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Are Table Scraps Safe For Your Dog? A Vet Answers

We all like to indulge our fur kids when it’s meal time. Who can say no to the species that has begging down pat? But should we resist those large eye and sad puppy dog looks for the sake of their own well-being?

Dr. Denise Petryk, DVM, Trupanion’s Director of Veterinary Services answered our questions on the subject of table scraps and just how dangerous they are.

1. What scraps should you avoid (other than the obvious poisonous ones) because of fat, sugar, etc.?

Talk to your vet about your pet’s specific needs and stick to foods that you know are safe. In addition to high amounts of fat and sugar, you should also avoid salty foods. Too much salt can cause excessive thirst, urination, and in some cases, sodium ion poisoning.

2. How much sugar or fat is too much?

Like people, the less sugar and fat, the better. It is usually okay to share the pet friendly foods like green beans and carrots, but not when they are smothered in bacon fat, butter, or brown sugar.

The amount of fat also depends on the activity level and breed of your pet. Talk to your veterinarian about the ideal amount of fat to have in your pet’s diet.

3. What health problems do you see associated with too many scraps?

Weight issues are the biggest concern, especially with a large amount of scraps.

Every pet is different, and pet owners should consult their veterinarian when changing their pet’s diet. For some pets, a tiny amount of any food will not cause them harm. For other pets, a tiny amount of any food will cause tremendous health problems, including gastroenteritis, itching, pancreatitis, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight gain.

Giving your pup a carrot to chew while you eat, makes them feel special and is good for them. Freeze it for an even better treat!
Giving your pup a carrot to chew while you eat, makes them feel special and is good for them. Freeze it for an even better treat!

4. Are there any table scraps that are okay to give dogs? If so which foods? How much? How often?

Many veterinarians recommend that pet owners do not share table scraps with their pets. However, if you do plan to share table scraps with your dogs, the following foods are pet-friendly and low in fat and sugar.

  •  Carrots
  • Watermelon
  • Peanut Butter
  • Yogurt
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Pumpkin

They key is moderation. Talk to your veterinarian about how often you should share food with your dog. In general, to maintain your pet’s healthy weight, keep table scraps to a minimum.

The Trupanion blog has several great resources about foods safe for pets and foods you can share with your dog.

 5. If you do give your dog scraps, should you reduce their dog food amount?

Try to keep table scraps to a minimum, or incorporate the “sharing foods” into your pet’s meal time. Talk to your veterinarian about the best portions for your pet.

The main thing is to keep your dog’s health in mind any time you want to spoil him. If the fatty food you are eating would not be good for her, grab her piece of apple or a carrot; she will get to satisfaction of getting a treat from you, without potential vet bills.

Here’s to a long and healthy life!


About the Author

Based in Tustin, Calif., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.

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Written by Kristina Lotz
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