What Happens to a Dog Who Eats Table Scraps?

Last Updated: October 31, 2023

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If you own a dog, you've probably experienced that stare of hunger as you eat. Your dog may flash you those puppy dog eyes every time you sit down for a meal or wait underneath the table for any food that may fall down.

It's not uncommon for dog owners to "throw their dog a bone" every once in a while in an attempt to appease their begging behavior. Some even view the act as beneficial.

dogs begging for table scraps
You're just going to throw away those scraps, so why not give them to the dog?

Many owners are guilty of this behavior. It's never recommended to feed your dog table scraps, but what really happens when they eat it?

The Consequences of Feeding a Dog Table Scraps

#1  Behavioral Problems

Giving in to your canine companion's longing stares or begging behavior is never a good idea. It's basically rewarding them for doing the thing that you don't want them to do.

Table scraps are practically savory treats to dogs. While their kibble may be enticing enough for everyday meals, human food is different. It's full of fat and flavor, making it very enticing.

By giving them table scraps, you're cementing the behavior. They'll automatically associate begging with a reward. This can prove to be problematic the longer it continues. Stopping your dog from begging for human food is one of the hardest things to accomplish.

In most cases, it requires a professional trainer. Even then, it's not always successful. It's best to not start at all so that your dog knows from the get-go that begging is not something they should be doing.

#2  Gastrointestinal Upsets

Dogs don't have the same biological makeup that we do. They can't handle all of the things that we put into our bodies.

When they eat something that they shouldn't, they can experience severe stomach problems. They may start to vomit, experience diarrhea, develop allergies, or much worse.

Not only that, but food scraps don't fill the dietary needs of your dog. A diet consisting of only human leftovers doesn't give them the fuel they need to thrive.

Commercially-available dog foods are specifically formulated to benefit your dog's overall health. High-quality foods contain optimal levels of protein, minimal fat, and a host of beneficial plant-based ingredients.

Human food, on the other hand, is more varied. Some foods are incredibly fatty and made purely for enjoyment while others are made to fit certain food categories. Whatever the case may be, it's simply not good for your dog.

#3  Weight Gain

Weight gain is very common amongst dogs that are fed table scraps. This is because our food contains much higher levels of fat and sugar than traditional dry kibble.

It's important to remember that dogs are much smaller than humans. Even a small snack to us can add a lot of unneeded calories to your dog's daily intake.

All of this fat can lead to significant weight gain. Losing weight is much harder than gaining it, so its best to prevent it altogether. Obese dogs are susceptible to a host of additional health problems. 

They can start to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and so much more. In serious cases, human food may also lead to pancreatitis. Inflammation of pancreas can be deadly.

Poisonous Table Scraps

There are a number of foods that are considered toxic for dogs. Many of them are things that we eat every day. It's not uncommon for dogs to be poisoned from table scraps. Here's a list of some foods that should be avoided at all costs.


Perhaps the most well-known, chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. Both are toxic to dogs because their bodies cannot break them down. Eating some chocolate can lead to significant health problems and even death.


Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that's found in many sweet treats. It's usually found in sugar-free candies. Even a small dosage of Xylitol can lead to liver failure and death.


Salt is found in nearly every food. It's more prevalent in junk foods and fried snacks. While a bit of sodium is beneficial, a sudden influx of it into your dog's body can lead to severe dehydration, seizures, and death.

Onions and Garlic

These alliums are also found in many prepared meals because of their unique flavor. They can wreak havoc on a dog's body by destroying their red blood cells. This can lead to anemia and difficulty breathing.


Grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure. The exact reason why this happens is still unknown. However, a single grape can be fatal for a small dog.

Related: Toxic Substances for Dogs

What About Bones?

Bones and dogs go hand-in-hand. Many owners give their dogs the bones from their food instead of throwing them out.

While dogs will do good with store-bought bones, you should not be giving your scraps to your pup. Not only are they covered with the spices you used, but they can also cause physical injury.

As your dog chews it up, they can break the bones into smaller pieces that are sharp to the touch. These small pieces can rupture their stomach lining or intestines during the digestion process. This can lead to internal bleeding, severe infections, and death.

Related: Bully Sticks: What are They Made of?

Over to You

puppies looking up at table whining for food

All in all, you should never give table scraps to your dog. While it may be tempting to give in to those adorable eyes, doing so will do more harm than good.

Not only will it lead to unwanted behavioral problems, but your dog will not benefit from the food at all. They can experience significant health issues and may ingest ingredients that can lead to death.

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About the author 


Steve is a writer with over 10 years of experience in dog training and nutritiion.

His goal is to educate dog owners about the ins and outs of canine behavior as well as keeping up with the latest scientific research in the field.