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Dangerous Foods to Avoid During the Holidays

Posted by Joe Morton on

Dog and Cat at Thanksgiving table

We are heading towards holiday season full speed ahead! The foods that we look forward to all year are almost upon us, but it’s important to remember that what we feed ourselves and what we can feed our pets greatly differs. While we may want to give our pets food scraps as a festive way to make them feel included, most human foods are not fit for animal consumption.

Be sure to check in with any visitors about keeping the feast on top of the table rather than under it! 

Sneaking treats all day (even healthy, pet-approved treats) can lead to an unbalanced diet. Make sure to also keep any garbage away from pets -- cats and dogs have been known to dig through trash so be sure the garbage is secure.

Rancid food can make any pet sick, as well as exposure to raw bacteria. If your garbage doesn’t have a lock-top, try keeping it behind a closed door.

Check out this list of common dangerous foods for your animals before you treat them to a little holiday snack.

Charcuterie Plate

  • Cooked bones--After being cooked bones become brittle and are more likely to splinter. This can lead to a number of serious hazards, such as choking, internal puncture from the bone, or impaction. 
  • Alcohol--Even a small amount will cause liver damage. Can cause intoxication, liver damage, pancreatitis, coma, seizures, and even death. 
  • Grapes and raisins--May lead to kidney damage or failure, or even death. 
  • Nuts--Contain high amounts of oils and fats. Can cause toxic reactions such as vomiting, shaking, lethargy, and the inability to stand/walk. Particularly macadamia  almonds, pecans, and walnuts. 
  • Salty Snack Foods--Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. 
  • Raw dough or batter--Raw dough plus an animal's body heat can actually cause the dough to rise inside their bodies, producing severe stomach pain and bloating.  The yeast produces ethanol as a by-product and a dog ingesting raw bread dough can become drunk. Salmonella is also a risk due to raw egg. 
  • Onions and garlic--These ingredients contain sulfides that are toxic to your pets, destroying their red blood cells, which has been known to lead to anemia.
  • Sage--Can cause serious stomach upset and damage to the central nervous system.
  • Nutmeg--Often found on sweet potatoes, yams, or desserts, nutmeg has mild hallucinogenic properties that can cause seizures, coma, and severe damage to your pet's central nervous system.
  • Chocolate--Never give your pets chocolate! In any form chocolate contains theobromine which is extremely toxic and can cause heart problems, tremors, seizures, and death. 

While some foods such as pumpkin or sweet potatoes can be a beneficial additive to your pets meal, make sure it is steamed and unsweetened and free of any seasonings! Same goes for turkey -- a little bit of the plain breast meat makes a healthy treat, but the skin is fatty and any seasoning can cause internal upset.

Keeping your pet out of the kitchen and away from temptation is a great way to avoid any accidents. Try keeping them occupied with their favorite chewy toy or treat.

Have a safe and happy holiday!