Dear Marc: I always feed my dog leftover food from the dinner table. Is this really a bad thing to do?
Many dog foods are often overly processed, so the addition of any nutritious home cooked or home prepared foods to a diet that's mostly made of processed foods will always be beneficial. The key word is nutritious -- stay away from cooked poultry bones or very fatty foods, and always discuss any changes in your pet's diet with your veterinarian.
And, no, feeding your dog from the table doesn't guarantee they'll start begging or gain weight. Begging is a learned behavior, so if you're feeding scraps when the dog is sitting by your chair, looking at you, that's the behavior you will train. If you feed your dog when the dog is lying in the adjacent room, not paying attention to the dinner table at all, that's the behavior you will encourage. It's in the timing.
Finally, if you break up any treats into small, small pieces, food scraps will not make your dog fat. Just be sure to stay away from dangerous foods, such as chocolate, onions, raisins, and grapes.
Marc Morrone, pet expert
Parrots of the World