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Are table scraps really okay?

I was inspired to write this article after someone asked a question on a group recently - if it is okay for dogs to eat chicken rice, apparently he was referring to chicken rice made for human! Admittedly, I was rather pissed but still wondered if this person was really unsure if the food is suitable for dogs, I decided to reply with a very straightforward answer:

"If you care about your dog, No, if you don't care, then Yes".

Alright it's a bit harsh, but my point is there. He got offended and said that he wouldn't have asked if he knew. At first I felt bad and tried to understand his view, but after reading through the comments and his replies towards others that agree, I noticed that the post wasn't really a question but rather an attention seeking post to see who was doing the same thing. Understanding that it was pointless to contribute to the post further, I deleted my my replies, I could foresee that it will end up in never ending arguments if this goes on. 

Now for those that enjoy feeding their dogs junks, before you get all worked up I'd like to highlight that this is MY opinion. Everyone have different opinions and if you are asking a question openly, you should expect to receive different views, but if you are just doing it for attention, then there's no point for experienced owners to contribute their thoughts. Which is what I am doing, rather than arguing I prefer to share my thoughts on my blog. This platform is created to help owners that are unsure and wish to learn from us, as usual if anyone do not agree, then don't read.


Something to consider
Now back to the question, is it actually okay to feed our dogs food like these? Can't we just indulge them once in awhile, it won't really harm them if table scraps were given sparingly right? I understand this thinking, as a child my mum would give me 'forbidden food' like gassy drinks and chips once in awhile, it's really nice and I would cherish the moments. 

Heres the truth however, dogs are different from us, they don't think 'logically' and may not understand our intention. On top of that, their body are NOT built to consume human food. Excessive salt, oil, sugar, fats, all these are never meant for human in the first place, let alone dogs. I've seen many dogs I cherish being hospitalized just from a single bite of human food (including durians), there are some that even died. All of these owners have regretted and if given a second chance, will not repeat the same mistake again, so you can say that I'm here to to be the bad guy so less dogs will suffer the same fate, the current generation of dog owners are mostly pampered with choices and because of google, many think that they know everything.

I've asked this question to many owners who feed table food to their dogs and more than half all of them began to understand my intention, so I'd like you to read and think about it too:

"Do you feed your dog table food just because your dog need them, 
or do you feed to make yourself feel less guilty?"

This question may seem simple but it's important to let people understand their actions from another perspective. So if you are eating chicken rice and your dog starts looking at you with puppy eyes, it makes you feel guilty right? What do most people do if they want to get rid of the guilt? They'll feed the food to the dog first, then feel much better after that, most may also convince themselves that this is a good deed, "my dog is poor thing, I just want it to enjoy once in awhile, it won't die". Well I'm sorry to say that this is not true at all, you are risking your dog's life for your own selfishness.

Balance
Everything requires balance, I don't want my dog to die or become sick just because of human food, neither do I want my dog to live a boring life eating nothing but kibbles all it's life. Confused? I will elaborate this part in a more human way for easier understanding. 

As I mentioned above, when I was small my mum would give me chips and carbonated drinks once in awhile, it's really nice and rewarding. For dogs this should equal to occasional treats and change of meal, example changing the brand of food and/or meat content, or even tasty dog treats like cheese and/or yogurt biscuit, NOT table food. Table scraps are so unhealthy and dangerous that I'd rate it the same as giving a human child beer and cigarettes, don't be surprised because in certain parts of the world, some parents do allow their child to smoke and drink, which turns into addiction because these children are unable to understand what is right and wrong, they also don't know about the consequences, same concept for dogs. Remember that the life of your dog is in your hands, if you want to reward nice food, consider treats and dog food meant for them instead, your dog will never doubt if you condition them correctly, this is also where training and behavioral knowledge comes in.

Prevention
So if I'm eating and my dog stares at me, what should I do?! Well there are ways to work around this and giving your food to your dog is not one of the brightest solution, i'm going to share a few below:

1) Don't eat in front of your dog
Very simple and straightforward, eat out of your dog's sight, in the dining, in your room or in the kitchen. 

2) Crate
Crate training is something I will always encourage owners to start as early as possible, there are SO many benefits and uses! Whenever you are eating, place your dog in the crate for its meal or treats, then start eating your meal and let it out after finishing, it's so simple.

3) Leash
If you have a dog that follows you wherever you go and you don't want to crate, leashing will be your next alternative. Get your dog used to being on leash and reward whenever it is tied to a spot in the house, gates are easy to start with.

4) Treats
If you have a small house but don't wish to crate train your dog, then prepare some treats whenever you are having your meals. If your dog starts staring, just throw a treat in place of your table food, if introduced correct, your dog will never know what human food taste like and will focus on the treats instead. Be careful not to reward unwanted behaviors like pawing and barking.

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