Table scraps: a man’s trash but a dog’s treasure. Many of us are guilty of tossing table scraps to our dogs. But just like my son’s love affair with junk food, table scraps are not healthy. Most of these food items are oily, salty, and heavily flavored. So what happens to a dog who eats table scraps? The pooch will have an increased risk of obesity, stomach upset, and even behavioral problems.
Below, I discussed what table scraps do to a dog and why we should avoid giving it to them.
Are table scraps okay for dogs?
The common mindset of many dog owners is this: I’m going to throw table scraps anyway, so why not give it to my dog instead? Sure thing, your dog will love the treats off the table, but it can do more harm than help.
The question here isn’t about whether your dog can eat table scraps. Technically, canines will devour any tasty and smelly food you give them. It’s more of why you shouldn’t give the scraps in the first place. The following are some reasons why table scraps are not okay for dogs:
1. It can lead to weight gain.
Ruling out the type of table scrap, these excess food sources will expose your dog to obesity. Dogs can easily pack calories from table scraps.
Let’s put this in perspective: two ounces of fried bacon is almost equivalent to ¾ of a hamburger. If you give this every day, your doggo will become overweight in no time. Take note that excess weight will crush your dog’s knees. Over time, your dog will have orthopedic issues.
But bacon and other table scraps are protein-rich! Sure, but it also comes with a lot of salts and flavorings. All of these are not worth it for canines.
2. It can cause stomach upset.
One of the common side effects of table scraps is an upset dog tummy. This is due to all the flavorings added to the food to suit the human taste.
Other table scrap ingredients can also be toxic to dogs. This includes chocolate, raisins, garlic, onion, and macadamia nuts. Aside from it, table scraps might be processed food like Spam, bacon, hotdogs, or sausages.
If you’re eating or ordering takeout from a restaurant, you should never give the scraps to your dog. You don’t know what other ingredients are on the food that could potentially upset the pooch’s tummy.
3. It encourages begging behavior.
Dogs are smart, and once they learn that food gets tossed when they beg, they will keep doing it. Your begging dog will soon hover and try to get into the table if you don’t give them some table scraps. While your family might be fine with it, your guest may not like the dog’s behavior.
Aside from that, tossing table scraps to your dog will lead to unwanted behavior. The canine will soon think that since food comes from the table, it’s okay to take a bite from your plate.
The ugly part here is that dogs that got used to eating table scraps will start refusing to eat dog food. When that happens, you’ll have a big problem.
What to do with table scraps
Your dog is not a garbage disposal, so you shouldn’t count on them to consume all your table scraps. You should do the following instead:
- Turn it into a soup. If your leftovers are still clean and edible, you can turn it into a hearty soup. Bones and meat scraps can be made into a yummy soup for breakfast. You just have to be creative. Besides, when it comes to making soup, there are no rules.
- Compost. You can add food scraps into your mulch. Just make sure that your dog and other animals have no access to it. You can also compost it in a bin to prevent stray animals from digging it.
- Trash bin. If the table scraps are no longer viable for consumption, place it in a double bag and into the biodegradable trash bin. Make sure that you cover your trash bin properly to prevent your dog from dumpster diving.
- Garbage disposal. One of the most common and practical ways to dispose of table scraps is using garbage disposal. However, not everything can be thrown into it. Some of these are bones, eggshells, and fibrous vegetables since it will cause draining issues.
Healthy alternative treats for your dog
Instead of giving table scraps to your dog, you can prepare a homemade treat instead. It can be as simple as steamed carrots, squash, or asparagus. A slice of peeled banana, watermelon, and cucumber will also make excellent treats.
Steamed leafy vegetables are topnotch treats for dogs because it’s low in calories but high in nutrients. However, not all doggos may find it appealing.
In the end, the best way to give treats to your dog is by purchasing one that’s made specifically for them. But if you want to prepare homemade dog treats, steer clear of too many salts, sugar, and artificial flavorings.
What is the best table food for dogs?
To be clear, not all food from the table is bad for dogs. Given a healthy menu, you can actually give some to your pooch. The following are some of the healthy options that you can toss to your dog from the table:
- Steamed white rice. A small amount of white rice will aid your dog’s digestion. Still, you should only give rice in small amounts since it increases blood sugar levels.
- Steamed fish. Almost all dogs will start sniffing whenever you cook fish. You can toss them a small pinch as long as it doesn’t have toxic ingredients for dogs.
- Chicken. Steamed or boiled chicken are excellent treats for canines. It’s protein-rich and will not cause stomach upset as long as it remains unflavored.
- Green beans. Steamed green beans are healthy for dogs, but make sure that you chop it to prevent choking.
- Blueberries. You can toss a blueberry to your dog. It’s healthy and very juicy. Your pooch will like it, but you should never overindulge them since blueberries are rich in fructose, a form of sugar.
- Eggs. Boiled eggs are good for dogs since it’s rich in protein and minerals. Avoid feeding raw eggs to your dog because it might be contaminated with Salmonella, which can be killed through cooking.
What happens to a dog who eats table scraps regularly? The pooch will become overweight and likely to experience stomach upset often. To be safe, you shouldn’t let your dog get used to begging beside the table while you eat. Much better, time your dog’s meals on your own so the pooch will not feel left out.