A dog standing on a chair and eating some table scraps.

Can I Give My Dog Table Scraps?

Table scraps are often seen as a special treat for our beloved canine companions. After all, who doesn’t love giving their pup a little something extra? But is sharing our meals with our furry friends actually a good idea? Can you give dogs your table scraps?

It is not recommended to give your dog table scraps. Foods like chocolate, onions, garlic, and some dairy products can be dangerous for dogs and should be avoided entirely. Additionally, processed human foods can be high in fat and salt, leading to obesity and other health issues in your pet. A balanced diet of commercial pet food or home-cooked recipes explicitly prepared for dogs is the best way to ensure your pet’s long-term health. Remember to always consult with your veterinarian prior to making any changes to your dog’s diet.

Overview Of Table Scraps

Table scraps are bits of leftover human food typically fed to dogs. This includes everything from meat and fish to vegetables, fruits, and grains, as well as sauces and gravies, and other treats. Table scraps are usually given to dogs as a special treat.

When deciding what to give your dog as a treat though, it is important to remember that table scraps should be avoided. While some items may seem like a good idea to give your dog, they can contain high levels of fat and sodium, which could lead to health issues if not monitored carefully. If you are unsure whether or not something is safe for your pet, it is best to avoid it.

Why You Should Avoid Feeding Your Dog Table Scraps

A dog sitting next to a table with its family gathered around a Thanksgiving feast.
Sorry, bud. No table scraps for you.

It may seem harmless to feed your dog table scraps, but it can be detrimental to the health of your canine companion. Many human foods contain high levels of fat and calories, as well as ingredients like onions, garlic, chocolate, and dairy products, which can be toxic for dogs. 

Dogs who eat human food are at risk of developing nutritional deficiencies, obesity, pancreatitis, and several other health issues.

Unbalanced Diet

Table scraps usually lack the balanced nutrition a dog needs for optimal health, meaning that eating these tidbits of food may lead to chronic deficiencies in nutrients such as essential fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, D, and E. This can weaken your pet’s bones, immune system, and joints.

Dogs fed a diet of mostly table scraps may also suffer from chronic dehydration because their food does not contain enough water to hydrate them properly. 

Risk Of Food Poisoning

Not only can table scraps be nutritionally unbalanced, but they can also present a risk for food poisoning. Spoiled food, cooked bones, and moldy leftovers should never be given to your dog as they can contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illnesses in pets.


Eating table scraps is often seen as a treat for dogs, but it can also lead to obesity. Human food is typically higher in fat and calories than commercial pet food, so feeding your pup table scraps regularly can cause it to gain unhealthy weight.

Gastrointestinal Upset

Table scraps are not made with the same nutritional needs as a dog needs, so they may disagree with your pet’s digestive system. Dogs can suffer from gastrointestinal upset and indigestion after eating table scraps, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. This can cause dehydration and other serious health issues if left untreated.

Toxin Exposure

Table scraps can contain toxins from spoiled or uncooked food, as well as bacteria and other contaminants that can cause harm to your dog. Eating a piece of meat off the ground could also expose your pet to potentially fatal illnesses such as:

  • Salmonella
  • E. coli
  • Clostridium
  • Listeria

Bone Splinters

Bones are the most common type of table scrap given to dogs, but bones can easily splinter and get stuck in a dog’s digestive tract causing serious issues for your pet, such as:

  • Choking
  • Vomiting
  • Ulceration
  • Perforation of the digestive tract

High Salt Intake

Table scraps are often high in salt, leading to dehydration and other electrolyte imbalances in your dog if consumed frequently. Too much salt can also cause kidney problems and even death, so it is important to avoid giving too many salty table scraps to your pup.

Increased Risk Of Pancreatitis

Table scraps are usually high in fat and calories, which makes them difficult to digest. Consuming too many table scraps can lead to pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that can be fatal if left untreated.

Tooth Decay

Table scraps are full of sugar, and that’s bad news for your pup. If these sugary treats become a regular part of their diet, they could suffer from tooth decay and plaque accumulation-causing dental caries in the future- incurring hefty vet bills.

Intestinal Blockage

Some human food items can be difficult for dogs to digest and can cause intestinal blockages. This includes hard or chewy food items that could get lodged in the digestive tract, such as:

  • Bones
  • Corn cobs
  • Popcorn
  • Grapes
  • Nuts and seeds

Intestinal blockages can be extremely dangerous and, in some cases, even deadly.

Spoiling Your Dog’s Appetite For Its Own Food 

When dogs are given table scraps on a regular basis, they can become accustomed to the taste and smell of human food. This may cause them to be less interested in their own food, which could lead to nutrition deficiencies if not managed properly.

Alternatives To Table Scraps For Dogs

It is important to note that table scraps should not be confused with treats or other specialty foods made specifically for dogs. These are usually much healthier as they are specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of your pet. Additionally, treats should always be given in moderation and only after consulting with a veterinarian.

If you want to give your dog something as a treat, there are many healthier options available. Dog-friendly fruits and vegetables such as apples, blueberries, and carrots can provide essential vitamins and minerals. 

You can also look for commercially prepared treats that are specifically formulated for dogs or make your own from healthy ingredients like peanut butter and oats.

In Conclusion: Can I Give My Dog Table Scraps?

Table scraps may seem like a harmless and convenient way to show your pup some extra love, but they can be hazardous to their health. Not only can table scraps cause gastrointestinal upset, toxin exposure, bone splinters, and other medical issues, but they can also lead to poor nutrition if given on a regular basis. Instead, look for healthier alternatives such as dog-friendly fruits and vegetables or commercially-prepared treats. Taking these precautions will help ensure that your pup stays happy and healthy.

So, what alternatives to table scraps are you planning on giving your dog? Let us know in the comments below!

Dr. Majid Tanveer (DVM)
Dr. Majid Tanveer (DVM)
Dr. Majid is a licensed veterinarian, writer, and animal welfare advocate. He obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan. He has been working as a senior veterinarian for five years. Over the last few years, Dr. Majid has worked extensively for the betterment of animal welfare and rights in his country. He is also a proud owner of a dog, which he loves dearly. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his dog and indulging in his hobby of writing.