Your pet is not a Bin, regardless how useful one thinks the animal is in gobbling up the left over’s, and contributing to saving on household refuse charges.
A sick pet is heartbreaking for a family especially the young and elderly to have to deal with. A pet that becomes ill because of prolonged bad feeding practices, has to endure unnecessary medical treatments even operations, and it costs a lot of your money at the Vet to rectify.
Feeding your pet table scraps
Feeding your pet table scraps can not only breed bad behaviours, but is also harmful to your dog’s health. It is extremely cruel to feed a pet unmeasured quantities of food that then cause it to become overweight.
Good enough for you but not your pet
Human foods are not properly balanced to meet a dog’s nutritional requirements, and feeding large amounts of fat, sugar or refined carbohydrates can cause health problems such as dental disease, gastrointestinal upset and obesity.
Giving table scraps to pets is not recommended for the following reasons:
It is very difficult to give your pet a balanced diet using scraps
A balanced diet in animals (and in humans) is important to ensure your pet is taking in the nutrients they need at the recommended levels to stay in good health. Different species have different requirements.
- Dogs are omnivores, e.g (An omnivore is a kind of animal that eats either other animals or plants.)
- Cats are carnivores, e.g (A carnivore is an animal that gets food from killing and eating other animals.)
- Guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C.
- Rabbits need to eat their own faeces to extract vitamins.
So, it is very difficult to pick the right types of human foods, when we consider the varying needs of animals.
It is much harder to calculate the amount of food your pet requires when you are feeding them scraps
Many human foods have a much higher calorie density than pet foods. On top of this, the calorie requirements for cats and dogs is much less than our own. If we consider that a dog eating a small piece of cheese is the equivalent of a person eating one and a half full sized chocolate bars, or, that giving a cat a cup of milk is the same as a person eating four and a half hamburgers, it is easy to see how this could lead to obesity.
It can lead to health problems
Obesity puts a lot of strain on the joints as they struggle to cope with the extra weight, and this can lead to joint disease. It also puts pressure on the breathing system and the heart. Diets rich in inappropriate nutrients can cause digestive upsets, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Remember! Dogs and cats are lactose intolerant.
Cow’s milk has a lot more lactose than milk produced by nursing dogs and cats. So giving a cat or a dog milk from another species, such as cows, will cause diarrhoea.
Dental disease/ bad breath
Dental disease in Dogs is commonly caused by feeding table scraps. Dry pet foods are designed to reduce the incidence of dental disease. Feeding your pet a crunchy dry food means that its teeth have to work to chew the food, and because the food is not sticky it will not easily stick to the teeth causing plaque to build up.
- Scraps are often cooked foods, which are soft.
- Soft foods easily stick to the gums and in between teeth.
- This food sits there and rots, causing dental disease and bad breath.
Think how bad your own teeth would be after years of eating soft foods and not brushing?
If your pet has a medical condition, feeding them scraps can be even more damaging
Foods high in fat aggravate pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas causing vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. If your dog has diabetes feeding scraps can cause their blood sugar levels sky high. In turn, being overweight makes dogs and cats insulin resistant. This is of particular importance in cats who commonly develop type II diabetes as a result of obesity. If your pet has arthritis, being overweight will dramatically worsen signs of this causing pain and stiffness. If your dog has a food allergy, feeding scraps will trigger the allergic reaction and this leads to itchy sore skin and upset stomach.
Foods that are poisonous to pets
There are a variety of foods that are poisonous to pets. These include onions, garlic, chocolate, green tomatoes, sweets, coffee grounds, grapes and raisins, to name just a few. Any foods that contain these ingredients are harmful to your pets. Beware of foods like pizzas and takeaways that would contain garlic and onions.
If you are unsure….don’t give it to your pet.
Feeding table scraps encourages begging and creates fussy eaters
It can also encourage your pet steal food from the table!
So your Brown bin is for your cooked, and raw food not to be scraped into your pets food bowl.
Sarah Fortune (Veterinary Surgeon)
Dunboyne Vetinerary Hospital
1 Avondale Terrace