You adore your dog, and you hate to throw away food. And, you wonder what to do with those leftovers as there is some nice meat still on that bone. Is that the best pet food? And that macaroni-and-cheese dinner cannot really be used for another meal. Your dog is a special part of the family, and would love some of your human food. So, is there any problem with giving your dog the leftovers as diet dog food, rather than just throw them away?
You should not make it a habit of giving the “table scraps” as meals for your diet dog food. Treats, yes; every day meals, probably not. Dangerous table scraps like chocolate and bones must be carefully avoided, since they can cause health problems and even death in your pets. And, some scraps are too rich, and can result in digestive problems because they don’t agree with their stomachs. And, that would not be good for your homemade dog food approach, The best advice…don’t overdo it.
Now you might say that your dog just will not eat “diet” dog food. Well then, what does it eat? Anything it wants? Should you allow your dog to compare dog food to see which one they like? Maybe your dog has been successful in training YOU. And maybe it will pay the price later with physical problems due to that “victory.” After all, it is hard not to overeat when you have a dish full of all that great smelling and tasting people food. Now that’s quality dog food! Keep in mind that it is not up to your pet to choose what it wants or gets to eat – it is up to YOU – the owner.
There are some points to remember even if you are only feeding small amounts of table scraps as your diet dog food. First, scraps may or may not be high quality. For example, steak, chicken, roast beef and the like are quality leftovers, whereas heavily buttered rice or past should not be given very much at all. Without the butter would be OK. When considering more natural dog food, keep this in mind.
Table scraps shouldn’t really be given in large amounts every day. You will be giving your pet high amounts of fat and more calories than they need when you do that. Also, very serious intestinal disorders like pancreatitis could become a problem. That is not diet dog food. Dogs eating large amounts of table scraps have a very likely chance of gaining weight, which is not good for their long term health.
Certain foods should be avoided for sure. For example, leftover macaroni and cheese needs to be served carefully, making sure that the cheese is low fat. Many dogs do not tolerate high levels of lactose, and such levels can give them diarrhea.
As a part of your diet dog food, cooked bones from turkey, chicken, and steak are potentially dangerous because the bones can splinter and pierce or obstruct the digestive tract. How about that stew? Take the onions out of the leftover stew and then it will be OK. It may be a surprise, but dogs must avoid raw fish. This can give dogs a thiamine deficiency, leading to seizures and possible death. If that were the choice, much better to stick with plain old dry dog food.
The big picture is that your dog easily learns to beg its way to the table scraps and that would be their idea of some great diet dog food. But don’t be such a pushover that your pet is harmed in the process. You must always be aware of the potential danger of table scraps. Avoid making that the main ingredient in your dog’s diet, and you’ll both be better off in the long run using more traditional diet dog food.