Healthier Snacks Mean a Healthier Dog

Tempting as it might be, feeding your dog table scraps can be a bad idea for more reasons than one. Most veterinarians will inform their pet owners that table scraps might be acceptable for humans, but they simply are not acceptable for dogs. A dog’s dietary and nutritional needs are different than those of humans.

Table scraps are prone to include a greater number of calories than doggie treats and can lead to an increase in weight. Plus, they are less nutritional, offering fewer essential vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for your dog’s health. An overweight dog is more prone to develop problems with joints, especially if his breed tends to develop such problems.

Today, even people eat less healthily than they should. In fact, years ago, proper nutrition was easier to maintain at the dinner table, simply because people prepared healthier meals, often from scratch. Today’s temptations of quick meals, fast food, and high calorie dishes are more readily available than ever before. It is difficult even for humans to resist the urge to pop a few hundred empty calories into their mouths. So, it shouldn’t be any wonder that dog owners all too readily give their dogs a few table scraps here and there.

Obesity and Health Problems Resulting From Too Many Table Scraps

Nutrition is of paramount importance in order to provide your dog with the energy he needs to get through his day. An overindulgence of table scraps can lead to obesity and obesity in dogs can lead to diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Treats should be healthier than table scraps in order to promote your pet’s good health.

Don't let your dog become a junk food junkie!

Pet owners might not even realize how much they are contributing to a weight problem for their dogs. After all, one French fry here and half a cheeseburger there isn’t very much to nibble on. But, table scraps are typically laden with a lot of calories that do very little more than add extra pounds to your already pleasantly plump pooch.

Therefore, you should resist the urge to give your dog table scraps since the empty calories aren’t going to be doing him any good. When your dog is lurking under the table, patiently waiting for those random crumbs to come his way, resist the urge to oblige. Too many calories and not enough nutrition is what he is going to get with that sly move of the hand from your plate to his mouth.

Bad Manners and Bad Habits

Feeding your dog table scraps encourages poor manners whenever anyone is eating. If you feed your dog table scraps once he will learn to beg for more. Plus, on top of all of the wasted calories, your pet might just be too full to get the benefit of a nutrition-packed bowl of his regular food.

You wouldn’t think of giving an infant table scraps, so why would you consider giving your dog table scraps? Dogs become part of the family, integrating themselves as one of the human pack so that it almost seems natural to feed them from the table. However, if they are eating more table scraps than properly designed dog food and dog treats, the dogs are not going to be as healthy and happy as they could be.

Other Health Issues

It isn’t just about the empty calories and the lack of nutrition either when it comes to feeding your dog table scraps. Certain types of table scraps can be dangerous for your pet to eat. For example, cooked bones can splinter, causing problems with choking or with digestion such as tearing up your dog’s intestinal tract. Due to their hollow structure, cooked chicken bones are particularly known for being a choking hazard. Chunks of raw fruit and vegetables can become lodged in your pet’s throat causing him to choke and die due to lack of oxygen. Speculation exists as to the dangers and toxicity of grapes and raisins for dogs. Some vegetables such as onions are even thought to create medical problems.

The Road to Redemption With Healthy Snacks

If you have already started down the path of table treat supplementation, break the habit by placing your dog in another room entirely while the family is enjoying dinner. Reintroduce him to the room if you want once everyone in the family realizes that table scraps are not for the dog. If he attempts to beg for food when you do allow him to sit with you during dinner, remove him immediately so that he understands the new rules.

Giving your dog healthy treats is going to be a win-win situation for both of you. Your dog will get treats that are more nutritious with healthy lifelong benefits. You will get a healthy, happier pet. Healthy snacks will help to maintain your dog’s biological routines, provide a greater number of vitamins, and promote your pet’s good health in many aspects of his life.

Providing healthy treats to your dog is a simple process once you make up your mind that your dog needs healthier snacks than table scraps. Whenever you purchase a pet treat in the store, take the time to look at the list of ingredients as well as the breakdown of calories. Try to select treats that offer the most nutrition and the least amount of fat.

Healthy dog treats contain the proper nutrition since they are designed specifically for dogs. They should be easy to digest as well. Healthy dog treats are low in calories since they contain less fat than table scraps in general.

Although dogs are carnivores by nature, many of the vitamins and nutrients that they need to maintain their health can be found in vegetables. Therefore, buying dog treats that include vegetables in the ingredients is a wise idea. Typically, the two largest percentages of the ingredients will be meats and vegetables. Grains should come in as the third largest percentage of ingredients, or not at all. Grains that most dogs find easily digestible include rice, barley, rolled oats, millet, and quinoa.

The Best of Both Worlds

Table scraps are usually higher in calories as well as fat content, while lacking in nutritional value. It’s better to give your dog healthy snacks rather than table scraps if you want a dog with perky ears and a wagging tail. However, giving your dog table scraps in moderation can be acceptable as long as you are careful about what you give him.

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