Your News: Don’t turn your dog into a dustbin

Karen Wild column EMN-140715-124751001
Karen Wild column EMN-140715-124751001

Does your dog get given extra treats and goodies at Christmas, or a bit of Christmas dinner when they are used to normal kibble every day? Do your visiting friends and relatives share their own food with the dog? When you protest, do they fix you with a look that says everything from 'I am only being nice' to 'You are too strict'?

Did you know that changing your dog's diet suddenly can upset their stomach, even if that food is considered suitable?

How about leftover food? Is it a habit to scrape the plates into the dog dish, so that we avoid waste by feeding it to our delighted dogs?

Just as we want the best for ourselves, we definitely want the very best for our dogs. They are great companions, hard to beat when it comes to always looking happy and giving us soulful looks when we are eating our last mouthful of toast. Nevertheless, remember that dogs are scavengers and some will just eat, and eat, even when they no longer feel hungry. This is not healthy for them. As pet obesity is a serious issue, we must be aware of what we feed our dogs.

To prevent your dog becoming a canine dustbin, follow these tips.

Put it in a dish first. For anyone wanting to give a leftover or share a treat, ask them to put it into a dog dish you keep for the purpose so that your dog can have it later. Then, simply dispose of anything unsuitable (there will be a lot of unsuitable things. It is quite a shock to see it all in one place).

It costs the same to eat it as to throw it away. Unless your dog is overweight it is unlikely that they need this food. Maybe it isn't so much a case of 'waste not, want not'; more 'don't buy too much in the first place'.

Healthy diets mean happy dogs. We are fortunate to have nutritionally balanced diets for dogs now, so why interfere? Your dog needs a happy, comfortable digestive system (and you want a clean carpet)!

Never waste a training opportunity. Next time your dog is begging you not to scrape the plates into the bin, or giving you big, begging eyes at your bacon sandwich, remember. Food is wages, not for free. If it's suitable, and your dog wants to work for it, save it for training times.

That way you know your dog is really earning his treats - just like we do.