Is it Safe to Share Food with my Dog?
It’s Summer time and that most likely means two things: you are cruising around with your dog more often and you are stopping during your joy ride for some ice cream. So you have ice cream, your dog loves ice cream…what do you do? Many people share their ice cream with their dogs. Some people get their dogs their own mini bowl of ice cream. Others keep their dog away from dairy – especially if it gives them loose stools. I know, sorry, we hate to talk about ice cream and poops in the same paragraph but dairy tends to have that nasty reputation.
Apples and Oranges
Some studies say that a dog’s mouth is actually cleaner than a toilet bowl. Well, I guess that’s reasonable to believe since feces and urine end up in a toilet bowl! But, have you ever seen your dog really stretch out in that awkward position to clean their….well, private parts? Or, have you seen your dog rummaging out in the yard, sniffing and licking away at something, only to find out it was their own poops! Better yet, you are at a park and someone forgot to pick up their dog’s poop…and your dog starts licking it!
Well, now it doesn’t seem like there is much of a difference between your dog’s mouth and toilet bowl, right? This may sound a bit extreme but some studies even say that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth. Well, if that’s the case then we should be able to share anything and everything with our dogs. But, when is the last time you saw a human sniffing around in the cat’s litter box or getting into the garbage can?
Dogs vs Humans – Not the Same
The most important thing we have to remember is that the bacteria in a dog’s mouth is a completely different beast than the bacteria in a human’s mouth. Dogs can consume things that would make a human sick. They ingest and digest foods differently. The good bacteria in their digestive tract is different than ours too. Dogs get tartar, but they rarely get cavities. Humans get cavities all the time and that’s because of the different bacteria in our mouths. Studies have shown that a dog’s mouth actually has antibacterial properties and that’s why they are always licking themselves. Their saliva actually helps clean cuts and gets rid of bacteria. But again, that is a bacteria unique to dogs and their immune system.
It’s Just … Hard to Swallow
On the other side of the argument, many dog owners say that they share bites of food or licks of ice cream with their dog all the time and they never get sick. We’ve heard some respond with, “it helps build up my immune system!” Another common response is, “my dog is like my child, and I would share anything with my child!” The most classic response is, “I’ve been sharing food with my dog for years and I’m still alive!”
Some people say they would never share food with their dog for two reasons. The first is because of the germ factor. Hey, they don’t even like to kiss their human children on the lips (that’s a controversial topic as well). The second reason they don’t like to share food with their dog is because they say their dog will scoff the whole thing down and even take the fork with the bite! Didn’t you order that cone? We think it’s a different story if you take some food off your plate or a dollop of ice cream off your cone and feed it to your dog on his own bowl or plate. But to go lick for lick? That’s a hard concept to warm up to.
We want to hear from you! Would you share food with your dog?
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Dog Lover Store
Written on June 14th, 2016
Last Updated September 2nd, 2020
Kim is the co-owner of DogLoverStore with her husband, John. She earned her BS in operations management at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She enjoys walking in nature, gardening in the sun, eating sour candy, going on drives, yoga, and reading.