General Question

janbb's avatar

If you have or had a dog, do you ever feed them "people food"?

Asked by janbb (61425points) October 10th, 2022
36 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

If so, what and when? If not, why not?

Just curious.

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hat's avatar

My pup (8 years old) has never been fed people food*. She has an open bowl, which means that she always has access to her (ridiculously expensive) dog food. She’s very healthy and trim. We have known people who have given their dogs people food, and the dogs invariably get pudgy and have health issues.

I did know someone back many years ago that fed her dog people food, but it was healthy stuff. She would actually cook meat and vegetables.

*She is fond of cleaning up crumbs that fall in the kitchen. Her favorite scraps appear to be carrots. And, there have been a handful of times that people have “accidentally” dropped a piece of raw carrot for her.

chyna's avatar

As a kid, yes we fed our dogs people food. When I grew up and had my own dogs, I didn’t feed them people food. I had seen other people’s dogs that were over weight and had skin conditions, so I only fed mine dog food. I also didn’t want mine to beg at the table. If I had some of my dinner left over, such as fish or chicken, I would mix a spoonful in their bowls so I guess I did feed them a little people food. But by putting it in the bowl, they never begged at the table. Oh, and I do make myself 2 slices of bacon on Saturday’s so they would get ½ slice every Saturday. I miss that.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Feed mine liverwurst to get her twice a day; to get meds into her.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My dogs and cats are about 50/50. Plus a cup of kibble. They are old so they run this place. :)

I work from home so it’s just an unseasoned portion of our meal really. Protein, greens, maybe a wheat rotini. No extra work and it’s good for them.
They love green beans, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, etc..

RocketGuy's avatar

Our dog eats salmon-based dog every other day. We eat salmon every other month. Hmm!

cookieman's avatar

I have two dogs.

One dog, yes. The other dog, no.

Dog one appreciates it and doesn’t beg. She gets chicken breast, carrots, sweet potato, string beans…

Dog two loses her mind after one bite of people food and begs endlessly. She will eat herself sick too. So, none for her. She can’t handle it.

filmfann's avatar

When my sister’s mother in law died, and her father in law wasn’t able to take care of their pet, we took their dog.
We were told the dog only ate scrambled eggs for breakfast.
He got dog food.

seawulf575's avatar

I once had a dog that I wished would eat my neighbor. Does that count as people food since he was a person?

kritiper's avatar

Yes. Usually no bread or chocolate. As a treat he would get hamburger patties, fried chicken skins, or canned dog food. Usually, I fed him a high quality dry dog food like Purina or Gains.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Feeding pets with people’s food is a common occurrence in my country. In fact, it’s actually the primary kind of food for a lot of pets, especially pets in households that have low income. It isn’t uncommon to see a dog munching on a plate of rice and poached meat next to the human family who is eating the same food. A bag of dog food is actually considered a luxury here.

It’s only recently when I have access to English reading materials that I realized that feeding pets with people’s food is actually unhealthy. Seriously, there are a lot of things that are normal here that could be considered animal abuse in the West.

snowberry's avatar

My dog gets dog food, and occasionally a bit of apple or carrot for a treat, but my daughter’s dog cannot have commercial dog food. The dog has pancreatitis, and can only have the tiniest bit of fat, so they cook for her- 99% fat free ground turkey, peas, carrots, sweet potato and squash.

canidmajor's avatar

Often. The taboo against doing that is pretty intense, but really, read the ingredient list on the dog food labels. It’s the same stuff we eat. I don’t feed my dogs candy bars or gas station burritos, I feed them the same quality stuff that I eat. My dogs get certain veg, chicken, rice, eggs, those things.
The bulk of their diet is high quality kibble, but I often supplement with those things, and when they get very old, most of their food I prepare myself.

My previous dog was almost 17 when he died, the “people food” he ate for the last year of his life kept him going pretty well.

Forever_Free's avatar

The only people food he gets is some sugar free peanut butter at times as a training or retraining purpose. I just buy a good dog food.
Vet told me years ago to never go the people food route. Every vet I have had reinforces that stand. It may seem okay, but it is not good for them. It is common that in the later years of a dogs life that people start giving them more people food out of sympathy. It’s not healthy for them.

canidmajor's avatar

With all due respect, @Forever_Free, the assumption that you will feed your dog junk is just dumb. Most of the stuff in even in the higher quality dog food, is way more processed than if you made it at home for them.
Mostly my dogs get dog food, because of convenience. But really, dogs were domesticated looong before there were processed dog foods.

Most of the vets I know (and trust implicitly with the well-being of my pets) know as much about nutrition as most medical doctors. Which is to say, not much past the generally known obvious.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I read that the lowest quality meats are used for public school lunches and dog food. That seems far more abusive.

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Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Forever_Free if the “sugar free peanut butter” contains artificial sweetener Xylitol you can cause the dog to go into Insulin shock and kill them.

chyna's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Interesting that the article didn’t say how much needed to be ingested before it made a dog sick. A whole jar, a teaspoon full, a smear from the finger?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I think it is a small amount, because it triggers the insulin and Xylitol is not impacted by insulin so the pancreas just keeps pumping insulin.

longgone's avatar

What is “people food”, really? My dogs just call that “food”. While their daily kibble provides them with everything they need to live a healthy life, dogs truly love variety. They are curious by nature, and one of my favourite authors makes the point that they are clearly neophiliacs, just like humans. Just watch a dog with a new toy, in a new area, or during a special moment like their first snow or beach experience. Novelty makes them feel alive. I would feel quite bad feeding my dogs only kibble and/or canned meat.

