Although it can be difficult resisting those pleading, puppy dog eyes, it doesn't do your dog any favours when you give in and feed them tidbits of your meal. Yummypets explains why...
You eat it. You like it. Your dog eats it. Your dog likes it. But is it really okay for them? We look at the issues involved in giving your pet tidbits when you eat.
Do you really know if your dog can eat it?
You may think your dog can eat tidbits here and there, but you may also be very wrong. Some foods such as chocolate, grapes, cheese, onions, caffeine, and milk, among others, are toxic to dogs and can be dangerous to their health. In more serious cases, they can bring about death.
Symptoms can include indigestion, stomach pains and cramps, bloating, intestinal obstruction, muscle spasms, allergies, heart murmurs, and worse. Hair and skin can also become very dry and irritable making it unpleasant for your dog to manage.
Weight management issues
In addition to knowing about toxic foods, it's also important to know what constitutes a healthy diet for your dog.
Sharing your plate or tidbits with Fido can lead to weight management issues. While it may seem like a good idea at the time, it's very easy for your dog's appetite to increase as a result of the extra food being consumed. Without changes to exercise routines, irrespective of whether the food is appropriate for them or not, it's likely your dog will put on unhealthy weight.
Keep in mind that an average serving for an adult human typically equals a huge serving portion for your animal. Specialised dog food, or better still, your vet's recommended food choice, is designed to best meet your pet's needs and serving sizes. Take note of the instructions or ask your vet for guidance.
Bad habits and behavioural problems
Feeding your dog tidbits can also cause behavioural problems in your animal.
Expect to be nagged every time you sit at the table when you eat, or head into the kitchen to prepare yourself some food. Giving in to your dog will only make this worse! Additionally, such habits can be difficult to train out of dogs. They can also lead to other difficult behaviours such as stealing food or rummaging through your bins.
Remember that dogs can be just like humans when it comes to tasting the good stuff. We always want more! But without human rationality, your pet can become difficult when it comes to eating their dog food and demand yours instead. Avoiding getting to this place from the outset will provide better peace of mind and happiness for all involved.
How you can still treat your dog to home-cooked food
We understand - it can be hard eating in front of your dog when they're sporting those puppy dog eyes! However, from time to time you can meet them halfway and cook something a little special just for them - their own special tidbits.
Ensure you know what foods they can and cannot eat and then prepare a small dish you know they'll love. The plus side - they'll know you made it just for them and it will be good for them too! Carrots, green beens, lean meats, and cooked white rice are great options for your dog, as well as pieces of apple (remember to always remove the core).
You still need to consider what goes into the dish - it's always a great idea to discuss options with your vet - but making something specific to your dog's needs will help to avoid any bad habits (or dangers) you really won't want to deal with or inflict upon them.
Be honest - do you feed your dog tidbits?