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Six holiday foods that could harm your pets

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing a bit of ham or turkey, other staples of the holiday season could upset your pet’s stomach, or even land you and your pet in the veterinary emergency room. Here are some common holiday foods that should be off limits for your pets.

Story by Bea Conrad

The holiday season may be about fun and family, but it is also about food. From the grand Thanksgiving Day feast and that delicious Christmas Day baked ham to the inviting aroma of pumpkin pie and cookies, the holiday season is chock full of great things to eat.

If you share your home with some four-footed family members, they will no doubt be begging at the table, and guilting you into sharing the leftovers from the holiday feast. While there is nothing wrong with sharing a bit of ham or turkey, other staples of the holiday season could upset your pet’s stomach, or even land you and your pet in the veterinary emergency room. Here are some common holiday foods that should be off limits for your pets.

 

ANYTHING WITH XYLITOL
From pre-packaged sweets and fresh-baked cookies and pies to processed foods like peanut butter, this common sweetener shows up in some surprising places. No matter where it is found, xylitol can be deadly to dogs, so read the label carefully before sharing any holiday food.

GRAPES AND RAISINS
You might not think that bunch of grapes or plate of oatmeal raisin cookies would be dangerous, but they could cause severe kidney damage in your dog. Both grapes and raisins have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs, so hide that fruit plate before Fido comes out to play.

CHOCOLATE
By now most pet owners know that chocolate is off limits, but your non-pet owning friends may not realize the danger. When the neighbors come over with a big box of chocolates or the relatives show up with a plate of chocolate chip cookies, make sure they do not slip any to your dog. You do not want to be spending Christmas at the vet clinic.

ONION, GARLIC, ETC.
Onions and garlic may look harmless, and they are for humans. Your pets, on the other hand, could suffer greatly from eating not only garlic and onions but related foods like leeks and scallions. This class of foods is associated with a dangerous form of toxic anemia, and it is especially dangerous for dogs. Onion, garlic, leeks and scallions are staples of many holiday recipes, so think carefully before offering Fido a snack.

MACADAMIA NUTS
Many people cannot make it through the holiday season without a big plate of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, but offering those sweet treats to your pets is a bad idea. Macadamia nuts can be harmful to both cats and dogs, so store these snacks where Fluffy and Fido cannot reach them.

ALCOHOL
This one should be self-explanatory, and no responsible pet owner would deliberately get their animals drunk. Even so, alcoholic beverages and baked goods made with alcohol are a staple of the holiday season, and many curious cats and dogs have imbibed without their owners’ knowledge of consent. Enjoy as much adult beverages as you like this holiday season – just make sure your pet stays sober.

Staying away from these dangerous foods will make the holiday season safer for your pets, so pay attention to what you serve and make sure your guests know that table scraps are off limits unless you give your express permission.

Even for foods that are not toxic, it is best to proceed with caution. Allowing your pet to overindulge could be bad for the digestive system, and that stomach upset could cost you a trip to the vet, and a lot of money.