It can be hard to say no to those puppy dog eyes when you’re at the dinner table, but is feeding table scraps to your dog doing more harm than good? Let’s take a closer look.
It’s no secret that dogs can be beggars, especially at the dinner table. So, many dog dads and moms may wonder if giving their fur baby table scraps is really all that harmful.
The answer depends largely on what table scraps you’re feeding your dog. If you want to throw them a few french fries every now and then, this will likely lead to an imbalance in nutrition and obesity. On the other hand, table scraps may be okay if you’re giving them protein, vegetables, or organic, high-quality foods.
If you give your dog whatever foods they beg for, this will likely lead to more begging, obesity if out of moderation, and even toxicity if you don’t know which human foods are okay for your dog to eat. While it may seem harmless, these kinds of table scraps can throw off your dog’s nutrition and do more harm than good.
This guide breaks down which table scraps for dogs are okay, which table scraps aren’t, and how you can ensure your loyal canine is getting all the nutrients they need to flourish.
What Exactly Do You Mean By “Table Scraps?”
When we think of table scraps, we usually think of what’s left over from our meal. This includes all the parts of our meal we didn’t want to eat like potato skins, chicken bones, and other left-over foods.
In addition to being unwanted, table scraps can contain levels of high fat, sugar, and sodium that your dog doesn’t need. The ingredients humans tend to cook with such as oils, sugars, salt, and grease lack nutritional content and can be harmful for your pup to eat.
In this case, table scraps aren’t the best food to give your dog. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t feed them any human food, or any food from your table.
If you eat a clean, nutritious meal, with high quality ingredients, giving your dog a few scraps in their dog bowl is an excellent way to supplement their nutrition. The key is knowing which foods are okay to give your dog and which are better tossed in the trash.
Table Scraps That Are Generally Okay
When thinking about what table scraps are okay for your dog, there’s a lot to consider. You have to determine if the food is healthy and nutritious, non-toxic for your pup, and free of any added ingredients that can do more harm than good.
For instance, while white bread is non-toxic to your dog and won’t do them any harm if you give them a slice now and then, it doesn’t hold any nutritional value for them and will act as empty calories in your dog’s diet as opposed to food that will fuel them and provide nutrients.
If you’ve cooked the food in your own kitchen, it’s also important to look at the ingredients you used. If you used large amounts of butter, oil, grease, salt, or sugar, it may not be the best for your dog to consume. Aim for clean-cooked foods without too much seasoning or oil and with high nutritional value over flavor.
Here are a few table scraps that are okay for your dog to eat.
Meats like chicken, fish, eggs, pork, and turkey are an excellent source of protein and nutrients for your dog while being low in fat. Chicken provides lean protein and nutrients for your dog, salmon provides protein as well as omega-3s and fatty acids, and meats like turkey, pork, and eggs are a tasty, protein-packed treat.
There are a few instances where your dog may need a chicken-free diet — check out our tips here on how to spot signs that chicken is a no-go for your pup.
Other meats like ham or a burger patty don’t contain the same nutrients as chicken or fish and won’t benefit your dog as much. When choosing which meats are okay for your dog, be sure to avoid any with oils or grease, fatty parts, or seasoning.
Vegetables are also a rich source of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber for dogs. Some vegetables you can feed your dog are green beans, carrots, beets, zucchini, kale, parsley, and spinach.
Be sure to avoid canned vegetables, as these often contain added sodium and sugars to preserve freshness. As an alternative, head to your local farmer’s market and load up on all the organic, fresh goodness there. Be sure to cook these vegetables without excess oils, butter, or seasonings as well, or you can generally toss a green bean or a slice of carrot to your pup raw.
There are many fruits that are not only nutrient-dense, but a delicious treat for your dog. Apples are an excellent source of fiber, hydration, and vitamins, and they can benefit your dog’s dental hygiene. Strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, cherries, and oranges in moderation are also okay for your dog to eat and contain vitamins and antioxidants that can support your dog’s health — careful to not go overboard though, as fruits still contain natural sugars.
Again, it’s important to avoid canned fruits as these typically contain high amounts of added sugar to flavor them.
Table Scraps To Avoid
While some table scraps can benefit your dog’s health and add nutritional value to their diet, there are others that can act as empty calories and can even be toxic to your furry friend.
Here are a few table scraps to avoid.
Toxic Foods for Dogs
While most every dog parent knows the danger of giving your dog chocolate, there are other toxic foods that aren’t as well known.
Grapes and raisins can be toxic to dogs and can lead to kidney failure. In addition, macadamia nuts are poisonous for dogs and can lead to nervous system damage. If you do feed your dog macadamia nuts by accident, you may notice vomiting, an increase in temperature, refusal to walk, and fatigue.
In addition, garlic, chives, and onions are severely toxic and can lead to anemia, increased heart rate, liver failure, and other severe side effects.
If you want to give your dog a new food but are unsure whether it will irritate their stomach, consider giving them a small amount and monitoring them closely over the next few days to see if they have a reaction. This will also help you identify any allergies your dog may have.
If your dog accidentally consumed any of the above and you notice lethargy or digestive distress, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Things To Know When Feeding your Dog Table Scraps
When feeding your dog table scraps, it’s important to be aware of a few things.
First, if you grab your leftovers and hand them to your pup right at the table, they may get into the habit of begging for more. While this isn’t necessarily harmful, it can be annoying to have to deal with. Instead, you can set aside some of the healthy leftovers from your meal and serve these in your dog’s bowl after you’ve finished your meal.
It’s also important to know when your dog has had enough. Even the healthiest dog food shouldn’t be over-consumed as this can lead to obesity. Stick to a minimal amount of table scraps and be careful that you don’t make it too routine. Their regular eating schedule should be their main food source, not your table scraps at dinner.
When To Move Away from Table Scraps
Your dog needs a range of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbs each day in order to thrive. While feeding your dog some table scraps is okay once in a while, it’s also important to establish a routine in their eating habits to ensure they’re getting enough of every nutrient they need.
Table scraps won’t satisfy all your dog’s nutritional needs. They need a routine way to get the nutrients they need to thrive. And that’s why we made Sundays for Dogs.
Sundays for Dogs includes all the nutrition that can come from healthy table scraps and then some, like lean protein, fruits, vegetables, USDA grade beef, whole foods, and quinoa, just to name a few of our choice ingredients. With minimal processing, no preservatives, and zero artificial ingredients or additives, Sundays for Dogs gives your loyal pal the human-grade food they need to grow and thrive as a member of your family.
So, are table scraps okay for your dog? Yes! Depending on which foods you want to give them, there are many acceptable and nutritious table scraps your dog can enjoy.
At the end of the day, however, giving them healthy table scraps won’t make up for a lack of nutritious dog food or harmful ingredients and additives you’ll find in many popular long-standing dog food brands.
That’s why we made Sundays for Dogs. With all-natural, fresh ingredients and minimal processing, our dog food retains all the goodness of ingredients you’d want to eat with the benefits of balancing your dog’s nutritional needs.
Shop the best dog food for your furry friend today!