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Is Feeding A Dog Table Scraps Bad?

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Table scraps can cause digestive issues, weight gain, pancreatitis, obstructions, and other dangers in dogs.
  • Feeding dogs table scraps is generally not recommended due to the lack of balanced nutrition and potential health risks.
  • Some human foods are toxic to dogs, including chocolate, raisins, onions, garlic, and artificial sweeteners like xylitol.
  • Feeding table scraps can encourage begging and unwanted behavior in dogs.
  • It is best to avoid giving dogs food from the table to maintain their health and proper eating habits.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Sunday 7 August 2022
Last updated on
Thursday 27 July 2023
Is Feeding A Dog Table Scraps Bad?
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It is convenient for dog owners to feed their leftovers to their pets for two reasons: it saves them from having to make dog food separately, and secondly, it saves them from having to dispose of the leftovers later.

But can dogs eat leftovers? The answer to this question is not straightforward, so we decided to check it out more closely in the article below.

Are Table Scraps Bad For Dogs?

In most cases, you shouldn’t give your dog table food. Table food does not give the right balance of nutrition that your dog needs to live a healthy life. Dogs have different nutritional needs than humans. Therefore, feeding dogs table scraps may not be suitable for them.

Apart from not being nutritionally sufficient, feeding dogs table scraps can also cause diseases such as pancreatitis and diabetes. Some human foods can be toxic to dogs.

Fortunately, all human food is not harmful to dogs. You can feed them high-quality foods like green vegetables, turkey, baby carrots, and celery.

Reasons Why Table Scraps Are Bad For Dogs

Most human food contains oils and fats that can be harmful to your dog’s health. It can cause problems in their digestive system, lead to various diseases, block their esophagus, and even be lethal. Here are a few reasons why you should avoid giving table scraps to dogs.

Can Cause Digestive Issues

A dog’s digestive system is different from that of a human. Most of the food that we eat is fatty, has high amounts of oil, and is processed. This is very unsuitable for the diet that dogs need to eat.

Feeding a dog table scraps that contain fats can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach ache. It can even lead to Pancreatitis in severe cases.

Can Lead to Weight Gain

Weight gain often happens because you leave table scraps for dogs and then go on and give them a full meal afterward as well. Unaware dog owners feeding dogs table scraps think that a bite or two won’t harm them. 

Even a single bite of cheddar cheese contains as much caloric value for a dog as an entire hamburger for a human. Obesity is extremely dangerous for dogs because it can lead to further diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and stones.

In most cases, table scraps don’t meet the caloric requirements or nutritional content that dog food should have.

Research has clearly established that feeding too much table scraps can cause obesity in dogs.

Can Cause Pancreatitis

As mentioned earlier, fatty human food is dangerous for dogs. If the dog eats too much of these foods (such as when you leave table food for dogs after a thanksgiving dinner), it can cause pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis symptoms include vomiting, nausea, lethargy, and pain in the abdomen. If the proper medication is not given, it can even be lethal. Miniature Schnauzers are particularly susceptible to pancreatitis.

If your dog is suffering from pancreatitis, the vet might suggest anything from IV fluids to withholding food for a few days.

Can Cause Obstruction and Other Dangers

Certain foods, such as raw bread and cooked bones, can cause blockages in the intestine, which can be lethal to your dog. Apart from this, other dangers from human food to dogs include:

Some Table Foods Are Toxic to Dogs

Foods like chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, grapes, onions, garlic, chives, etc., are toxic to dogs. Several packaged or processed foods have artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol, which is also lethal for dogs. Moldy cheese is another example of that is table food bad for dogs. 

It is best to avoid giving any foods that you are unsure of to a dog, especially leftovers from your table.

Can Lead to Unwanted Behavior

Feeding table food can encourage begging in dogs. There are chances that it would take it as acceptable behavior and would start loitering around the dining table or kitchen waiting for scraps. 

They may even start taking a bite of raw food from the kitchen since you have been feeding them the food anyway. In many cases, they may refuse to eat their treats or food in expectation of yummy table scraps. To avoid such behavior, it is best to avoid giving them food from the table at the time of meals.

What Table Foods Are Okay For Dogs

So many foods seem to be off-limits for dogs. So, what table foods can dogs eat? Not all table food is bad. Foods like blueberries, carrots, turkey, and fish are perfectly safe for dogs. Here are a few more such foods:

1. Plain Bread

Dogs can eat plain bread in small crumbs. However, it would help if you always were cautious of the ingredients added to the bread you are feeding to your dog. Make sure that there aren’t spices or raisins in the loaf.

However, do not that plain bread has no nutritional value besides carbohydrates and calories. Moreover, make sure not to feed too much because raw bread can expand and cause obstruction in the dogs’ intestines.

2. Cheese

Yes, dogs can eat cheese if you feed them in small quantities. However, you must make sure whether or not your dog is lactose intolerant. In case they are, giving them cheese is not a good idea.

