A guide to navigating the challenge and adventure of life with your dogs.

Table Scraps That Are Actually Good for Your Dog

I got an email newsletter from a major pet food company. The article was about dogs eating people food and the basic idea was “ZOMG are you crazy?! You can’t feed your dog TABLE FOOD! He could get SICK! The only way for your dog to be healthy is to feed him high quality dog food *cough*OURBRAND*cough*”

Interesting. I’ve been feeding my dogs “table scraps” for nearly ten years, and they’re healthier for it. So I wasn’t sure whether to laugh the whole thing off or get all self-righteous and write an angry tweet.

But then I figured I should do something more constructive with my time and write a blog post instead.

Healthy table scraps

The carefully worded Dog Food Company article was right in places; some of the stuff they mentioned, like chocolate or spicy foods, actually is harmful to Bailey’s health and should be avoided. However, there are many “people foods” that you can add to her dinner without harm.

Cottage Cheese -most dogs can handle cottage cheese just fine, but start with just a little to make sure your pup isn’t intolerant.

Grilled or baked skinless chicken (just make sure there are no bones in it)

Cooked or raw eggs – Eggs are a great source of B vitamins. The cooking process of commercial pet food tends to kill off B vitamins, so I’d recommend mixing an egg into your dog’s food once a week.

Cooked hamburger meat (as long as it isn’t seasoned)

Brown rice – in fact, a temporary diet of brown rice and plain ground meat can help when your dog has an upset stomach.

Vegetables – carrots, peas, zucchini, bell peppers, beets, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes are all good for dogs. You can mash up your leftover cooked veggies, or grate up raw carrots or squash. Some dogs really enjoy vegetables – two of my dogs like bell peppers and cabbage.

Cooked oatmeal – plain, and not the instant kind with all the junk in it.

Yogurt – a few tablespoons a week are OK, and you can let your dog have your empty yogurt cups.

Chicken broth – if you’re making homemade chicken noodle soup, save a little for Bailey. It makes a nice gravy for dry dog food.

Spaghetti – on pasta night, mix your leftovers into Bailey’s kibble. Just go easy on the sauce.

Won’t feeding my dog table scraps cause begging?

Only if you feed her from the table. Save the leftovers and add them to Bailey’s dinner in the same place you normally prepare her food, and you won’t have any problems.

Won’t people food unbalance my dog’s diet and like, cause the universe to implode or something?

The way the pet food industry talk about it, yes. They’re always going on about how specially formulated their dog foods are. Any addition to the kibble will alter the delicately balanced mix of scientifically chosen ingredients and wreak havoc on your dog’s system.

I call bullshit.

Maybe we should call it “real food” instead of “people food.” A dog’s digestive system is not that different from a human’s. And even the most healthy and carefully planned human diet is not perfectly balanced at each meal. Balance is achieved over a day or week of eating a variety of food. Also, the extreme heat needed to process kibble is brutal on the nutritional value. Adding a few healthy people foods to Bailey’s weekly fare can help ensure she’s getting everything she needs.