Because I care about their health, my dogs do not get any table scraps, sweets, or spicy foods. Nothing processed, either. But they very regularly eat unsweetened yoghurt, berries, apple, carrot, peas, eggs, natural peanutbutter, mashed mixed veggies sold as “baby food”, tuna fish, cheese, and chicken. The cheese and tuna they get for excellent recalls in the forest. Fruit and veggies, they snack on. Dogs can’t fully process raw produce, but they can certainly enjoy it as a fun snack. Rosie, in particular, is a fan of fruit. I’ve started blowing her mind with frozen berries recently – there’s a video of her playing with a frozen strawberry for a solid 15 minutes, batting it around and pouncing. Finally, it disappears in one big, delighted chomp! She’s playing with a piece of sour apple right now. Wilson really likes cooked broccoli and would give up his favourite soccer ball for the right amount of peanut butter.

Everything else (yoghurt, eggs, peanutbutter, and babyfood) is usually mixed together and stuffed into Kongs. I try to provide a large, frozen Kong at least twice a week. They love this activity, and it’s good for them to use their mouths.

Give your dogs some variety. It’s good for them. Just make sure they eat a high-quality dog food every day so they get all the necessary nutrients…and, of course, research any new foods to make sure you aren’t feeding anything toxic. Grapes, chocolate, avocado, raisins, salt, artificial sweeteners, onions: all dangerous.

@hat Come on. Give that good girl a carrot. My dogs are trim and healthy, too. And if you’re feeding a decent kibble, it will already include some vegetables.

@cookieman I love you, but. That is cruel. Please give the crazy dog some treats, as well. Just make sure you surprise her with it every time. Drop a green bean in her bed while she’s asleep. I promise you, that will not increase her begging.

smudges's avatar

@cookieman Please tell me that you only give the one dog a treat when the other is not anywhere nearby. Otherwise, I’m with @longgone – it’s cruel.

My ex has 3 dogs and he cooks for them. Once a week he makes a pot of chicken and vegetables, no salt or additives, and feeds them that. I’m not sure if he gives them kibble too or not. I would hope so.

Great post and philosophy, @longgone! Can you imagine how boring life would be for a dog who waits at home all day by itself for its beloved human to come home, and all it gets for dinner – which is one of its few pleasures – is dry dog food, day after day after year?

hat's avatar

@longgone: “Come on. Give that good girl a carrot.”

We have frequent carrot “accidents”, including one today. :) Too many dropped carrots will cause her to leave them half-digested on the rug, however.

Pandora's avatar

Yes, I give my dog occasionally fruits but I do give her cottage cheese. It’s healthy probiotics for dogs who can tolerate dairy. She has a problem digesting fats and her vet recommended putting her on a special dog diet and 1 percent fat cottage cheese. I give her a spoon twice a day and she hasn’t had any issues throwing up since then.
Before feeding her fruits be sure to know which ones are safe.

My first dog use to love pound cake that I would give him as a treat and that totally destroyed his stomach so I was more careful with my second one. Even though I only fed her dog food and she had regular exercise and neither dog was overweight she also developed stomach issues. Seems dog food may have a lot of fat. Lamb and oatmeal or lamb and rice dog food seem to be something both of my dogs could handle.
And for some reason it seems their are more dogs developing allergies to chicken dog food. I’ve know of at least 6 dogs that are allergic to chicken and its different dog foods.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I share everything I eat with Cato. This morning it was scrambled eggs. O
We free feed him too.
In my experience people who have their pets on a feeding schedule tend to have overweight pets. The animals can’t eat until their people say so. I think that’s stressful for them. Then when they do get to eat they overeat. That’s my theory, anyway.


He likes chocolate chip cookie dough.

longgone's avatar

@hat Glad to hear that! Try a pea or a strawberry sometime. It’s fun! :)

@smudges Thanks!

@Dutchess_III Chocolate can kill dogs…it raises their heart rate, like if a young child had very strong coffee.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He only got a tiny bit. Mostly he got cooky dough.

RocketGuy's avatar

@Dutchess_III – you might have a point about free feeding. We had our previous dog on a schedule until my brother-in-law came to dogsit. He set out the bowl and never let it go empty. After 5 days of gorging, the dog stopped eating. BIL called and said something was wrong. When we came home, the dog looked pregnant from all the food he had gorged on. Took several days for him to digest it all. After that he only ate what he needed.

Our current dog free feeds. She stays fairly slim. The only problem is that she eats at midnight. 2 hours later she wakes me up to walk her to the water bowl then 2 hours after that she has to go out to pee.

snowberry's avatar

@RocketGuy that should be fairly easy to fix. Take the dog food up at bedtime, and put it down again in the morning. The dog will quickly figure it out, and your nights should be calm again once more.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You have to walk. her to the water bowl @rocketguy? I’m confused.

canidmajor's avatar

@Dutchess_III The dogs I have raised from puppies have all been free feeders (except my current one who is just a greedy goon), but most of my rescues would just eat til they popped, so they had to be on schedules. And yeah, the free feeders never got fat.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The root of eating issues in dogs and people is probably the same…..childhood traumas.

RocketGuy's avatar

I think my dog is afraid of the dark. She sometimes won’t even go for a walk after sundown.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Leave a light on in the feeding room @RocketGuy.

smudges's avatar

@RocketGuy awww poor pup! I know how she feels. And how thoughtful and devoted you are to get up and escort her to get a drink of water. btw, I think many dogs are nervous about the dark; they can’t see like cats do. Like @Dutchess_III says… or even just a nightlight might work.

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