Holiday Foods for Pets to Avoid

Before you give in to those big, brown eyes and feed your pet that leftover turkey leg or Halloween candy bar, be aware of the harmful and even deadly consequences of feeding “people” food to your pet.

If you are having Thanksgiving Dinner at your house, one way to reduce this temptation is to feed your pet before guests arrive and keep them away from the dinner table. Inform your guests of the house rules regarding your pet, such as not feeding him scraps from the table. Watch out for liquid libations, as some of those can be more harmful than a few extra calories.

Below are some foods that can be harmful to your pet on holidays and year-round:

  • Rich, fatty foods, such as turkey skins or gravy can cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of a digestive gland, and can be very painful and serious, leading to hospitalization. Stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur if pets consume these items. Limit table scraps, and let your guests know as well.
  • Any kind of bone can tear or obstruct your pet’s intestinal tract. Make certain all bones are disposed of properly. Poultry bones can be especially dangerous or even fatal to animals.
  • Often used to tie the turkey during roasting, strings can tie up your pet’s insides, too.
  • Found in abundance in turkey stuffing, onions are toxic and can destroy a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Foods containing high amounts of onion powder should also be avoided.
  • Grapes and raisins are beautiful to look at but harmful to pets. Keep fresh fruits out of reach. Grapes especially contain toxins that can cause kidney failure.
  • Chocolate — especially baking chocolate — can actually kill your dog, so keep all such goodies well out of reach. Chocolate can affect the nervous system and cause urinary system and heart muscle damage in your pet. It also contains theobromine, which can be especially harmful to dogs if ingested in large quantities.
  • Coffee is also dangerous to animals. Watch out for grounds and whole beans.
  • Nicotine is a stimulant that can increase the heart rate leading to collapse, and in the worst case, even death.
  • Alcoholic beverages should be kept away from animals year-round.
  • Watch the string that ties up the turkey or roast, as well as the little red “pop-up” thermometers. Dogs and cats often eat these tasty things, causing intestinal blockage.

In addition, keep all leftover food out of reach in a closed container. Any garbage can contain toxins such as e-coli that can affect your pet’s organs. This includes leftover tinfoil that, when chewed, can obstruct your pet’s intestinal tract.

Click here for the ASPCA’s extensive list of People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets.

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