Dogs Snacking on Human FoodsKimberly Mattar
Did you know, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, a whopping 54 percent of dogs are overweight?! We know how hard it may be to resist feeding your dog scraps from the table or snacks while sitting in front of the TV. This is especially true if your little four legged friend is sweetly begging right by your side. Just picture it, you’re lounging on the couch chowing down on some popcorn and Fido is drooling over each and every bite you take. How could you resist that cute face!?
So what’s the easiest way to resist sharing human food with your dog? Think about their health! If your dog is eating a full meal of their own, along with a few of their own doggy treats AND some of your food and snacks, they can easily put on unwanted weight. Because dogs weigh so little, in comparison to humans, a few extra pounds can make a huge impact on their health.
Overweight dogs are at higher risk for the same health issues that obese humans are at risk for: diabetes, joint paint, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and more. If you think your dog may be overweight, bring them to the vet to check if they are within their recommended weight range.
There’s a few ways to change or eliminate your dog’s snacking.
- Train your dog not to beg for your food. Let them know that they are limited to THEIR food only.
- If you are way past the training stage (can’t teach an old dogs new tricks) then at least make sure the human food that your dog is eating is healthy for them. Unfortunately this does not include snacks like cookies, ice cream, or chips. Instead, allow them to snack on healthy foods like vegetables. This way they think they are still getting a snack but they won’t be eating the same thing you are.
- If your dog isn’t tricked by your snack swap, try either changing the time you snack so it breaks their begging habits or remove them from your area while you snack. This will help eliminate exposure, intrigue, and begging.
Remember, snacks and food scraps add up quickly. A slice of cheese here or a pizza crust there can really tack on the calories for a dog that only weighs 20 pounds. Be mindful of what your dog is consuming because many dog breeds, like beagles, are known to continue eating even past the point of being full.
Kimberly earned her bachelor’s degree in operations management at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. When she isn’t drooling over adorable dogs on Instagram, she enjoys walking in nature, gardening in the sun, going to concerts, eating quality chocolate, going on drives, and traveling!