No more troubled tummies: 4 best alternatives to table scrap treats for pets this season
Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you’re a pet owner, chances are you know it’s not advisable to feed your animal tables scraps. Holidays have a way of loosening up household rules though, often leading to a few sneaky bites of excess food straight from our overflowing plates. It’s still bad idea, and here’s why.

“When your pet is at your feet giving you their puppy dog eyes, it can be hard to resist giving them table scraps,” says Dr. Gerardo Perez-Camargo DVM, VP of Research and Development at Freshpet. He notes these seemingly harmless treats, even in small amounts, can result in real health problems like digestive issues, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight gain.

“A dog’s digestive system is very different from humans, and they can’t eat and digest everything that humans can,” he continues. “For instance, seasonings may enhance flavor for us, but they can be harmful to our pets. Seasonings and ingredients such as garlic, onion, leeks, and chive are favorites for the holiday but are toxic to cats and dogs.”

In addition to the items Dr. Perez-Camargo mentions above and common knowledge no-nos for dogs like chocolate, there’s an extensive list of lesser known dangerous foods that can make for an expensive trip to the emergency vet. Citrus fruits, grapes, nuts, sodium-dense foods, and artificial sweeteners are all a danger to the sensitive stomachs of our beloved furry friends. He’s personally seen and treated everything from vomiting and diarrhea to pancreatitis and even heart disease. A full list of foods to avoid can be found here

So how do we curb the begging behaviors in dogs that tempt us to break the “no table food” rule? It’s not easy, but it is possible and necessary.

One of the best ways to stop this behavior is to “shift their energy and replace that behavior,” says Dr. Perez-Camargo. That includes refusing scraps when they beg, and instead rewarding them with healthy treats when they perform a “good” behavior such as moving away from the dinner table when commended to do so. “That way,” he adds, “they know that they don’t get food when they’re at your feet at the dining table.”

Now that you’re armed with the proper knowledge on why not to feed your pet holiday scraps, what is a proper way to celebrate the holidays with them properly? As vice president of research and development at Freshpet, Dr. Perez-Carmago is responsible for ensuring the brand’s products meet all the nutritional needs of your four-legged family members while also creating delicious products that will make healthy eating a pleasure for them.

“Freshpet’s recipes are made of fresh, real ingredients, made with 100% natural farm-raised poultry, beef, and fish; fiber-packed garden veggies, and antioxidant-rich fruits,” he explains of the brand’s extensive pet food line. Keep reading to see a few favorites that will treat your pet safely and healthily.

Freshpet Vital Grain Free Turkey Fresh Dog Food, 2 lbs.

Freshpet’s Vital Grain-Free Turkey Recipe with Cranberries and Blueberries is one recipe appropriate for the holiday celebrations that gives dogs the full dinner table experience without compromising gut, organ, and heart health. The berries are packed with antioxidants, and the 100% non-GMO all-natural turkey really appeals to dogs’ taste buds.

Freshpet
$11.99

Freshpet Dognation Turkey Bacon Dog Treats, 3-oz Bag

In keeping with the dog-friendly turkey theme, give these Dognation Turkey Bacon treats a whirl when your pooch is whining for some of your prized roast bird. They last up to 14 days refrigerated and can be torn into small pieces for little buds with teeny mouths.

Freshpet
$6.99

Freshpet Select Pate Roll Grain Free Chicken & Beef Recipe Refrigerated Wet Cat Food - 1lb

Don’t forget about feline friends this season! They may also try to sneak a few bites off your plate, but slip them this specially formulated chicken and beef formula instead to make sure they’re getting the proper nutrition and a delicious meal all at once.

Freshpet
$4.39

Freshpet Select Roll Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken Recipe Refrigerated Wet Dog Food - 1.5lbs

Pumpkin isn’t just a seasonal delicacy, it’s also great for pets with upset tummies. Grab one of these delectable rolls for your pup if they’re feeling itchy or rumbly and watch them perk back up to their normal, joyful selves.

Freshpet
$6.99
The Conversation (0)