Can You Feed Your Dog Table Scraps?

Lauren Corona
by Lauren Corona
Can’t finish your plate? Here’s what you should know before you give your dog table scraps.

If you’re the sort of person who ends up with a lot of unwanted leftovers or who simply wants to sneak their dog a bit off their plate, you might be wondering whether it’s okay to feed your dog table scraps. The answer is a bit more complex than a simple yes or no. It’s fine to feed your dog some table scraps, but you have to make sure that they don’t contain any foods that are dangerous to dogs. As well, table scraps shouldn’t make up the bulk of your dog’s diet, as they aren’t nutritionally balanced for a canine.

Everything in Moderation

It’s fine to feed your dog some (but not all) foods, as long as you do so in moderation. If you fed your dog only on leftovers, it’s likely that she’d eventually become obese (as humans tend to consume more calories and fat than dogs should), but give her a few table scraps every once in a while, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Related: Top 10 Foods That Are Bad For Dogs

Foods You Should Never Feed

Some foods are toxic or otherwise dangerous for dogs to consume. Obviously, you should avoid giving your dog anything that contains these ingredients. Things that your dog should never eat are: chocolate, coffee, macadamia nuts, avocados, onions, alcohol, grapes, raisins, cooked bones, and xylitol (a low-calorie sweetener)

Related: What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?

Foods That Should Be Limited

There are certain foods that are fine for dogs in limited quantities, but shouldn’t be fed to excess. Sodium is an important mineral for dogs, but consuming an excessive amount of salt can lead to electrolyte imbalances. Garlic has a range of health benefits for dogs, but too much can be harmful to canines – that said, unless you’ve been attempting to ward off the cast of Twilight, it’s unlikely that most table scraps will contain a dangerous amount of garlic. Sugar isn’t especially good for dogs and excess consumption can contribute to obesity, diabetes and dental issues. Foods with a little added sugar are fine, but feeding your dog a whole cupcake or a slice of pie isn’t. Excess fat is another big no-no. It’s okay to give your dog a small amount of something high in fat, but don’t make it a regular occurrence. Dairy products should also be limited. Some dogs seem to handle them fine, but they can cause gastric distress in some canines, and nobody enjoys cleaning up their dog’s diarrhea.

Healthy Foods For Your Dog

Other than onions, grapes, raisins and avocados, most fruits and vegetables are healthy for your dog. Nutritional benefits vary depending on the food, but they tend to be packed full of vitamins and minerals. Nuts and seeds are also good for your pooch, as they’re high in protein and healthy fats, just make sure they’re in appropriately sized pieces, so they won’t cause a choking hazard. Whole grain and cereal products, such as barley, oats, whole wheat pasta or couscous, quinoa and spelt are good sources of carbohydrate for your dog. Lean meats and fish can also be healthy for your four-legged friend. However, even when feeding healthy table scraps, it’s recommended that they don’t make up more than one-third of your dog’s diet.

Lauren Corona
Lauren Corona

Lauren Corona is a freelance writer from merry old England. She specializes in writing about dogs and other critters. Lauren lives near Oxford, with her gorgeous Doberman, Nola. When she's not tapping away at the keyboard, you'll find her walking in the woods with Nola-dog, raising money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, cooking vegan food, making zines and writing about herself in the third person.

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