Begging for Leftovers

Nov 13, 2023

During the winter, it is more likely for farm dogs to sneak their way into our homes at night. After all, who can resist a pitiful pair of puppy dog eyes? If they are lucky, you will let them inside just after the sun sets, presenting them a golden opportunity for sniffing, scrounging, and begging under the kitchen table during your family’s dinnertime.
         Contrary to popular belief, not all human food is bad for dogs to eat. This notion, however, got started in the 1960s after major marketing efforts from dog food manufacturers who were having a hard time convincing consumers to replace giving their dogs real food with manufacturers’ new, processed kibble. After launching several campaigns to “Ban All Table Scraps” from dogs’ bowls, Americans have been hesitant to give their dogs “human food” ever since.
         In general, though, dogs experience the same health benefits as humans do when eating fresh food. But what table food is safe for dogs to eat, and which scraps should be disposed of in the trash? Keep reading this blog for helpful insights to keep your dog safe and healthy.
Foods your dog can eat
         Fresh food is easiest for your dog to digest, compared to processed foods. Meat, vegetables, and fruit, especially when left in their natural state or only lightly cooked, can be very beneficial to your dog’s health and lead to a shinier coat, better breath, and a trimmer waistline.
So, which foods, specifically, will give your dog the most nutritional value? To start, carrots and apples are an especially good source of vitamin A, and chewing on crunchy carrots can even help remove the plaque from your dog’s teeth and promote good dental health. Cooked, plain white rice or boiled chicken with no seasoning can be good remedies for a dog with an upset stomach, as it is easy to digest and helps bind stool.
Fish such as salmon, shrimp, and tuna are great sources of protein and are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids that help maintain a healthy immune system. Just remember, it is important to cook fish before feeding it to your pet as uncooked fish can contain harmful parasites. Unseasoned, cooked pork and turkey are also safe for dogs to eat, although it is recommended to remove some of the fat first as it can be hard for dogs to digest.
And lastly, blueberries, bananas, green beans, and even cucumbers can be used for an occasional treat as they contain healthy levels of vitamins and antioxidants.
Foods your dog should not eat
         Most pet owners are aware that their dog should not eat chocolate, but there are several other food categories to watch out for as well. Avoid feeding your dog anything that is fried or cooked with additives, as these foods can be hard for your dog to digest. Holiday dishes, especially, may pose a risk to your dog’s health as they are usually cooked with copious amounts of butter, oil, salt, and spices. Artificial sweeteners such as xylitol are some of the most dangerous ingredients for dogs to eat; unfortunately, this sugar alcohol has snuck its way into many packaged foods such as desserts, candies, and condiments.
         Cooked bones, especially chicken bones, are highly dangerous for your dog as they splinter into shards when chewed and can cause serious damage to your dog’s mouth, throat, and intestine. Other foods you should refrain from giving your dog include garlic and onion, which contain allium that can damage your dog’s red blood cells and cause them to burst in serious situations.
While most fruits are safe for dogs to eat, grapes and raisins are not allowed in your pet’s diet, although the exact toxin in this fruit family has not been pinpointed yet. Peaches should be avoided as well, as the peach pits are poisonous and can be a choking hazard. Avocados contain a toxin called persin, so unfortunately for your pup, they should not be indulging in a bowl of guacamole on your next taco night. And lastly, tomatoes that are not ripe, or any part of the plant itself, are also toxic and should be thrown away rather than placed in the food bowl.
Just remember, table scraps should be fed in moderation to keep your dog from gaining weight, and treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily food intake. The rest of your dog’s nutritional requirements should come from a balanced formula of dry dog food. Your local Co-op carries several high-quality brands of pet food to choose from, as well as other pet supplies to keep your animals happy and healthy. Find the nearest location here.
For more content like this, check out the latest issue of The Cooperator.

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