We love our puppies so much, it’s fun to indulge them with puppy treats but is people food for puppies a good idea? This year as the scent of roast turkey, baked ham, chocolate brownies and all manner of goodies fill the air, beware of “treating” them with dangerous tidbits. Take steps to prevent them from treating themselves!
Some midnight marauders countertop surf to reach forbidden goodies, or figure out how to pry open the refrigerator when the temptation becomes too much to ignore. Take steps now to puppy proof the kitchen paying special attention to garbage containers and access to counters.
Why Puppies Love Treats
For dogs, eating can be a communal event. And hand feeding your puppy helps reinforce the bond of love you share. Puppies often beg for attention and get rewarded with treats, so the two become inseparable. There’s nothing wrong with treating puppies in a healthy way, but it’s easy to go too far. A fat puppy may be cute but isn’t healthy, and can lead to obese adults that live shorter lives. Keeping your puppy lean as he grows into an adult dog can actually add up to two years of longer life!
Puppies have special nutritional needs. While they may enjoy the same holiday specialties we relish—or even every day food from our table—a little can go a long way. People food for puppies isn’t necessarily evil, especially in small amounts.
But too much can replace the balanced nutrition they need. And overindulging may risk their lives if they eat too much, or gobble the wrong thing, whether you treated them on purpose or they fished it out of the garbage. Follow these tips for safely indulging your puppies over the holidays—or at any time of the year.
People Food for Puppies
- Table scraps should never make up more than ten percent of the animal’s normal rations. If you plan to treat your furry family members, remember to SUBTRACT about ten percent of the regular diet first so you don’t add too many calories.
- Begging from the table turns puppies into pester-bugs. It’s fine to offer treats during training. You may even want to postpone the people food treats for a special lesson. But to avoid creating a monster outside of training, offer any special table food to your puppy as a top-dressing on his regular food as a part of his scheduled meal—in his bowl.
- Keep your puppy away from the dinner table removes temptation from visiting guests to offer him inappropriate treats. Share your “rules of the house” about puppy treats before you sit down to eat, so your baby dog won’t get mixed signals when Grandma sneaks him a taste without your permission. You may need to clicker-train your in-laws, first!
- What’s healthy for you is more likely to be healthy for your pets, too. Lean meat and vegetables in moderation usually are fine. Small amounts of turkey, chicken and lean beef are fine but avoid ham that may be too rich for a puppy’s digestion.
- Just like their owners, starches like potatoes should be eaten in only small amounts or will pack on the pounds. Sauces like gravy also can be too rich.
- Onions, garlic and chives in tiny amounts are okay but too much can cause anemia problems so use good judgment. If you have cats in the home, they’re even more susceptible to these foods.
- Puppies may love milk as a treat. But momma dog milk is different than cow’s milk people drink. Puppies often can’t easily digest milk and too much can cause diarrhea—instead try offering a bit of plain yoghurt.
- Cooked veggies can be great treats. My dog loves broccoli and asparagus, but snubs green beans, but are healthy treats your pup may relish. Fresh raw veggies like carrots are fine, too.
- Fruit can be a great treat—just remember to remove the seeds or pits that can be toxic or cause blockages. Oranges contain vitamin C and apples can help dental health when chewed. Banana and melon also are fine for puppy treats. Many dogs like peanuts and peanut butter as a treat.
Enjoy “treating” your puppies with healthy foods. Just be aware that some people food is poisonous for puppies, so be sure you know the difference. Your puppy counts on you for his safety during holidays, and all year long.