Feeding the Dog Primal Scraps - OK?
I feed my dog a high quality dog food (not grain-free completely yet, but we are getting there). I've recently found a good source at Georgia's Farm to Market here in Houston. I just need to spend some time comparing brands I think is best, and let him finish the bag we've got first.
However, we're pretty bad about feeding our dog leftovers from our plates. He's a 4 yo black lab/border collie mix and will eat anything, and he has those beautiful chocolate eyes and i just want to give him anything he wants. Tonight we gave him leftover bones with some attached meat from Grass-Fed Rib Eyes and I gave him half of my yam.
My gut tells me this is probably OK. He's not eating anything that I would think is bad for him, but still worry because you always hear that people food is bad for dogs. CW, perhaps, but I want my puppy dog to be healthy and live a long life.
Since I've been primal, I haven't been giving him anything I won't eat. When I used to make fresh pasta, he would stand there by me waiting for raw pasta dough and also was my al dente tester. :-) I don't eat pasta anymore so neither does he. He does eat the cats' food when I'm not looking, but I don't think that is really bad supplementally.
Do you all feed your dogs scraps from your plates? Good/bad?
Cooked bones are a definite no-no. They splinter easily and if a peice splinters off and get caught in their throat it will stay there and you'll need to cut it out. If that happens with a raw bone it will soften up over a day or so and the dog can swallow it. So cooked bone is not such a good idea.
As for the other stuff, I would say anything primal is fine. Meat and veg
Dogs need very little in the way of carbs for energy as they should be getting this from fat (sound familiar ;-) ). They also don't need a great deal of veggie matter either, as in their natural environment (i.e. remove man from the picture) apart from a little grazing (grasses, herbs, berries, etc.) here and there, this would only come from the partially digested stomach matter of whatever they've killed/scavenged.
Having said that, if you're eating a clean primal/paleo diet (e.g. just meat & veggies) it's certainly better than your average dog food. Personally, I don't feed anything straight off of my plate or anything that smells the same as what I've eaten, just because if I did I know that they'd never leave me alone and would be begging or loitering around the dinner table waiting for their scraps.
I generally only feed raw meaty bones and offal to my dogs, with occasional left-overs from our dinners but they are normally off-cuts from what I've been preparing to cook rather than cooked food that we haven't eaten (as there's not normally anything left).
Last edited by Misabi; 09-05-2011 at 10:14 PM.
Some bones go soft when cooked, but most will splinter into sharp shards which can cause serious damage and is one of the reasons most vets will tell you not to feed bones, but they tend to generalise the statement to include all bones. The other reason is that they are usually sponsered by pet food companies
Originally Posted by sroelofs
I hadn't heard about cooked vs. raw bones before, but he's always eaten bones and never had a problem with them. I don't give him chicken bones at all though.
Originally Posted by sroelofs
Good point--we are bad about giving him scraps at the table and the seasonings may not be so good for him, and you're right, he does associate his food with ours. I take them to his dog dish, but he just pulls it back out again and will take it to the carpet to eat. Last night I trimmed the pork chops (hubby's not mine--he does not like visible fat at all), and cooked them in the oven with no seasonings for the dog, so he had his own little meal. Tonight I put the half yam in his dish with no butter or seasoning.
Originally Posted by Misabi
Dogs shouldn't eat onions as it can cause a type of severe anaemia, and nutmeg can cause damage to their central nervous systems. I do feel my dog scraps from our plates occasionally, but more often she gets trimmings from when I'm cooking. Raw eggs are good for them, too, and mine always eats the shell first ...
Our dogs have always eaten scraps, along with dry dog food. We don't give them sweet things of course (like chocolate!). They eat bone scraps (raw or cooked and including poultry). The only bone we do not let them eat is the sharp, needle-like bone in the poultry leg. In the wild, dogs eat small animals and birds, all types of tiny, sharp bones....The idea of not giving cooked bones seems strange to me because our dogs live long active lives; they know what they will eat, and leave what they cannot or don't like. I find dogs are real smart, if given the chance to choose food. A BIG example is that we pile a huge amount of dry dog food into a large basin and let them eat when they are hungry. They are slim and active.
We spoil our dogs as well. We have a border collie/blue heeler mix and just got a (mostly?) blue heeler that's an eating machine. They get scraps, but eating primal I don't worry about it. I try to keep them mostly grain free but some of their food has a bit so they get it here and there. Most raw bones are fine and they do get the occasional cooked one but we inspect them first. They also get raw trimmings from stuff I'm prepping. I may be overthinking things, but instinct tells me that heelers, specifically, should have as close to a wild diet as possible, as they're bred partly from dingos. We encourage hunting when we go on walks, which usually means mice and rats. The older one kills ground hogs, squirrels and moles but usually doesn't eat them. The new one is only about 10 months so we'll see if what his hunt drive is like.
I see no problem with feeding cooked foods as long as you choose carefully and if the dog is obese watch the calories and carbs. Like others have said, no onions (its a cumulative effect....so it builds up over time....one onion piece now, adds up with all the others before). Feeding meats and veggies are fine, you might find some things like broccoli or cauliflower cause gas, so use at your on discretion. Avoid the carbs especially grains, don't feel corn cobs (those are dangerous and can stop up the gut), etc.
On the cooked versus raw bones, if you feed cooked bones, you are definitely running a higher risk then a raw bone. If its your fur child, its probably not worth the risk. Cooked bones are not digested, so they end up in the intestines in sharp splintery forms. They usually come out similar to how they went in, so it depends on how much the dog chews them. A raw bone on the other hand is usually digested into next to nothing before it even leaves the stomach (weight bearing bones even raw are still harder to digest though). I would just be safe can cut meat from the bone. If your dog is good about leaving the cooked bone behind (like gnawing meat from a t-bone), then that's fine, just toss the bone when he is done. Cooked bones are also harder on the teeth, so if you see any cracked teeth you might want to avoid letting him chew on cooked bones.
Vets hate 'scraps' and tend to not recommend them because most people do not adjust calories in their kibble food, there are some dangers like the spices, onions or too much fat (pancreatitis), and some dogs get easily upset stomachs so you see loose stools and vomiting. When you are randomly feeding scraps its hard to know whats causing a problem. But if you do it with some awareness it can be done in a healthy manner.
One thing you can do instead of feeding him from your plate is maybe preparing extras on the side just for the dog. You can cook up meat plain with no seasonings, maybe in bulk and keep extra in the fridge, and feed that while you eat or with normal meals. Gives you more control but also allows you to give extra special stuff to your 'baby'.
There is the behavioral aspect of a begging dog, but that's a different angle. I personally hate being mauled by a dog when I go to a friend/family member's house to eat, but that's between me and my friends. Just know that dogs understand consistency, and if you don't want begging at particular times you need to make it a 100% rule. We just train dogs to sit on a mat just outside the kitchen/dining room where they get rewards to keep from having a nose in laps .