Healthy Leftovers Your Dog Will Love
Feeding table scraps to your dog is okay. There are a lot of new dog food brands being marketed since the commercial diets with tainted ingredients from unregulated manufacturers outside of North America started killing pets. Some of these new dog foods are high-quality, and you may even prefer these brands. The most amazing part of the new dog food kibble diets, however, is that they all claim to be “human-quality food,” and yet, they all cost more per pound than human-quality food!
If you think those "holistic" dog food prices seem too high, there are a couple of alternatives to buying these expensive kibble brands:
- Make up your own diet with high-quality raw ingredients. This may or may not be any cheaper, depending on where you find the ingredients for the dog´s food. It is better for your dog.
- Make up a raw dog food with much cheaper ingredients. Even if you buy only human quality ingredients, this is going to cost considerably less than the food out there on the market.
- Make up a homemade diet and cook it at home.
- Feed your dog whatever you are eating. Your dog's GI tract may not appreciate this alternative. It might cost you both in visits to the emergency vet and in late nights cleaning the carpet.
- Get the store-bought stuff that is mainly cheap carbohydrates like corn, and might contain cheap ingredients that are laced with toxins. It is AAFCO approved, right?
Which Leftovers Can I Feed My Dog?
If you decide to feed your leftovers, are there healthy foods that you can give him? Sure there are, and here is a list:
- Scrambled or boiled eggs. Omlettes are more likely to have onions, but if you have plain eggs, they make a great treat to the dog and are one of the foods most likely to improve the quality of his coat and decrease shedding. I would share my eggs-over-easy with my dogs too but there are never any left over.
- Chicken giblets. The liver, gizzard, and heart that are included with a whole chicken can supply extra vitamins to your dog and are best given raw. These do have more fat than meat like the breast, so if your dog is overweight, giving giblets is not be a good idea.
- Plain yogurt. Yogurt is useful for replenishing the bacterial flora of the GI tract and if you use it and have any leftover your dog will benefit too.
- Cottage cheese. Although this does not have the same bacterial culture as yogurt, it does contain high-quality protein and some calcium. Dogs love it.
- Carrot sticks. Your dog might not care too much for some veggie leftovers but they provide extra antioxidants and some important vitamins. My dog will usually take a piece of raw corn on the cob but would no more be seen with a carrot stick than with a border collie.
- Fish. Your dog can benefit from the high-quality protein and extra fatty acids supplied by fish but this is one of those "all things in moderation" foods. If you give your dog a piece of salmon or tuna cooked in butter or oil it may upset her stomach or cause some other GI problems. Give fish only in moderation.
- Peanut butter sandwiches. If you are the kind of person that cuts the edges off your sandwich, you do not need to throw them away. Peanut butter is a great source of vegetable protein and your dog will enjoy them. Be sure to read the label on the peanut butter to make sure it is not made with xylitol or any other artificial sweetener that may hurt your dog.
The main point to remember is that a little bit of the right types of leftovers won't harm your dog. If you have any questions about the contents of the food or about the danger to your dog throw the leftovers in the trash.
You can feed your dog pasta (without the sauce) and lean beef trimmings, but they do not have the health benefits of the other foods, so do not overdo it!
Which Table Scraps Are Bad for My Dog?
If you just follow that list above, you are never going to give your dog anything that might hurt her. There are a few table scraps that are dangerous though so I added this list of things you need to avoid:
- Anything with a lot of onions: You may have forgotten about the onions by the time it is time to feed your dog. Feeding onions can cause severe anemia.
- Anything with artificial sweeteners like xylitol: There are a lot of recipes out there that use artificial sweeteners in place of sugar. A small amount of xylitol is enough to kill your dog. Some others may cause problems but have not been tested.
- Dishes containing alcohol: Most dishes have very little alcohol added but it is better to avoid them.
- Anything with grapes and raisins: If you are making a salad with apples and carrots, your dog will probably like it. If you have thrown raisins on top, avoid it.
- Leftover chocolate cake, chocolate pie, and even chocolate chip cookies can be toxic. All toxins are only poisonous if given in excess, but you are best off to just avoid them.
Why Have I Been Told to Never Feed My Dog Leftovers?
There is an advantage to feeding your dog whatever leftovers you have on the table: it is convenient! Imagine how easy it would be to just take a few leftovers and dump them in his bowl.
None of the safe items on my list are going to hurt your dog, but if you do make a habit of feeding all types of table scraps, there are several possible disadvantages, so you need to be ready to deal with them:
- His GI tract may be upset from frequent diet changes, leading to diarrhea and vomiting. Some dogs have a "cast iron stomach" and have no problem with frequent changes.
- Not just any leftovers can be given. Some things that you may eat are toxic to your dog.
- If your dog is not able to handle the rich leftovers, he may also have problems with conditions like pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas aggravated by high-fat meals.
- Leftovers may be higher in fats than a home cooked diet and can lead to obesity. This is why you need to feed him in moderation.
Those old-time dog owners out there argue “But when I was a kid dogs just got leftovers, and they were fine.” Okay. The ole timer probably did not worry if the dog was having the squirts since it was in the back yard and not in the family´s living room. The ole timer was also not as concerned about feeding a dog toxic foods like onions. Dogs died young back then from diseases like distemper. Maybe the old timer didn’t even notice if Brownie passed on a little younger than the average of seven years.
Will My Dog Need Supplements?
Some supplements, given in adequate amounts, will improve your dog´s health. Commercial dog foods that are labeled with "extra fish oil" or "extra glucosamine" do not have enough to meet your dog's needs. If you can afford to give them, no matter what kind of diet your dog is on, he should also be getting:
- Fish oil: beneficial effects to the coat, GI tract, the immune system. Research has shown that the fish oil derived from cold water fish (like Alaskan salmon) contain more of the omega 3 acids that are beneficial to your dog.
- Yogurt (live): restores the normal intestinal flora and controls loose stools. This is very helpful if a dog has been on antibiotics or has had diarrhea for any reason.
- Milk: treats constipation in lactose intolerant dogs. A teaspoon of powdered milk sprinkled over your dog´s scraps will not cause loose stools in most dogs and can be used to add protein and calcium to the diet.
- Brewers yeast: Vitamin B supplement that can help control fleas and aid in the functioning of the nervous system.
- Egg shells: A dog needs calcium every day and crushed egg shells are an easy and bioavailable method to supply her needs.
- Apple Cider Vinegar-numerous potential benefits. The organic ACV that contains the "mother" is more likely to help your dog. It should be added to your dog´s water every day.
Do you feed your dog leftovers?
What Foods Might Kill Your Dog?
- What Seven Foods Are Really Toxic For Dogs
It is safe for your dog to eat fat and raw eggs, despite what you have heard. Find out what is safe and what else has really been proven to be poison.