Keep Table Scraps as Trash

Table scraps load your dog with extra calories

When I was a girl, our family of four always had a fifth at the table–a drooling hunting dog, begging for food. As a bit of a finicky eater, I thought this was a terrific idea, giving me a ready disposal for gristle, fat, and other bits I didn’t want to eat.

Table scraps, however, can load extra calories onto pets that they don’t need. And some foods are harmful to dogs. The ASPCA recently published a nice list of foods that are hazardous to dogs, including avocado, fresh bread dough, chocolate, grapes, onions, alcohol, and xylitol. In my house as an adult we have always lived by the rule, “I don’t eat your kibble, so you don’t eat my people food,” which keeps drooling and begging away from the dinner table.

Table scraps can also be a problem for us humans. In Fit As Fido, we talk about the dangers to humans from table scraps. When I was growing up, you were not allowed to waste food. If it was on your plate, you were expected to eat it (unless you could slip it unnoticed to Skipper!). As a mother, I found it hard to toss out “perfectly good food” left on my own children’s plates. And by perfectly good, I mean things like pizza crusts, half a cookie, or a handful of chips. Instead of scraping them into the trash, I found these items could easily become my after-dinner snacks while cleaning up dishes. The result–before you know it a few calories becomes hundreds of extra calories, and ten and then twenty extra pounds.

For Fit As Fido, we developed a new rule we then adopted in my house–no dogs on the table. Just like I wouldn’t allow my dogs to jump up on the dinner table and snarf down any leftover tidbits of food, I couldn’t let me do the same. Just thinking of having the dogs up on the table rummaging over after-meal plates is a horrifying enough image to keep me from basically doing the same myself!

So feed your dog canine food and keep the people food for you. And the next time you’re tempted to start eating leftovers from your spouse’s or children’s plates, imagine whistling for Fido to jump up on the table to join you–and then throw those scraps in the trash.

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