13 Foods for Pets to Avoid During the Holidays

Super Smiley, blog dog here, and I love me some holidays! All the smells, the food…

But I know we dogs aren’t supposed to eat whatever we want. That’s why we have people around – to help us curb our enthusiasm – for food!!!

So here’s the scoop. There are a lot of holiday foods that you have right at your tables that can make us very sick, and some things that we can eat in small amounts, but more is not better!

So let me start on a positive note and say that there are some things on your holiday table that are OK for us to eat…provided they are not cooked with additives, spices, salt or anything else. Cooked plain, these things can actually be good for us. These include:

  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Rice
  • Lean skinless, boneless turkey

After you read what we can’t eat here, go to my October blog about all the “people food” we can enjoy. With that, I’ll turn it over to Megan for the “leave it” list.

Good boy Super Smiley. I know that was hard. It’s Megan here now with the info on holiday foods we all will probably be serving that can make our pets very sick and possibly cause death. Important and good to know!

First, like people, some pets may be more sensitive to otherwise safe foods. With these pets, even a simple change in diet can cause intestinal distress.

  1. Avoid giving plates of scraps or greasy food that may seem oh-so-good, like super moist turkey, turkey juice or skin.
  2. Foods with spices or glazes (like glazed ham) may contain chemicals that are toxic to pets. So avoid all foods with any additives, glazes or gravies.
  3. Many candies, cake mixes, chewing gums, meat glazes, and all sorts of products like protein powders contain xylitol, which is poisonous to pets. So be extra careful to not let them eat any foods that you don’t screen very carefully.
  4. Stuffing may hide pet poisons. Onions are so good and very common in stuffing. But they are toxic to pets and may cause toxic anemia.
  5. Raisins and grapes are a big NO. They can cause kidney failure and death. They are prolific during the holidays in stuffing, desserts, breads and just by themselves. They are so toxic, and are so easily unnoticed when dropped; I don’t even bring raisins into my house.
  6. Wine is made from grapes and also is a big no, just as is all alcohol. Pets are smaller than humans, and the effects of alcohol are heightened in their bodies in addition to the poisoning effect of the grapes.
  7. Speaking of fruits: Fruit pits, especially peach, plum and cherry, contain deadly cyanide, and they are the perfect size to be choking hazards.
  8. Nutmeg is another holiday favorite that can cause pet heart arrhythmia and tremors.
  9. Cooked bones are a no. Bones that are cooked have dried to the point that they can splinter, and so should never be given to pets.
  10. Salty snacks can cause sodium ion poisoning and can be fatal.
  11. Chocolate is something that by now we all have heard can kill dogs. Baking chocolate is even more dangerous. Chocolate can cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and death.
  12. Macadamia nuts are poisonous to pets also.
  13. Milk is good for young pups and kittens, but when our pets get older, they lack the digestive enzymes to break milk down properly. So, skip the bowl of milk.

Be prepared!

  1. It’s a great idea to have the ASPCA poison control phone number close at hand in case your dog ingests one of these foods or is exhibiting trembling, drooling or distress. (888) 426-4435.
  2. Also, have your 24-hour emergency vet address and phone number on hand.
  3. And, make sure your guests are not feeding your pets “yummy” treats and  be extra diligent about picking up any spilled food before your dog or cat gets to it first.

Like Super Smiley said, there are some holiday foods that are OK for your pet to eat, provided the foods don’t have any additives, gravies, glazes, onions, raisins, butter, salt, sweeteners…or anything added. These safe foods include green beans, plain mashed potatoes, plain rice and lean skinless, boneless turkey.

For more details on these yummy things your pet can enjoy, visit our October blog on 10 Odd Foods That Are Great for Dogs.

Give them what helps them, keep the rest away, practice a good “leave it,“ and happy holidays!

Until Next Time,
Woof and Super Smiles from
Super Smiley and Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach®

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