Posted at 08:47AM - Comments: (12)
I don't know why it always surprises me when someone refers proudly to their strict adherence to prohibiting their dog from getting any "people food."
I understand they are proud because they believe they are doing the right thing that they think "people food" is somehow bad for dogs and that they are keeping their dogs well (and well - behaved, even) by not "spoiling" them.
What I don't understand is how people have come to regard what I'm going to call * real food * could be bad for dogs.
Of course, there are a few foods that shouldn't be given to dogs, such as chocolate and macadamia nuts both contain substances that are toxic to dogs. The list of prohibited foods gets much longer if you include foods that no one in their right mind would actually FEED to a dog, such as avocado pits, raw bread dough, and gum containing xylitol. And then there are foods that shouldn't be given to dogs in large amounts, the absolute amount of which is dependent upon the dog's weight: onions, raisins, grapes, and fatty trimmings from meat.
But generally, these individual items are not what people are talking about when they say they don't give their dogs "people food." What they really mean is, leftovers. And there is no good reason at all to NEVER give your dog leftovers from healthy foods you eat yourself. Healthy food is healthy!
The converse is also true: foods that are unhealthy for you (such as fast food burgers and fries, pizza, mashed potatoes loaded with butter and sour cream and fatty gravy) are no healthier for your dog. Moderation in all things! An occasional treat of a reasonable portion of one of these foods is fine; it's not going to ruin your dog!
Common sense applies. I wouldn't recommend sharing from your plate in response to whining or begging behaviors unless you love those behaviors and never plan on eating with your dog in front of other people. Reduce the total amount of food that a dog receives on the same day that he receives a lot of table scraps so you don't make your dog fat. Don't replace the majority of your dog's "complete and balanced" diet with a nutritionally incomplete and wildly imbalanced diet. I mean, they could surely survive and even thrive on our scraps and dogs do survive and thrive on nothing but table scraps all over the world, and have for millennia! but for optimum health, you want to make sure they receive a full complement of the proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals that dogs need (human and canine requirements being different).
But do give your dog some "real food"! With the exceptions noted above, good food fresh, home - prepared, heavy on the vegetables and whole grains and lean meats is good for him, too.