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Pet House Rules: Should You Be Giving Dogs Table Food?

Pet parents love to spoil their pets by giving dogs table food as a way to express their love. We cannot count the number of times we hear pet parents proudly telling us, “Last night Fluffy ate pan-seared filet mignon with garlic and herbed butter.” We secretly think to ourselves that Fluffy is one lucky pet, but we also know they are not considering whether it is bad food for dogs.

There are some health issues that can result from giving dogs table food. Besides potentially feeding your pup foods dogs can’t eat, consistently serving your dog human food can have other unforeseen consequences. So, what are the problems that we see with feeding your dog food from the table, and what can we do to alleviate these problems?

 

Not Eating Their Own Food

Dogs are going to choose a filet mignon over kibble every day of the week. Once your pets get a taste of your food, they are going to prefer it more than their dog food. We commonly receive complaints from clients that their pets will not eat their dog food. The first thing we ask is, “Are you giving your pet people food?” Almost 100% of the time the response is “Yes.”  If your dog is refusing his food, the first step to getting him to eat more dog food is to stop giving them food from your table.

 

Obesity

Obesity is a growing concern. We are seeing more and more overweight pets. Just like us, obesity can lead to other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and more. When we feed our pets human food, it is hard to calculate how many additional calories are being added to their diets. Too often we hear from our clients that they are feeding their dogs the exact recommendations on the chart for their dog’s weight; however, they are not taking into account the extra calories their pet is getting from all the treats. When feeding your pet table food, you could be giving them a whole extra meal each day without even realizing it.

 

Toxicity

There are so many foods that are toxic to dogs. For instance, did you know that you should never feed your dog grapes, as they can cause kidney disease in pets? The following is a list of what not to feed dogs:

  • Alcohol
  • Onions, garlic, and chives
  • Citrus
  • Grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts
  • Milk and dairy
  • Salt and salty snack foods
  • Xylitol (a sugar alcohol used typically in sweeteners)
  • Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine
  • Raw/undercooked meat, eggs, and bones
  • Yeast dough

How Often Should You Feed a Dog?

Where does a dog parent start when figuring out how often to feed their dog? The short answer is, it depends. According to Dr. Jennifer Coates, doctor of veterinary medicine, there are a lot of factors that contribute to how much and how often you should feed a dog.

When deciding how much a dog should eat, Dr. Coates recommends that you refer to the feeding chart on your dog food’s label as a general guide. Typically, this chart will start at a weight of 5 pounds and go up to 100 pounds. For every 15-20 pounds, the suggested feeding amount goes up by about a half cup to 1 cup. It’s advised that you split this amount into feedings about 8-12 hours apart. (Note: The frequency could vary for certain dog breeds; puppies should be fed about three times per day).

Signs Your Dog Is Eating Too Fast

It is important to be aware of the signs to look for in your dog while eating as well as after they’ve eaten. Physical changes such as bloat in dogs, or if you see your dog vomiting or gagging, are some concerning signs. Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (also known as bloat) is when dogs inhale their food too fast, and in turn, their stomachs twist, which can be fatal. In this case, dogs need to visit the animal hospital immediately.

Anytime you notice your dog vomiting or you hear your dog gagging after eating, it is crucial to talk with your veterinarian, as constant reflux of food and stomach acids slowly break down the esophagus and throat.

If your dog seems to have an endless pit for a tummy, he could be infected with parasites, which commonly cause animals to suffer nutrient indigestion. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian to tackle any pet health issues.

Stop Fast Eating With Slow Feeder Bowls and Treat Dispensing Dog Toys

It is no secret; dogs love to eat. Whether they are puppies, young dogs, middle-aged or senior canines, many enjoy their food faster than they should be ingesting it. Oftentimes, fast eating can be harmful to a dog’s health. If your dog eats fast, there are proper ways to address the issue like slow feeding bowls & engaging brain feeding toys.

 

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1 comment
by Midge on April 27, 2018

I cook chicken, carrots, and green beans for our two chihuahuas. Is this not good for them? Also the youngest Chihuahua is extreme over weight at 19 lbs. she has no sense of being full. We do not over feed her and have tried to help her to lose weight. Any ideas?

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