If you clicked this, you probably already know that pets shouldn’t be fed from the table. However, there might be a significant other, a child, or even a parent in your life who insists upon tossing a snack to any pet who fixes them with a pleading stare during a meal. If so, these 10 reasons should help you convince them to cut it out. Or, if you’re waffling on whether or not to give in to a begging pet, read this first.
1. They’ll Beg at Every Meal
Start tossing scraps to pets when they beg, and they’ll do it every time they see food in your hand. Pets do not understand the difference between a casual sandwich-at-the-sink meal and a formal dinner. If food in your hands means scraps to them, they will beg for scraps every time. If you’d ever like to have a meal without feeling doggie or kitty eyes boring holes in the back of your skull, please, don’t share at the table. If you wish to feed some human food to your pet (and that’s not always a bad thing), do so in the pet’s own bowl, before or after you eat.
2. You Won’t Be Able to Leave Food Unattended
Pets need to understand that food in your dish is not theirs, and does not become theirs unless it is placed in their food dish. If you start feeding pets tidbits from your plate, don’t be surprised to return from the bathroom to find a cat on the kitchen table licking up the last of your dinner.
3. Excess Weight is a Serious Health Concern
Not all human food is bad for pets, but a consistent diet of scraps generally is. Lean meats, some cooked vegetables, and the occasional noodle won’t hurt a pet if fed properly and in moderation, but items like bread, bacon, sausage, and cheese can be very fattening, particularly on top of a diet that’s already complete. Overweight pets don’t live as long and have a lower quality of life due to their heightened risk of heart disease and other painful, expensive conditions.
4. Dangerous Ingredients
Many common processed entrees contain onion powder. Even most baby foods add it for flavoring! Then there’s garlic, raisins, cocoa, grapes, potato peels… it’s hard enough to remember what you shouldn’t feed to your pets when you’re cooking just for them. It’s no fun at all to scrutinize the ingredients list carefully every time you want to toss a table scrap to your pet. Avoid this hassle entirely and just feed treats that are appropriate for your pet in the first place.
5. Treats Should Be Earned
Do you get a paycheck for giving your boss a sad, pleading look? If so, how do I apply for that job? Like you, your pet should work for what he or she gets. Treats given for nothing only serve to teach pets that you exist to satisfy their every whim. Even cats can learn simple tricks like meowing or sitting up for a treat. If you just toss table scraps on the floor, you rob your pet of an opportunity to interact and communicate with you while learning a new behavior. Pets enjoy earning their rewards. Save the treats for when you can make time to teach a new behavior or reinforce an existing one.