The holiday season has arrived, and what better time to celebrate around the dinner table? Most holiday celebrations are centered around food, and while you may be tempted to let your furry family members join in on the celebrating, it’s best to avoid giving your pets holiday foods. Here are some reminders of items that can be harmful or toxic to your pets when ingested. Also, we have some alternatives for your pets to indulge safely!

Foods to Avoid:

  1. Bones, Fat, and Skin: Turkeys, hams, and meats, oh my! Often the scraps from the main course of our holiday meals seem like they would be the perfect treat for Fluffy; but think again. Bones can easily splinter and can perforate intestines, stomachs, mouths, and intestinal tracts. Larger bones can cause intestinal blockages. Fat and skin can cause pancreatitis in dogs.

  2. Alcohol: This one seems like a no-brainer, but be aware of where you and your guests are placing your alcoholic beverages. It’s easy to become unmindful while at a holiday party and place your drink in an area that is easily accessible for a pet.

  3. Chocolate: Most pet owners are aware that chocolate can be very dangerous for their pets. Keep in mind that baking chocolate and dark chocolate varieties, which make a popular appearance around the holidays, are far more dangerous for pets.

  4. Onions, garlic, scallions, leeks, etc.: Alliums, the food group which contains onions, garlic, and many other popular herbs and flavors used in holiday foods, are dangerous in any form (raw, cooked, powdered, dried, etc.). If your pet eats too much of these it can cause potentially dangerous anemia (low red blood cell count) that may lead to organ damage, organ failure, or even death.

  5. Grapes and Raisins: These fruits have been found to cause liver failure in some pets when consumed. Be sure to keep your pet away from these.

Try This Instead:

*Before you give your pet any table-food, be sure to check with your veterinarian. Keep in mind that many pets have gastrointestinal sensitivities and any change in diet can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

  1. Small amounts of lean, de-boned meat, such as turkey or duck. Be sure there is no excess fat, skin, gravy, etc.

  2. Dollop of unsweetened pumpkin puree

  3. Steamed, unseasoned carrots or green beans

  4. Cooked, plain sweet potato