Pets and Table Food



“Upset stomach” is one of the most common problems that veterinarians see. Although there are many illnesses that can cause vomiting and diarrhea the most common cause is table food. That’s right table food. I know what you are going to say; “Not my dog Dr. Miller, ‘Buddy’ has been getting table food ever since he was a puppy. His stomach is tough.” It only takes one time, so feeding your dog table food is like rolling the dice on a potential problem.
What is table food? Table food is defined by most veterinarians as “people food”. The disclaimer; there is some people food that’s “ok” to feed. However, most table food should be avoided.

Acceptable People Food

Plain skinless boiled chicken/turkey breast
White Rice
Plain Pasta
Vegetables (avoid onions and garlic)
Apples and bananas

The Bad Table Food

Steak, Ground beef
Fried foods (chicken, eggs, bacon)
All bones
All dairy products (large servings)
Lunch Meat, hot dogs
Fast Food

Foods that are toxic to Dogs

Grapes and Raisins
Raw chicken and meat /uncooked eggs

Table foods, especially those high in fat and grease, can irritate (cause inflammation) to areas of their digestive tract. The three most common general conditions being; Gastritis (inflamed stomach), Colitis (inflamed colon) and Pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas). All of which can be fatal, if severe enough or left untreated. Bones are not always easily digested. Aside from them irritating the digestive tract they can also cause a blockage or perforation and the need emergency surgery.

Dairy products in large amounts can also irritate the digestive tract. Dogs and cats lose the ability to break down lactose as they become adults. Dairy products can cause gastrointestinal upset similar to people who are lactose intolerant.  You can, however, still use cheese to give your dog medication. For the most part, very small amounts of foods like cheese are tolerated by most dogs.
The other reason why table food should be avoided, and acceptable people food be fed in small quantities is it can contribute to your pet becoming overweight. What seems like only a small amount to us, can be a relatively large quantity to your pet. Table food is one on the leading causes of pet obesity. Studies in veterinary medicine demonstrate that being overweight can lead to multiple health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, heat stroke and shorten their life expectancy.

I also do not advise “raw diets”. I know many pet owners want to avoid processed food and want their pet to have a home cooked diet. The reality is a balanced diet for your pet is very hard to replicate. A true well balanced diet, cooked at home is very labor intensive and very expensive. For that reason it is best to leave your pet’s diet to the pro’s.

“Raw diets” can be harmful, especially when use ingredients such as: raw chicken, raw meat or uncooked eggs. Dogs and Cats are at the same risk for E.coli and Salmonella from raw meats and eggs that people are. Potentially, they could act as a carrier for these bacteria and pass them on to you and your family without your pets showing any visible signs of illness. These Raw foods should be avoided period.

I encourage you to discuss your pet’s diet with your veterinarian. Nutrition is a very important part of our practice, and your pet’s health. Avoiding table food will help your pet have a healthy life, and avoid extra trips to hospital.


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