The Doggy Dangers of Tea-time Table Titbits

Your dog's unblinking brown eyes stare up at you, following the fork as it travels from plate to your mouth. Such devotion deserves a reward and slipping a piece of sausage their way seems the natural thing to do. 

Stop! 

Feeding a dog from the table encourages bad habits and is dangerous for your four-legger's health. Many human foods are toxic to dogs, contain uncounted calories, and represent unforeseen health consequences, so it's a bad idea to give into those pleading brown eyes. 

You may think the skin from fried chicken is a tasty treat for your best buddy, but what you're doing is loading your pooch up with fat. Those extra calories build up around your dog's waist just like it does in us, and predisposes them to conditions such as diabetes or early arthritis. But more immediately, the saturated fats could trigger a painful episode of pancreatitis, nasty for both your furry companion and your pocketbook if veterinary care is needed.

If you still need convincing, here are just some of the reasons feeding table titbits to a dog is a bad idea.

Toxic Treats

Humans and dogs are different in so many ways--it's the fur and four legs that's the giveaway. This includes how a dog digests and processes food. In short, many foods that are fine and dandy for people are potential killers in your dog's mouth. 

This includes common foodstuffs such as onions and garlic (which can cause anemia due to the rupture of red blood cells), along with human 'healthy' options such as grapes and dried fruit (which cause renal failure in dogs). 

The list of foods dogs shouldn't eat is a long one and includes: 

  • Caffeine (for example in tea, coffee, teabags, or cocoa beans)

  • Chocolate (the theobromine in chocolate is a stimulant which can cause seizures and death)

  • Allium species such as onions and garlic (beware of gravy!)

  • Grapes and raisins (cause kidney failure)

  • Blue cheese (contains roquefortine C which can causes seizures in dogs)

  • Anything containing artificial sweeteners (specifically xylitol, which causes plummeting blood sugar levels)

However, this is not a full list of dangerous foods, which goes to show that caution is the best option. Instead of taking a risk by feeding table scraps, cut them out altogether.

Bad Behavior

Indulge your dog at the table and you risk them assuming this is acceptable behavior. Then, when you have a dinner party, your dog thinks it's fair game to nag all the guests for food. Not all of your guests will appreciate this and will feel uncomfortable. Worse still, some may encourage your dog by feeding them scraps. However, they may not be clued in as to what's harmful and what's safe, and there's a real possibility of accidental poisoning. 

In addition, a dog that begs may get carried away when children visit. They may see an opportunity to snatch food out of a small hand, which could result in them being unfairly labeled as aggressive or unsafe around kids.

Food 'Fails'

We all know snacking between meals is bad for us. So why feed your dog from the table? It piles on extra pounds, which then impacts health. Those titbits represent extra calories and unbalance the diet.

Fatty foods aren't suitable for dogs. The bacon, sausage, or chicken skin are tasty but can do harm. The high-fat content can trigger some dogs to suffer an agonizing episode of pancreatitis. This painful condition often needs the dog to be hospitalized for intravenous fluids and pain relief, which makes it a very expensive sausage sandwich. 

Bones are another no-no. Cooked bones from the Sunday roast are liable to splinter when chewed and become the equivalent of glass shards traveling down your dog's gut. Bowel blockages are also a risk, needing surgery or enemas to relieve the obstruction.

Say 'No' to Table Feeding

Simply ignore your dog at the table, until they get the message and go away. If you can't trust yourself not to give in, then put your dog in a different room while you eat. A few whimpers and cries are a small price to pay for protecting their health, and they'll soon get used to the new regimen. Know that not feeding from the table helps protect the health of your dog, which has to be something worth sitting down to celebrate (with a cake or two!).

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