Most dog owners have been there: enjoying a nice dinner, you look down and stare into the desperately pleading eyes of your puppy. His desire is clear. If he could speak, he would likely say, “Please, oh, please can I have just one little bite of chicken?”
As hard as it is to resist those soulful puppy dog eyes, it’s important to remember that it is not always in your puppy’s best interest to give in to his begging.
Aside from the fact that feeding your dog from the table reinforces a negative behavior (begging), some human food can be harmful to your dog, even in small quantities.
While the simplest and safest solution is to not give your dog any table food, there are some foods that are fine for your dog in small quantities. Table food should never make up the majority of a puppy’s diet. Dog food is formulated with all of the nutrients and vitamins that dogs need. It is very difficult to give a dog all that he needs by feeding him only table food. But, as an occasional treat, or to break up the monotony of your pet’s diet, tossing him some of your leftovers is acceptable.
Some owners think the perfect treat for their pet is the fat they have trimmed from a roast or other meat. Fat trimmings should not be given to dogs, however, because it can cause pancreatitis. Table scraps of meat should have the fat trimmed from them and should never contain any bones.
Don’t Give Your Dog Poultry or Fish Bones
Poultry and fish bones are particularly hazardous as they are brittle and it is very easy for a dog, especially a small dog, to choke on them. Even other bones should be avoided because it is possible for the bones to cause damage to the intestines. In addition, some dogs have an allergic reaction to the bone marrow which causes severe diarrhea and vomiting.
Many foods are a danger because they can cause an obstruction in the puppy’s throat or digestive tract. Pits from peaches and plums are one example of this type of hazard.
Also to be avoided are chocolate, some types of nuts and grapes and raisins, all of which contain toxins that can be very dangerous to a puppy.
It may be difficult to resist the urge to treat your puppy with the same foods that you enjoy, but it’s important to remember that dogs have a different metabolism than humans.
There are safer ways to treat your puppy than with table scraps. Several companies offer a product to be used much like gravy. It can be poured over their food to provide a new texture and flavor. It can even be heated, so that your puppy can have a warm meal.
If you want to share YOUR dinner with your puppy, trim the fat off of a small piece of chicken or beef for the occasional treat, but to keep your dog in tip top shape, stick to the food that was made specifically to meet his needs.