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Pets are family members. Hence, it’s not unusual that we might want to give them a bite from our plate now and then, especially when those big eyes are watching us eat. But should we really do that? There are many opinions and myths surrounding the question of whether table scraps are suitable for pets. Let’s debunk some of these myths and find out what should truly be included in your pet’s menu. 

Myth 1: Table scraps are generally bad for pets 

The assumption that all table scraps are generally bad for pets is an oversimplification. There are distinctions to be made. First, it largely depends on the type of food. For instance, a piece of grilled chicken without skin and bone might be a healthy treat for a dog, provided it’s not overly seasoned and doesn’t contain bone fragments. 

On the other hand, there are foods that humans often consume that are toxic for some pets. Spices like garlic and onions, which are used in many dishes, can be harmful to dogs and cats, leading to severe health issues. Hence, it’s essential not just to look at the main ingredients of the food, but also the additives and spices. 

In addition to the type of food, the amount also plays a crucial role. Even if a food item is deemed safe for a pet, an excessive quantity can lead to digestive issues or a nutrient imbalance. It’s wise to give table scraps in moderation and always be vigilant to ensure what we offer our beloved animals is indeed good for them. 

Pug wants to eat
Image: Albany Capture – unsplash.com

Myth 2: Pets can eat everything humans eat 

In reality, there’s a considerable number of foods that we humans consume regularly and safely but can be harmful to our pets. It’s essential to be aware of these differences, especially when one is inclined to give their pet something from their plate. 

  • Chocolate: Especially dangerous for dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that’s difficult for dogs to metabolize. Even in small amounts, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, and in severe cases, even seizures or death. 
  • Grapes and raisins: The exact toxic substance in these fruits for dogs hasn’t been identified yet. But even small amounts can cause acute kidney failure. 
  • Garlic and onions: Both belong to the Allium family and can lead to anemia in dogs and cats when consumed in large quantities or over an extended period. Symptoms may include weakness, vomiting, breathlessness, and lethargy. 
  • Avocado: Contains persin, a substance toxic to birds, hamsters, and some larger animals. In dogs and cats, it typically causes diarrhea and vomiting, especially if the pit is ingested. 
  • Macadamia nuts: Just a few nuts can cause vomiting, fever, and muscle weakness in dogs. 

This list is just a glimpse of foods that can be problematic for pets. It underscores the need to be cautious and informed about potential hazards for our four-legged friends before offering them food not specifically intended for them. When in doubt, it’s always advisable to consult a veterinarian. 

Myth 3: A little bit of this or that won’t hurt

Even small amounts of certain foods can be toxic to pets. Additionally, regular table scraps can lead to weight issues and poor nutrient intake if they replace regular pet food

Myth 4: It’s a good way to reduce food waste 

Although it seems sustainable to feed leftovers to pets, their health should always be the top priority. Many food scraps are not suitable for pets and can cause health problems. 

Under the Diet” section, we have compiled an extensive collection of advice and tips on healthy pet feeding. Whether you’re looking for specific information about certain foods or general guidelines on proper feeding for your pet – you’ll find well-founded and thoroughly researched information with us. 

Food waste
Image: Sarah Chai – pexels.com

Myth 5: Bones are good for dogs 

This widespread belief comes from the idea that the wild ancestors of our current domestic dogs ate bones when they hunted prey. While it’s true that many dogs instinctively like bones, it’s not always safe to give them bones – especially those from animals prepared in the kitchen. 

Cooked bones, as often found in kitchen waste, can easily splinter and produce sharp fragments that can injure a dog’s insides if swallowed. 

Even raw bones carry risks. They can contain bacteria like salmonella or lead to tooth fractures if the dog chews too hard. Larger bones can also cause blockages if the dog tries to swallow bigger pieces. 

It’s essential to always be cautious and consult a veterinarian if in doubt. There are specially made chews and “bones” that are safer for dogs while still satisfying their chewing instinct. 

Dog chews bones
Image: Alisa Savickaja – pexels.com

Should table scraps be on the pet menu? 

The answer isn’t so straightforward. An occasional treat that is safe for the animal might be okay, as long as it doesn’t replace their regular diet. However, it’s crucial to ensure that whatever you give is safe. It’s best to consult with a veterinarian or nutrition-conscious sources regarding this. 

It’s also important to draw a clear line between what’s considered a treat and their daily food. Table scraps should never be the primary food source for a pet as they often don’t contain the needed nutrients in the right balance. 

Conclusion

Even though it’s tempting to give your pet a treat from the table, it’s essential to stick to the facts and avoid myths. With research and a mindful approach, you can ensure your pet remains healthy, and you can occasionally share without feeling guilty 

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