Human Food; Facts and Myths Dispelled
Thanks Paw Dogs for the Photo
Giving your dog human food is a very emotionally charged subject for some people.
Some people swear by it, some would and have never given their dog’s human food.
There are myths and there are facts and there are some rules that should be followed.
So let’s get to some simple information that will keep your pet happier and healthier!
Giving My Dog Human Food Will Make Him Beg
Feeding him what you are eating is a sure fire way to make your dog beg, but even if you don’t you can end up with a beggar.
The truth is that your dog’s sense of smell is so good he can pretty much taste what you are eating anyway. He can smell that it is good and even if you don’t share your dog can end up begging.
If you NEVER share, he is likely to give up hope. But if you do, even rarely he will probably hold out optimism that it is an option. After all dogs are eternal optimists (another reason I love them).
But just because you use human food as treats when you are training doesn’t mean he is going to beg when you eat. After all your dog really doesn’t know whether his treats came from the pet store or the grocery store.
The most important facet is number one not to share the food YOU are eating with your dog.
And to develop a routine that avoids begging.
Teach your dog to lay on his bed; which should be placed far enough away from the dinner table or where you are eating so that begging can’t be accomplished.
OR, I learned from training Service Dogs that teaching them to lie under the table (where Guide, Service and Hearing Dogs must lay in public) keeps them from developing this habit since they can’t make eye contact with you from under the table. And although not all dogs fit under tables it does help them feel as if they are part of the social activity that is meal time.
Human Food is Bad For Dogs
Yes! And NO!
I actually prefer using human treats to buying dog treats for my dogs.
First off making your own dog treats is cheaper than any dog treat on the market.
Plus I know I can avoid salt and other preservatives that are not good for my dogs.
AND, I have worked in this field long enough to see decades of food and treat recalls that can cause kidney damage and death.
If string cheese starts poisoning humans or children and killing them we will certainly find out a lot quicker because human food has to pass a lot of FDA requirements. There aren’t such requirements for dog foods and treats.
But Not All Foods Are Safe For Dogs
I stick with foods I KNOW are safe for dogs. Meats (most), Cheeses (in small quantities) and other treats that have been utilized for years.
I use string cheese, chicken breast, lean beef, liver, and low fat low salt hot dogs. For my favorite recipe click here
I don’t use pork because it is high in fat and salt and both can be bad for your dog (especially bacon!). Bacon can send dogs to the hospital with life threatening risks as can anything else that is high in fat content. Dog’s don’t digest fats like we can and fatty things can cause pancreatitis.
I also avoid anything spicy or flavorful.
Dogs don’t need their meat to taste “good” it already tastes good to them.
Things like salt, onion, garlic, cinnamon, and nutmeg can be dangerous or deadly.
I also don’t use extravagant exotic foods, because most often they have not been used and tested on dogs for decades.
Things like avocados, and macadamia nuts can also be deadly.
And even average foods that we eat often like grapes, chocolate, gum, and broccoli can have negative effects.
If in doubt, don’t add it to your treats or use it as a treat!
The rule about human food is to keep it small and simple.
Would your dog rather have a “dog treat” or a tiny piece of boiled chicken breast or dried liver?
Mine would prefer the homemade treats and I trust them more.
Dogs also don’t need a ton of variety keep it simple and mix it up with only a few different things!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.