Can Dogs Live Longer Eating Human Food?

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Introduction

When it comes to what you should feed your dog, there's plenty of debate. Lots of humans swear that feeding their dogs people food helps them stay healthy, keeps them alive longer, and gives their pups more energy. Others claim that there are tons of downfalls to feeding your pups people food. 

So, what's the right answer? In short, it depends. You should always talk with your dog-tor about the specific health needs your pup has and what diet they should stick to. Sometimes, vets will recommend specific dog foods, or sometimes people food, to help your dog get healthy or stay in shape. 

That being said, there's no evidence to support that your dog will live longer if you forgo the dry kibble and opt in for just human foods. 

Many vets claim that dog-specific food, the right kind of course, can keep your dog healthy, in good shape, at their ideal body weight. But can you feed your dog people food? Check out our article below to get some of the details on how eating people food can affect your dog.

Signs Your Dog Shouldn't Be Eating People Food

We know that feeding your dog a scrap or two here and there is pretty harmless (depending on what it is), but what about feeding your dog people food entirely? If this is something you want to do, you should obviously talk with your vet first. 

However, there are some signs you can look out for that might determine whether or not you should feed your dog people food. For example, if you feed your dog people food consistently and he gains weight, has breathing issues, has decreased liver function, has mobility issues, or is lazy or lethargic, there's probably a correlation between the two. 

Additionally, there are hazards that come with dogs eating people food - a lot of our food is toxic to dogs! For example, we know some of the common ones, like chocolate, but did you know grapes are highly toxic for dogs, too? When you feed your dog normal dog food, the risk of feeding him toxic, harmful food is decreased, whereas, there's always a risk he'll react negatively to people food. 

If your dog is showing signs of weakness, fatigue, or lethargy and is vomiting, having diarrhea, is showing significant weight gain or weight loss, it's likely that the people food you're feeding him isn't optimum

Body Language

Here are a few body language cues your dog might be giving you to let you know that your people-food-only diet might not be agreeing with his system:
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Cowering
  • Panting
  • Chewing
  • Scratching
  • Ears drop
  • Pacing
  • Weakness

Other Signs

But that's not all you should look out for. If you are feeding your dog primarily a human-food diet, you might want to check out for signs that it's not agreeing with his body. If your dog is displaying any of these signs, it's possible the people-food isn't the best choice for him:
  • Lethargy or Fatigue
  • Swelling
  • Non-Seasonal Itching
  • Chronic Skin Infections
  • Chronic Ear Infections
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Gassiness
  • Diarrhea

The History of Dog Food

You feed your dog pet food every day, but have you ever stopped to wonder how that came about? According to the Pet Food Institute, commercial dog food was developed around the industrial revolution, when people started having animals as companions and pets, rather than just for working and practical reasons. 

The first commercial pet food idea was sprouted from a businessman named James Spratt, who first introduced the pet food in England in about 1860. It started as wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot, and beef blood. Obviously, our understanding of animal nutrition and the science behind it has increased tremendously since then. 

In the mid-1980s, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council published nutritional information for dogs and cats, then updated those profiles in 2006, that reflected the evolving science of animal nutrition. Now, most US commercially-prepared pet food is formulated to create a complete and balanced diet for animals that provides your dog with all of the pet nutritional requirements at the right levels.

The Science Behind Dog Food

The reason that dog food was created was, well, for optimum dog health. Dogs need specific levels of vitamins and nutrients that are provided by wet or dry dog food. In fact, it's created to help keep your dog at a healthy weight, give him all the nutrients he needs, and to keep him happy and healthy so he can keep being a doggo without any issues. 

But what goes into dog food? There are hundreds of different kinds of dog food, many that are specific to certain conditions, diseases, and goals. In fact, dog foods are regulated by the FDA to contain specific ingredients that are required for dogs to have. 

Overall though, they're designed with a dog's specific nutrition and vitamin needs in mind. For example, dog foods typically contain large amounts of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, and more! 

If you're feeding your dog human food, especially in a raw form, it's possible he's missing out on some of the vital ingredients, nutrition, and vitamins he needs.

How to Train Your Dog to Eat What He Needs To

If you're trying to train your dog to get back on to doggo food instead of eating human food, you might face a few problems. It's possible that you've created a picky-eater in your pup since you began feeding him delicious human options. However, there are ways to train him back.

First, help your dog understand that his dog food is his only option. We certainly don't recommend starving your dog, but take a few of these steps to help him understand that mealtime is mealtime, no matter what you're feeding him. 

Set out his food for thirty minutes, and when that time is up, take it away. Do the same thing again when it's time for his next meal. Continue doing this until your pup eats. Your dog will definitely eat if he's hungry, so don't fret about him missing a meal or two. 

Additionally, if you plan to change your dog's food, we suggest doing it gradually. Don't stop the people food cold turkey, instead, gradually insert doggo food into his meal and gradually transition to just commercial dog food.Try mixing in a small amount of warm water at first with his dry food, too. This will make it easier for him to adjust to. 

How to React If Your Dog Isn't Doing Well With Human Food

  • Consult your vet immediately.
  • Avoid feeding your dog scraps.
  • Work with your guests, family, and friends to understand your dog's dietary needs.
  • Discuss at length with your vet which foods are appropriate or inappropriate for your dog.
  • Purchase dog food for your dog.
  • Work with your vet on a proper diet for your dog.

Tell Us About Your People-Food Lovin' Pooch!