Holiday Food Safety For Pets

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December 9, 2011

The holidays are right around the corner.  This means it’s crunch time for many of us.  Cleaning, cooking, preparing, travelling, etc. Most people don’t realize the dangers posed to pets by many of the yummy treats that will be circulating around for the next month or so.  As hard as it may be to resist that sweet face, whines, and whimpers … it’s really best to ignore the pleas and not give in.  Holiday food safety for pets is something not to be taken lightly.

I am going to make a simple list of foods and the dangers that they pose for our furry friends.  Holiday food safety for pets is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Even if you’ve “always fed Sparky from the table and nothing bad has ever happened.”  Just heed the warnings and carefully weigh your options, this holiday season.

  • Cooked bones – this should always be an absolute NO NO.  They can splinter and cause major damage to any part of the digestive system.  Only raw bones and avoid poultry bones at all costs.
  • Chocolate – contains a number of chemicals that are toxic and can cause anything from vomiting to toxicity of the heart or nervous system.
  • Fat trimmings – can cause pancreatitis.
  • Grapes, raisins & currants – Contain an unknown toxin that can severely damage kidneys.
  • Macadamia nuts – Contain an unknown toxin that can cause damage to the digestive muscles and the nervous system.
  • Milk and other dairy products – too much can cause diarrhea and other stomach problems.
  • Mushrooms – Can contain toxins that are damaging to multiple body systems, cause shock, and result in death.
  • Onions and garlic – Contain sulfides and disulfides.  Garlic is less toxic than onions.  Even onion powder can pose a risk.  Cooked or uncooked doesn’t matter.  Red blood cells can be damaged, resulting in anemia.  Cats are much more susceptible than dogs.
  • Rhubarb – Contains oxalates.  Digestive, urinary and nervous systems can be damaged.
  • Artificial sweeteners – can cause low blood sugar or even liver failure in dogs.
  • All candies should be avoided – Too much fat, sugar, nuts, and other unknowns that could harm your pet.

In general, it just isn’t a good idea to feed any animal table scraps.  They aren’t nutritionally balanced for pets.  Buy Sparky some special treats to keep on hand for the holidays.  It’s better for everyone in the long run.  This list is not a complete list and we are not veterinarians.  However, it’s a good start to knowing some of the dangers that people food can post to our beloved pets.  Please discuss any questions or concerns with your family veterinarian.

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