Pet eating table scraps.

One of the most meaningful ways that people connect with others is through food. We break bread, dine together, and share in wonders of taste and tradition. Pets know our rituals well, and are rarely unmoved by the sights and smells of savory meats, glistening gravies, and crusty dinner rolls. Their cuteness and persistence turn even the stingiest pet owners into big pushovers. Giving a pet table scraps might feel generous and fun at the time, but can actually have some terrible consequences.

By and Large

Generally speaking, it’s just not a good idea to feed your pet table scraps. Not only does this practice reinforce begging, but they could end up eating toxic foods. If you break the “no table scraps” rule one time, they could interpret that all table foods are free game to them. This can lead to a very unsafe pattern that compromises their health and wellness.

Dangerous Table Food

Feeding your pet table scraps may convey love and devotion, but you have to be extra safe when deciding what to share. Please do not offer or allow your pet to eat the following foods from the table:

  • Foods with a high fat or salt content. The risk of pancreatitis is very real. They could also end up suffering painful, dehydrating bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Packaged foods typically contain too much sugar for pets to properly metabolize. Even if an item isn’t for dessert, giving your pet table scraps from a package may have serious health consequences. 
  • Xylitol, a sugar alternative, is poisonous and can be found in various baked goods and candy.
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions or garlic
  • Chives or leeks
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol

We know the look that pets give their owners when begging for food. It’s hard to resist their powers of persuasion, but before you give into their pleading, consider the whole foods that support their health.

Vegetables can be uber-tasty to pets when lightly steamed. Carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes paired with fully-cooked, bite-sized white meat satisfies most cravings. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids and tastes great, too (be sure to remove all bones). For a lighter taste, a few bites of pear, apple, or berries go a long way toward satiating a pet’s hunger and curiosity.

Positive Reinforcement

If you are committed to not feeding your pet table scraps, ignore your pet’s bad behavior and only reward the things you want to see more of. For example, if your pet begs for table scraps, ignore their attempts to capture your attention. When they give up and lay down, offer them a tasty treat (preferably from the healthy list above). Over time and repetition, they will understand that begging gets them nowhere, reducing their exposure to something unhealthy or positively toxic.

Say No to Pet Table Scraps

If you are ever in doubt regarding whether or not something could hurt your pet, always err on the side of caution. Give them lots of attention and affection or distract them with some play, exercise, or snuggle time. Try to feed your pet either right before you sit down to dinner, or as you enjoy a meal together. If their tummy is full, they may be less likely to look for trouble by way of table scraps. 

If we can assist you further with your pet’s diet or behavioral health, please give us a call at (207) 729-4678. Our veterinarians and staff members are always here for you at Androscoggin Animal Hospital