Sunday, June 28, 2009

Paws Down and Paws Up

One of my pet peeves is the nonsense about never feeding table scraps to pets:

Giving your pet table scraps isn't recommended for a couple of reasons. Pets like people food better than dog or cat food (who wouldn’t?), but human food is made for a humans dietary needs.

First the admission that no pet in his right mind wouldn't enjoy eating real food that humans eat more than a processed pet food product. Followed by the stunning conclusion that human food is made for humans. To my mind, food is food. Granted there are some foods consumed by certain species which would be inappropriate for other species (I'm thinking grasses for example). But regarding humans and their domesticated pets, food is food. If you watch TV pet food commercials or look at the packaging on some pet food products, you'll notice the images featured are those of beef, carrots, oats, etc. In other words, "human" food. And if you read the ingredient list on a pet food product, you'll find a list of "human" foods.

Furthermore, "human food" is not "made" - unless you are referring to highly processed foods. Beef that humans eat is simply cuts of meat from cows. Carrots are grown in gardens and oats grow in fields (often steam rolled after harvesting for human consumption). My point being that "human food" is basically edible stuff humans eat - and share with their domesticated pets. Which makes it just "food" then, doesn't it?


Unrelated: I read a nice article this morning that I could relate to and thought many of you might enjoy too:

How to not feel bad about once being a bad dog owner


Brent said...

As best I can tell, a lot of the "don't feed dogs human food" stuff comes from the reality that a lot of human food shouldn't be consumed by humans either. So much of our highly processed stuff with a lot of artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated stuff in them aren't good for dogs -- or humans. But with a few notable exceptions (grapes, onions, chocolate) -- good human food is good for the dogs too.

I also think that too many people don't have the knowledge of property dietary info for pets so if they rely too heavily on table scraps for their dogs, their balance of nutrition will not be good.

-J. said...

Yep. If you wouldn't feed your dogs table scraps, you should probably take a good hard look at your own diet...

jan said...

I eat very little process food and limit starches and sugar so I have no qualms about sharing what I eat with my dogs. The problem I have is they wolf it down and I'm not sure they would ever stop eating human food until they were in misery.

Nicole Silvers said...

I blame old training handbooks that advised this practice of not feeding from the table without explaining why.

Back in the day (oh, how I wish this was our biggest dog issue now!), "begging at the table" was a big behavior problem.

As most people realize, starting the habit means that dogs begin to expect food from the table.

In the great tradition of garbled passage of information, this training advice has morphed into feeding advice!

Feeding from the table can cause your dog to become an annoyance.

I enjoy MY "little annoyance", so I do feed her dog-appropriate foods from the table.

Liz and Dulce said...

SOME fruits, and vegetables are ok to feed your dog, but what I think the article was referring to is meat fat, meat scraps, and processed crap such as pasta, or fatty foods like chips, sugary foods, etc.

Eggs, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, are all things your dog can eat.

I want to point out, however, just looking at the images on a bag of dog food, doesn't mean it's the RIGHT foods a dog should eat, nor does it mean they are actually in the dog food as they say. For example: Beneful. CRAP food, claim to have "healthful ingredients" and are "human grade" but in fact, are not.

The Dog House said...

Ummm... by "so much of our highly processed stuff with a lot of artificial sweeteners and hydrogenates stuff in them aren't good for dogs" do you mean that the highly processed stuff with a lot of artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, sweeteners, salts and other assorted chemicals combined in the name of "dog food" are preferable?

At least by sharing my food with my dogs I know that they're eating human grade, not condemned junk and unsafe chemicals.

As for proper dietary info for pets... let's be realistic, the pet food companies, researchers, nutritionists and vets don't have proper dietary info for pets. The diet that I have been feeding my guys (as close to what they would eat in the wild as possible, approximated out of things that don't completely turn my stomach) is now recommended as a treatment diet for such issues as diabetes, urinary troubles, joint disease and cancer.

Food is food is food. As long as you're not eating total junk and your aware of truly dangerous things (onion for example) your dogs will be better off with your approximation of dog food than they will be with the pet food company's approximation of dog food.

It's all a guess. At least my guess comes in a format recognizable as FOOD.

Well, that's my two cents anyways. As you can tell, I haven't given it much thought. ;O)

SusanR said...

My only comment is that some owners consider it acceptable to feed their dogs the bits and pieces which they would not eat -- excess fat, gristle, chicken/turkey skin, cooked bones, pools of greasy gravy. This stuff, even though technically "food," will often send a poor dog to the vet with pancreatitis, and a really bad attack will leave the dog with a permanent condition (if not kill). It is well known that around Thanksgiving and Christmas there is a spike in cases of pancreatitis in dogs as owners "share" the least healthy parts of the feast with their best friends. So I agree that food is food, but if you would have thrown it in the trash, please don't feed it to your dog!

sfox said...

Great comments!

We've dealt with the "problem" of getting pushy for goodies from the table by giving the collie boy an opportunity to practice down/stays.

Unfortunately, we haven't had similar success with the cat. ;0)

biteypony said...

The crap they put into grocery-store dog food is such garbage that I wouldn't ever feed it. "Human" food, however, is pretty much what my dogs eat. Raw meats and some supplements and limited vegetables, etc.

But I won't feed them from the table. I hate to have to compete with my dogs for my dinner!