All pets love table scraps. Plus, they make great vacuum cleaners when you are cooking. Plus, when they beg they look so darn cute. Those big eyes, fur framing their sweet little faces; they are practically impossible to resist.
But, there are some very good reasons to shield yourself from their charms. From bad behavior to (worst case scenario) death, feeding your pet table food can have undesirable consequences.
Begging may seem cute when it is just you and the pooch on the couch, but when guests come you are sure to be embarrassed. Pets who are accustomed to eating from people’s plates will not put on their manners for company.
In addition, you may find that your pet becomes more daring in their attempts to get at “people” food. No one wants to find a pie knocked off of the counter or a pantry demolished by a pet after a snack and the last thing you want is to create a monster that you cannot control.
Though we think about training as being active, it can also be passive. That is to say allowing your dog to eat from the table is teaching them that it is OK. The longer this goes on, the harder the habit will be to break. This is not any different from training a child.
2. Weight gain
Pets who eat food from the table will likely take in too much fat and salt. They will be prone to weight gain which will cause a wide array of issues like:
Decreased life expectancy
Keeping your dog’s weight under control is the responsible thing to do as a pet owner. You are NOT being mean by denying your fur baby a bite of your burger. You would actually be doing them a disservice.
3. Toxic foods
There are a number of foods and ingredients consumed by humans that can be toxic for animals. Those include everyday foods like chocolate, milk, onions and garlic. Even foods cooked with onions can have very bad effects for pets.
Other foods that are dangerous include:
Apricots with pits
Peaches with pits
Apples with seeds
4. Refusal to eat pet food
Many pets who eat too much table food will become beggars but they will also possibly become dependent on the table food. They may refuse to eat their own food.
Good quality pet foods are well-balanced to nourish animals. For example, cats are obligate carnivores and need high levels of taurine and arginine. They are also mostly lactose-intolerant. Cat food makers take these things into consideration. “People” food simply won’t provide the appropriate vitamins and nutrients.
5. Stomach problems
Pets with an addiction to table food can get very sick and even die from being overweight or poisoned. But, tummy trouble can be a less extreme (albeit, bothersome) problem.
The fats, oils and other ingredients in most table food can cause serious stomach upset for pets. If they are fed foods that are not suitable for their digestive tracts, they will likely suffer from vomiting, diarrhea or other issues. This can lead to dehydration, as well.
All in all, feeding pets table food may seem “nice” at the time but is really not very responsible. Though it is hard not to consider them a part of the family, treating pets like people will only make them sick. Just as parents must help their children stay safe, responsible pet owners have to do what’s right by their animals – even if the animal does not see it that way.