Most of us dog owners have been tempted to give our dog leftovers at one time or another. We do it as a great act of love because we know how much they love our food. And how many times have we thought of them when at the restaurant we had half of our dish left over? But should we give leftovers to our dogs?
Although we are careful and check what we can and cannot give to our best friends, we often feed them some food that can be harmful to their health and create undesired behaviours in them. We will tell you all about it below!
Can I feed my dog with any leftover food?
We often feed our dogs with leftovers thinking that the food we have cooked or prepared is good for them. However, on many occasions, our food can cause digestive problems for our best friend. Some of our dishes can be too heavy for a dog and therefore cause vomiting, diarrhoea, irritation and flatulence.
In addition, some kinds of food may lead to gluten or lactose intolerances and some dogs may even develop pancreatitis due to over-consumption of fats.
Another reason why we should not regularly feed our dog leftovers is to avoid possible obesity. This does not only happen because of the calories contained in our food but also because we do not know or measure the correct portion that our dog should eat. On many occasions we make the mistake of giving them most of the leftovers, thus exceeding the recommended daily amount of food for our dog.
What are the other dangers of feeding our dogs with leftovers?
Having understood that it is very important not to feed our dog leftovers to avoid health problems, there is another equally important behaviour to avoid: getting our dogs used to eating food that is not their own.
If it is a habit for you to always feed them with leftovers, it will also be a routine for them to beg for food when you are eating. It is common knowledge that dogs are creatures of habit, so if it is already a tradition to give them your food or leftovers, it will automatically become a tradition for them to ask you for it. The ideal would be to avoid this by educating your dog to be somewhere else while you eat and not to give them leftovers as soon as you finish eating, but at their usual time and in their usual bowl.
Another problem faced by owners who have made this a regular practice is that the dog rejects their food. Who wouldn’t? Our food is tastier and more appetising, so if our dog eats it frequently, he will not want anything else.
What kind of leftovers should we never feed our dog?
It is important to check our food scraps to see whether they are harmful to our dogs or not.
Although it is common knowledge that coffee, chocolate and sugar are forbidden, there are other kinds of food that are often contained in our leftovers and that we should also avoid:
- Cooked bones or fish leftovers: they can splinter and cause wounds and choking.
- Dairy: can cause discomfort when ingested, especially in lactose-intolerant dogs.
- Onions and garlic: can be toxic and can damage the digestive system.
Nevertheless, there are leftovers that our dog can eat such as some fruits, cooked vegetables, pasta and rice without seasoning, red meat without salt and seasoning, and bread. It is advisable not to mix leftovers and your dog’s food, as the digestion times are different and this could create gastroenteritis.
As you can see, feeding your dog with leftovers on a regular basis is not a good idea. Besides causing illness or discomfort, it can lead to behaviours that cause stress or even make your friend never want to eat their food again. Our recommendation is to give your dog leftovers in a very timely manner, always checking what food you are feeding them and always in their usual bowl and at their usual time.