How many times have you given your dog a taste of the same foods you eat? Do you give your dog a special plate on holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas? Have you ever wondered if there are any benefits to feeding your dog the same foods you eat? To start with, get rid of the notion of people food vs. dog food.
There was a time when people fed their dog on table scraps and the same foods they ate without thinking about it. Thanks to the advent of "dog food" and the heavy advertising campaigns mounted by the pet food industry, most people today seem to be afraid to feed their dogs anything but commercially available dog food. The problem with these foods is that, for the most part, they only provide your dog with the barest minimum of the nutrition your dog needs.
Your dog needs foods that are going to fully meet his nutrition and dietary needs. To put it in simple terms, commercially available dog foods may be sold as being "nutritionally complete", but feeding him these foods is like you eating one of those "meal replacement shakes" for three meals a day and nothing else. It is estimated that 96 percent of pet owners feed their dogs on a strict diet of dry dog food and virtually nothing else.
For decades, we as pet owners have been led to believe that feeding our dogs table scraps is bad, but the big question is, when did this horrible rumor start? A quick look back in time shows us that when manufacturers first started making processed dog foods, no one seemed to be interested in buying them. In 1964, the pet food industry invested an incredible amount of money in an aggressive advertising campaign aimed at convincing pet owners to "Ban All Table Scraps from Your Pet Bowls."
This campaign hit literally thousands of magazines, newspapers, radio stations, and television stations. Within a few years, they successfully convinced the public that it was not only bad for your dog to feed him table scraps, but that they could be harmful to him. Today, over 50 years later, we have become very afraid of feeding our dogs anything that is not labeled as dog food.
In 2005, Purdue University completed a study using Scottish Terriers in which they added fresh veggies to their dog food. What they found was that adding fresh vegetables to the dog's diet help to reduce or eliminate the development of something called transitional cell carcinoma, better known as bladder cancer.
Dogs are omnivores, meaning that their digestive system is similar to humans in that it can digest a wide range of foods. However, you need to watch the amount of fat included in their diets as it can cause an upset stomach. The same applies to cooked bones, as they can lead to choking and possible punctures of the stomach and intestines.
The bottom line when it comes to feeding your dog "people food", is that you should never feed your dog anything you wouldn't eat. This doesn't mean you can't feed him the leftovers on your plate, it just means those foods you would normally throw away as being inedible. There are also a number of human foods you should never feed your dog as they can be harmful such as onions, ice cream, certain nuts, and of course, chocolate. And, excessive starches, fats, and sodium can be harmful in the long run.
So, the next time your dog looks at you with those soulful eyes at dinner time, go ahead and fix him a dinner plate, he is sure to enjoy it. Just be sure the foods you are sharing are just as good for him as they are for you.