Do you feed your pets at the table? I’m not talking about feeding them table scraps- I mean do you allow your pets to sit at the table and eat with human companions? It’s a controversial subject and one that is sure stir up lots of opinions.
My quest to better understand pet table etiquette came from a conversation with a friend (also a pet lover) about a dinner party she attended where the host held her dog on her lap and allowed it to eat off of her plate during dinner. The pampered pooch was virtually sharing a plate with the host. My friend was appalled and her own appetite was reduced.
Why, she asked me later, would a pet owner think that it is okay to allow a dog to eat at the table with humans? And why would a pet owner think that invited guests would want to eat off of dishes that were shared with a dog?
I remember a popular culture firestorm erupted during an episode of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, when one of the ladies allowed their ridiculously dressed dog to drink from an expensive, gold-rimmed crystal goblet at the table. The host, a dog owner herself, could not believe the dog was allowed to drink at the table and the dog owner was surprised by all the fuss.
I love my dog and have been known to spoil her in some ways. But I sit firmly in the camp that dogs are pets, and while they are to be loved and cared for, they should not be humanised. I don’t set a place for my dog at the table and I don’t even share dishes with her. When we are out and about I enjoy bringing her to pet-friendly cafes but this does not mean we split a cappuccino and cake. My dog enjoys a bit of water and maybe a treat while she rests comfortably at my feet.
People can do what they please in their own house and if that means setting a place at the table for Fido Dog or Tabby Cat then the choice is yours. But consideration should be extended to your invited guests that may not have the same comfort level as yourself.
5 Tips for Pet Table Etiquette
1. If you do give your dog table scraps or feed them from the table (which is a well-accepted pet no-no but that’s a different debate) think about keeping the dog outside, in another room or otherwise restrained when you have guests over for dinner.
2. Animals can carry bacteria and diseases that are potentially harmful to humans. Ensure that all dishes are clean before serving food to your guests. Even better, consider using separate dishes for your furry friends (if you must share table food you can always scrape food into a pet dish rather than allowing them to eat from serving dishes)
3. Familiarise yourself with the lists of foods that are potentially dangerous to your pet. Ensure that these are kept well away from your pet, especially if you have encouraged them to partake in table food. They won’t know what is potentially harmful to them.
4. When dining out with your dog at a pet-friendly café, tie your leash to your chair rather than the table leg. This can help to avoid any spills or broken dishes.
5. Never allow you pet to eat from the restaurant’s dishes or cutlery.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips for Pet Table Etiquette? What about pet owner horror stories- or maybe unforgiving guests? We’d love to hear your tips or comments.