If you think walking and potty training is necessary, you must definitely think about table manners for your pet friend. Your furry companions will pick up and follow traits that you teach them or set a precedent for. While they are your cuddle buddies and it is difficult to say no to anything to those puppy eyes, feeding them table scraps can be really harmful to their health as much as it becomes a nuisance. You will never be allowed to eat in peace, they will expect everything from your plate to be fed to them, they will get adamant and not eat their food in protest, and the list can go on.
Why is it not healthy? “There are two ways to look at this,” says Varun Sadana, Co-Founder, Supertails, a digital pet care startup, “The first is that the food we cook for ourselves, especially Indian food, is made using salt and spices that are not healthy for dogs. The only spices that our vets recommend including in a dog's home-cooked diet are a pinch of turmeric, pepper, or cumin.” Clearly, our food does not just contain these spices, which will naturally throw their digestive system off the grid. “Another interesting thing about Indian cooking is the amount of wheat we use, chapatis are a staple in a large part of our country. Many families give their dogs chapatis and paranthas, whereas many dogs cannot digest wheat. Our team of vets recommend against feeding your wheat to your dog,” Sadana adds.
Not just the digestive discrepancies, it also adds to behavioural problems. “Once you start feeding your dog off the table, it will be difficult to reverse this habit. Feeding them their specialised meals and also giving them table scraps can lead to overeating, especially on food that isn't the best for their gut. This can cause long-term health concerns for the family,” he avers.
Now, how to put a stop to this habit? It must start with you. Your pets learn what you teach them and it is your responsibility to let them understand what acceptable behaviour is and what’s not. Sadana shares tips on how to put an end to this cycle. “Before you sit to eat, feed your dog in a separate room. If your dog is full, they will be less likely to expect food from the table,” he suggests. “Training your dog for this takes time and patience but is very rewarding once they get it right. Make sure you feed your dog nutritious meals at regular intervals and speak to your vets or trainers if you need advice.”
Meanwhile, here are a few table scraps that should be miles away from your pet’s diet and their food bowls.
Candies, Cakes, and Other Baked Food
You may have a massive sweet tooth but that does not mean your pet should have one too. In that case, it’s best your pet remains toothless. Feeding them cupcakes, cakes, chocolates, pies, and other baked items are a BIG no. Xylitol used as a food additive and sugar substitute does more harm than good to your pets. It causes your pet’s blood sugar to drop and can also cause liver damage. Vomiting, lethargy and coordination problems are just some symptoms that dogs tend to exhibit after xylitol consumption.
The Fancy Avocado
Avocado toast or guacamole is really good for your gut and health. And Instagram. But not for your pet. It is simply because it contains a compound called persin which is fine with humans (those who are not allergic) but doesn’t sit well with animals. It causes vomiting or diarrhoea in them. You grow avocadoes at home, you say. That still is an issue. Keep your pets away from the tree. They might choke to death if an avocado seed gets stuck in the intestines or their stomachs.
Onions and Garlic
This should not be a problem as many of you might not even like these yourselves. Cultivate this habit in your pets as wells. No matter if they are raw cooked, powdered or even dehydrated. It can cause anaemia by attacking their red blood cells and can also cause food poisoning. Some baby foods contain onion powder as an ingredient, keep an eye out for those.
Fried or Fatty Food
Some finger-licking good delicacies are bane disguised as a boon. Overly fatty foods that are deep-fried like the popular fried chicken can be really TOXIC to your dog’s digestive system. It can cause inflammation of their pancreas that in turn produce enzymes that affect their intestines. Instead, give them boiled chicken or chicken broth that’s finger-licking tasty for them too.
Also Read: Don’t Miss Your Pet’s Regular Checkup. Here’s Why