It is rare for dogs to be lactose intolerant, but getting them tested is always better than regretting it later. Also, keep in mind that moldy cheeses and cheese rinds are not good for dogs.

3. Blueberries

A rich source of phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber, blueberries are good for dogs’ health. Thus, it increases the nutritional value of dogs. As per 2012 research, antioxidants can successfully reduce age-related problems in older dogs and even help them live a longer life than usual.

4. White Rice

If your dog is dealing with an upset stomach, feeding them with home-cooked plain rice with chicken is often suggested by vets.

However, please note that rice can increase blood sugar levels in dogs. Thus, dogs with diabetes shouldn’t eat rice in any form or take it in small quantities. Instead, you can substitute rice partially with sorghum.

5. Carrots

Carrot is rich in Vitamin A, which strengthens the immune system of dogs, and it also contributes to keeping their skin healthy.

Chewing carrot also keeps plaque away and helps your dogs’ teeth cleaner. Overall, carrots are healthy for your dog and can be fed as table food once in a while.

6. Peanut Butter

Fresh, homemade Peanut butter (with no salt and preservatives) is considered relatively healthy for dogs, and it is a rich source of Vitamin E and B and contains healthy proteins and fats. 

Make sure that the ingredients of the peanut butter do not include artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which can be toxic to your dog.

7. Turkey

Cooked turkey is healthy for dogs. Cooked turkey is lean meat that is rich in protein which strengthens the body of animals, including dogs. However, it would be best not to add spices or seasoning to the turkey and remove the fat before cooking it so that your dog can eat it.

8. Cucumbers

Cucumbers contain several vitamins and minerals that contribute to the overall growth of dogs. Thus, it is perfectly all right to feed cucumbers as table scraps to your dog, especially if they are overweight. Cucumber comes with low calories, which helps obese dogs in reducing weight. Cucumber is good table food for dogs.

9. Bananas

Bananas are rich in magnesium, which is needed for strong bones. Thus, dogs can occasionally have bananas as a treat. However, make sure it is only on occasion because bananas have sugar, which can increase blood sugar levels and also cause diabetes in dogs.

10. Fish

You can feed salmon, tuna, shrimp, etc., to your dog to make them stronger. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which strengthen dogs’ immune systems and improve the animal’s fur or skin quality.

However, it is best if you cook fish before feeding the same to your pet since uncooked fish may contain Salmonella and other bacteria and parasites.

What Table Foods Are Not Okay For Dogs?

Just like good table foods, there are certain lousy table foods that your dog must never eat. We have listed them below as well for your perusal. Check them out and ensure that your dog never consumes them in the future.

1. Chocolate

Chocolate contains methylxanthines, a substance that is quite toxic for dogs. It can lead to seizures, heart problems, or even result in death. So, make sure that you never feed chocolate to your dog, not even in small amounts.

2. Almonds

Dogs cannot eat almonds since these nuts can cause an obstruction in their windpipe and cause discomfort or breathing troubles. However, one can feed them other nuts but consult your vet first before giving them to your dog.

3. Cinnamon

Even though cinnamon is not toxic to dogs, its consumption can lead to low blood sugar levels. When consumed in high amounts, it can also cause diarrhea, increased heart rate, vomiting, and nausea in dogs.

4. Garlic

Since garlic belongs to the Allium family (which also includes onions, chives, and leeks), it is very toxic to dogs. It weakens the immune system of dogs, sometimes to the point where they can collapse and get very sick. It also causes anemia and increases heart rate.

5. Ice Cream

Ice cream contains high sugar and fat and is not suitable food for dogs. Some dogs are also lactose intolerant, so every pet should be tested for it before being fed not just ice cream but any dairy product.

6. Raisins

If you have a dog, never feed them raisins or grapes. They are highly toxic to dogs and can cause several problems, including vomiting, seizures, digestive issues, and more.

7. Coconut Water

It is not recommended to give coconut water to your dog. Even though many people consider it healthy, coconut water has high potassium content, which is not suitable for a dog’s body.

8. Raw meat

Raw or undercooked beef may contain Salmonella, which can lead to food poisoning. Your furry friend will suffer from several stomach problems if they contract Salmonella poisoning. So, it is better to cook the meat properly before feeding it to your dog.

9. Avocado

Avocado contains persin, a substance that is quite toxic for dogs. The harmful effects of persin may include diarrhea, vomiting, and other stomach problems in dogs.

10. Bread Dough

While plain bread can still be fed to dogs, bread dough is a big no! The yeast in the dough can cause it to bloat and create an intestinal blockage, which can lead to severe complications.

So, is table food bad for dogs? Not all table foods are bad for dogs. But in general, you should avoid giving your table scraps to your dog. It can cause health and behavioral problems in them. If you do need to give your dog something, make sure it is safe first.

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