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No food off the table for Fido, FOUR PAWS advises

Your dog doesn’t leave you alone, while you’re eating? This is not only annoying, but can also be harmful for the dog.

Sofia, 25 January 2013

You sit on the table and your dog’s already there. If the heartbreaking gaze doesn’t succeed, a slight nudge with the paw or the nose often manages to convince the owner to share something delicious from the table. If this doesn’t work, however, one could always try with a little barking or even howling. Let’s face it – it’s quite annoying. But it’s important not to give up.

“A little treat once in a while only encourages the dog and makes things worse”, Dr. Marina Ivanova, pet expert from FOUR PAWS warns. “If you want to eat in peace, you should feed your pet only after you have finished your meal. This confirms the natural hierarchy. If the dog eats together with its owner, it may think it has risen through the ranks, and make more claims.”

That’s why dog owners shouldn’t feel guilty – quite the opposite. A dog needs clear structure to know its place in the pack, respectively – in the family. Only then will it feel safe and protected. Unclear hierarchy, on the other hand, may cause stress and lead to aggression and disobedience.

FOUR PAWS’ also point out one common mistake when feeding smaller breeds – the reason being the appearance of the dog. Most owners perceive their dogs as helpless, harmless little plush toys, thus surrounding them with attention and care and never forbidding them anything. Treating animals like humans and comparing them to little children, which makes discipline and putting them in their place in the hierarchy impossible, is wrong. The result is almost always a spoilt animal, often suffering from obesity and its related disorders, as well as secondary aggression, caused by its jealousy.

People who can’t resist their dogs, risk causing them health problems as well. “A lot of the things we eat are bad for dogs. Spicy, fatty, salty and sweet foods can have serious after-effects for your pet”, Dr. Ivanova explains. “The consequences of poor nutrition are various – stomach problems, malfunctioning digestive system or allergies”.

One of the basic rules for keeping a dog is to build a strict feeding and walking regime, followed by all members of the family. There should also be a strict daily ration – the dog should not be overfed, because this leads to obesity, heart, liver and kidney disorders, stomach torsion and other dangerous diseases.

"If you want to do something good for your dog, feed it properly," concluded Dr. Marina Ivanova.