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Can I give table scraps to my dog?

Ah, the holidays. It's that time of year when friends and family gather around the table to enjoy good food and good company. It can also be a time when your pooch gets to indulge in a few extra table scraps. No one loves holiday food more than Fido. But is it okay to share what's on your plate with your canine companion? And is there such thing as too much or just enough? Here are a few tips on how to share a tidbit here and there without endangering your pooch's health.

Tis the season for overindulgence.
From Thanksgiving to New Year's, the holidays mean lots of foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Often what doesn't get finished at the table goes into Fido's bowl. It's important to remember that when you give your dog a treat from your plate, you're adding to his caloric intake. Trouble is, Fido doesn't need a lot of extra calories. According to the ASPCA, overweight pets are at a higher risk of diabetes, liver problems and joint pain. By giving Fido that piece of pie or serving of stuffing, you're doing more than showing him your love-you could be hurting his health.

Aim for a balanced diet.
Keep in mind that if you feed your pooch a complete, balanced commercial diet, adding anything that isn't complete and balanced can throw his nutrition out of whack. So, as a general rule, you shouldn't feed Fido table scraps. If you're set on giving your dog treats or people food outside his normal diet, be sure that his treats make up less than 10% of his total caloric intake each day.

Make no bones about it.
Many families eat turkey, ham and roast beef during the holidays. If your family does, you may be tempted to give Fido a bone or two to gnaw on. In almost every case, the bones are too small, sharp, and brittle for your dog to chew on safely. Sharp bones can cause intestinal issues, which can turn a fun holiday treat into an expensive trip to the vet.

Limit daily treats.
Guests and kids love giving the family pet a treat. The trick is to supply the right kind of treats, so that they can feel like they're giving your dog love and you can avoid looking like the bad guy. Or, when it's not a great time for a treat, you can also suggest that Fido would love a game like fetch instead.

Find the right foods.
Maybe sweet potato casserole and pecan pie aren't great choices for your pooch. But what about a bit of lean turkey? Or some cooked peas or other vegetables? Dogs love baby carrots, celery and even bits of vegetables you wouldn't think they'd like. There are also some foods that can be toxic for Fido, including anything containing chocolate or macadamia nuts. So it's important to be careful. Be sure anything you or your guests feed your beloved canine is healthy, low calorie, low sodium and low fat so he can enjoy many years of long life with you.

Skip these treats.
Chocolate
Coffee
Alcohol
Grapes or Raisins
Uncooked Meat or Eggs
Bones
Onions, Garlic or Chives
Milk

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