Which is healthier – dog treats or table scraps?

It is not recommended to get into the habit of feeding your dog table scraps. Giving table scraps:

* Can promote obesity. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of all dogs in the United States are classified as overweight or obese. Obesity leads to chronic health problems, astronomical veterinary bills and a life reduction of as much as 2.5 years.
• Can result in your dog ingesting toxic foods, such as onions, garlic, raisins, grapes, etc. that may be already present in various food items. Consult your vet or local ASPCA for a complete list of foods to avoid.
• Can increase the incidence of illnesses, such as pancreatitis, especially when given fatty or other rich food.
• Can lead to persistent begging.

Dogs are masters at putting two and two together. Just a couple of instances of being slipped something under the dining room table can produce an unbearable moocher at mealtime. Pet owners should never give their dogs treats while they are preparing food in the kitchen or while they are eating a meal. However, feeding your dog her regular dog food in his bowl so that he can eat while you are eating is appropriate.

If you start to notice unacceptable begging behavior, institute these two rules:

• All food, including treats, should always be placed in your dog’s own food bowl and offered at a single, designated location within your home. A dog should sit while you prepare the bowl and only move toward it when you tell him to.
• Never give a dog a treat while she is begging. It will only reinforce and reward her behavior. Treats are always your idea (not his) and should only be given when a dog’s attention is not on food.

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