this article, he sorts out the pros and cons of feeding table scraps to our pet dogs.
No one would readily like to admit, but every dog owner has been guilty of giving into feeding the dog with food off the table. Frankly, who could resist those begging, puppy-dog eyes peeking so intensely from underneath the tablecloth? With such lovable antics, one can be easily compelled to throw their cares to the wind and go ahead with offering table scraps to their furry darling. Still, the thought would nag at them: is there good or harm in feeding table scraps to pets?
What Could Go Wrong
One important point to keep in mind in considering a dogís diet is that its metabolism varies significantly from a humanís. While they also need carbohydrates, proteins, and sources of good fats, they process certain foods differently. Foods that may be beneficial to human health could be hazardous to a dogís. Everyone has probably heard of the dangerous effects on dogs of chocolate, onions, garlic, certain nuts, avocado and certain other fruits, and caffeinated foods, to name a few. On top of that, dogs may find these dangerous foods tasty and wouldnít know any better if they ate them. For this reason, human companions should always be primed about the basics of dog health. That means being able to identify which human foods can cause serious illness to a dog and keeping these hazards out of the furry thingís reach at all times.
What Happens To Dogs
When dogs ingest something that is poisonous to them, they often vomit, have a fever, get tremors or seizures, become excessively thirsty, and palpitate, among many other symptoms. If the appropriate medical intervention is not immediately given, a dog could die. This is one of the most painful experiences a dog owner could go through, one that all of them would like to avoid at any cost. Fortunately, dog poisoning from ingestion of human food can be prevented. Any vigilant pet parent should keep strict tabs on what his/her dog gobbles up.
Other times, though, the effects of feeding human food to a canine may not be as drastic as what could happen with poisoning. Although still undesirable and even frowned upon, the effects could be as subtle as the gradual lowering of the dogís state of health and the reinforcement of unbecoming behavior. For example, feeding fatty and processed foods to a dog can increase its chances of obesity, which causes a host of other health problems, and pancreatitis. If thatís not enough, some dogs can develop persistent allergies. Once dogs get a taste for human food, they become picky with their food choices and reject even high-quality dog food, which would otherwise provide a more balanced meal for them. Furthermore, negative behaviors such as begging, counter-surfing, and garbage-raiding can also ensue from the practice, to the added frustration of dog owners.
When It Is Okay
Having discussed previously, not all human foods are actually bad for dogs. Cooked, bone-free meats, fish, and eggs are in fact good protein sources for the canine companion. Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yam, carrots, and bananas are some human foods that are also deemed canine-friendly. Plus, such occasional wholesome treats can do good to break up the monotony of chewing down kibble (the good, healthful kind, of course). That extra attention to detail is something a dog will love his/her human all the more for. Still, owners should keep top of mind the allergy factor when introducing people food to their dogs. Being individuals, dogs will have varying sensitivities to different things.
What the Experts Say
That said, a certified veterinarian should have the last say on what is best for a dog health-wise. Granted, like all other experts, veterinarians will hold differing opinions on the matter, they have the technical knowledge and skill needed to assess the health of a dog and will be able to determine what should be made part of a dogís diet. In this regard, consulting with a vet who can be trusted to provide expert animal care is essential. It is important that the pet ownerís beliefs and point of view align with those of the vetís so that an appropriate health care program can be achieved for the pet.
All dog owners will agree that dogs are outstanding companions. They are loyal and effortlessly lovable, and the owner will do right by them to provide them with the proper nourishment and keep them out of harmís way. In this case, that means keeping the kitchen dog-safe or keeping them tail-waggers out of there altogether. Table scraps or no table scraps, pet parents should always make it a point to consult with their vet before introducing any piece of food into their dog’s diet. They never know, and they never know. In case their dog gulps down something they suspect could be harmful to it, owners should seek immediate veterinarian help.
Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages.