With the holidays upon us, so are fun times with family, friends, and our pets. Often times, we find ourselves at various lunches and dinners, and may be tempted to share our holiday treats with them. However, some common foods can be harmful, or outright toxic to our pets, and should be avoided. See what things to avoid this holiday season, and what you can give your pet to enjoy instead.

Common Foods to Avoid This Holiday

  • Poultry Bones: Hollow chicken and turkey bones, whether raw or cooked, can easily be splintered and swallowed by your pets. This can cause both obstruction of the airway or GI tract, as well as damage to the GI lining.
  • Overly Salted Leftovers: What may taste amazing to people can be harmful to your pet. Overly salty foods may cause problems with the kidneys, or can lead to digestive upset. Small pets, such as birds and pocket pets are especially prone to this.
  • Garlic/Onion Dishes: While small amounts may not cause much issue, large amounts of garlic and onion can cause problems with your pet’s internal organs, leading to organ failure.
  • Chocolate and Other Sweets: While most people know chocolate, especially darker chocolates, are toxic, other sweets, especially those with artificial sugars such as xylitol, can be fatal. They can cause liver and kidney damage, or even failure leading to death.
  • Fatty Foods: High-fat foods may taste great and feel nice in our own stomachs, however, they can be harmful to your pet. Too-high of fat content can lead to issues such as pancreatitis, which can be harmful and very painful.
  • Spoiled Food: If you don’t want to eat those leftovers, don’t give them to your pet! Spoiled food can cause severe digestive upset, which may land your pet in the hospital.

Signs Your Pet May Have Eaten Something Bad

Common signs that your pet may have eaten something bad or toxic can include: vomiting, diarrhea, tender abdomen, choking or coughing, pawing at the mouth or nose, blood in the stool or vomit, loss of appetite, lethargy, attempting to vomit or defecate without results, fever, and more.

If you see your pet exhibiting any of these signs, it is best to seek veterinary care immediately. Often, these conditions are considered medical emergencies, and care should be sought immediately before any more damage can be done. 

Safe Alternatives

Luckily, there are a lot of safer alternatives you can give your pet this holiday. Homemade treats made with flour and peanut butter and baked into bone shapes make a great alternative to cakes and pastries. Bits of lunch meat, unseasoned chicken, or hot dogs are a great fix for that meat-eating pet. Also, fresh fruits and veggies always go over well. For store-bought options, finding a favorite chewy treat, or even an attention-grabbing chew toy can help your pet fixate on that instead of your holiday dinner. 

It’s always best to err on the side of caution and avoid giving your pet any food you think might be unsafe. Giving safe alternatives to common foods, keeping an eye on children that may slip Fido some leftovers, and monitoring your pet for signs of illness are all great ways to ensure everyone stays healthy and happy this holiday season.


All images provided by Creative Commons/Pixabay