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Why You Really Shouldn't Feed Your Dog Scraps



dog begging at tableOur dogs are our children. When they crave something, most of the time all they have to do is give us that sad, pouty look and we’re putty in their hands, er, paws. After all, they did invent the puppydog eyes, right? But while it may seem harmless to slip your pooch an extra few bites here and there from the table, there are a handful of reasons to avoid doing so entirely. Here’s why you really shouldn’t feed your dog straps.

The most basic reason behind the No Straps policy is as simple as nutrition. Dogs need healthy foods made specifically for their needs. If you’re having a hard time finding something, try searching G.J.W.Titmuss as it’s a simple resource for quality pet food. But for the rest of us, the simple fact is, table scraps (and those count as anything even when a table isn’t involved so don’t get technical) can and will have a negative effect on your dog’s overall health. No, not to the point that a few bites of steak or some a handful of potato chips will end your dog’s life prematurely, but it’s easy to accidentally slip into the habit of overfeeding your dog with, to a dog at least, is pure junk food.

Furthermore, a lot of what we eat is perfectly fine for us as humans but for dogs it can result in indigestion, diarrhea, or vomiting. Nothing is more uncomfortable when you’re sitting in the living room, minding your own business, when your dog comes in and throws up all over the carpet. Many dogs also have food allergies that aren’t really obvious, such as basset hounds having a very common allergic reaction to dairy, so there’s a high probability that what you’re feeding your dog could result in giving him itchy skin or a painful stomach ache.

Worse though is the behavior that gets encouraged. When a dog begs, giving in and tossing him some scraps only confirms to your dog that this will get him more food. What this results in is negative behaviors being reinforced through cause and effect, i.e. if your dog sits up while people are eating, he will be given food scraps. Do not do this, otherwise your cute doggie will insist on pestering you and any dinner guests whenever dinner happens to be served.

Furthermore, by the behavior getting encouraged, your dog begins to learn that what you’re eating is indeed very tasty, and also that you’re willing to part with it when persuaded enough. You really don’t want your dog to get a taste for human food since this will push them to seek it out more, even if you’re not there. Dogs will be dogs, but a dog that’s used to snacking on your food will just cut you out of the equation and decide that all food is just his food.

If this doesn’t bother you, and you’re confident that your dog still getting adequate nutrition and exercise despite the extra food, then also consider how guests feel when they’re trying to enjoy their meal at your house and a dog is sitting next to them, whining and pawing at them. Trying to tell your dog not to beg at that point is going to be useless since all they can think is, “Well, you give me food all the time, so why wouldn’t they?” This will usually result in you either having to go get them a special treat bone/chew, or being forced to put them in their crate.

Instead of getting into that situation, it’s better for everyone to train them from a very early age that begging at the table will not result in a reward, and that means ever and ever. Holding back is going to be difficult, but it is worth it to have an uninterrupted meal once in a while. Have some willpower, if not for you then for your pooch!


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