Until about 40 years ago, most dogs could still eek out a living on table scraps. With the advent of modern merchandising methods, both the quality and the quantity of the usable scraps has declined. Meats are sold already trimmed and boned, carefully wrapped in cellophane and cardboard, and ready for cooking without additional alterations. Frozen foods have eliminated trimmings from vegetables, and dairy and poultry products come from cartons and coolers, not cows and chickens. Everything is prepackaged in convenient quantities so that purchases can be adjusted to family appetites with almost no leftovers.
The scraps from a meal made from these pre-trimmed, pre-battered, pre-buttered, pre-cooked, and pre-packaged foods consists of only bits and pieces which are either inedible or unwanted by human beings. Such bits and pieces make neither a balanced nor an adequate diet for a dog.
The true value of today’s table scraps are succinctly brought home when the dog owner who feeds his dog table scraps asks himself, ‘What would I do with these scraps if I didn’t own a dog?” lf his answer would be to save them in the refrigerator for his own next meal then a dog can probably eat the scraps, too. However, If he would throw the scraps into the garbage can, then he is literally feeding his dog garbage when he feeds table scraps.
But there is an even greater danger in table scraps. In spite of their poor nutritional quality, table scraps frequently are quite palatable to a dog. All too often such table scraps are used with the idea of increasing the palatability of a less palatable, but better balanced, commercial food. Unless the scraps are finely chopped and blended with the commercial foods, most dogs will simply pick out the table scraps and leave the balanced food behind.
Most table scraps are fats and carbohydrates, yielding lots of calories and little else. As a consequence, the dog obtains a sizable portion of its daily caloric need from the useless scraps and loses his appetite entirely for the commercial food. By refusing to put table scraps on the food, a dog owner may feel he is forcing his dog to eat a food it does not want. But, in the long run, most dog owners will agree that it is better to starve a dog with concern than to kill it with kindness.