Holiday Pet Safety: Foods to KEEP AWAY from Your Dog

November 22, 2017

It's the Holidays! That means potlucks, family dinners and delicious food...lots of it. For dogs, this time of year is their favorite. Not only does their whole family get to skip work/school and stay home to play, but everyone is feeling extra generous with table scraps. Even though a table scrap here or there is fine as a treat, it's important to remember that what's good for you may not be good for your dog.

Here is a list of some commonly served dishes that you should avoid giving your dog this holiday season.

Bad Holiday Foods for Dogs

1. NO Turkey, Chicken, or Ribs (Unless You Remove All the Bones) for Dogs: 

Your little guy or gal may be eyeing and salivating over that turkey leg or rack of ribs for hours, but that doesn't mean you should let them have it. Always make sure that any meat that you give your dog(s) is in moderation, skinless, and BONELESS. We can't stress the importance of removing bones from meat - check out this Consumer Alert from the FDA about the dangers of giving bones to your dog. 

2. NO Ice Cream, Cheese, or Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Butter for Dogs

You may have noticed that your dog(s) LOVE ice cream and milk-based yummy foods, like mashed potatoes or mac n cheese. These dairy-laden foods are all over the place during the holidays and dogs often find them tempting. But most people don't know that a majority of dogs are lactose-intolerant. Though moderate amounts of lactose are not usually toxic, lactose can cause digestive upset and abdominal pain. Unless you know that your dog can handle dairy, you should avoid giving him or her any dairy-based foods. A safe alternative that's great for all dogs? These days many grocery stores and pet stores sell dog-specific ice cream that's lactose-free and delicious.

3. NO Bread Pudding, Plum Tarts or Pumpkin Pie for Dogs: 

That leftover bread pudding full of raisins? It can cause your dog's kidneys to fail. Plums have also been shown to have a similar effect. Not to mention both of these desserts have way too much dairy and fat, both of which can cause problems for your dog's sensitive stomach. And as for that yummy pumpkin pie? It's a big no no, because pumpkin pie usually has dairy and nutmeg. Nutmeg is another spice that should never be given to dogs because it can be fatal. 

4. NO Foods that Use Fake Sugar for Dogs: 

If you've been watching your waistline, make sure those sugar-free cookies or jams never make to your dog's mouth. Xylitol (i.e. fake sugar) is deadly to dogs and should be kept only within human's reach. Even small amounts can cause your dog's organs to shut down. 

5. NO Dishes with Mushrooms for Dogs: 

Got that extra portabella mushroom that never made it onto a vegetarian burger? Don't give it to your dog! Dogs process foods differently than humans, and many varieties of mushrooms can be poisonous to them. Instead of playing guesswork on which mushrooms are safe and which are not, just avoid giving your dog any item which has mushrooms in it.  

6. NO Dishes with Onions, Onion Powder, Garlic, Leeks, or Chives for Dogs:

Most people know that onions and garlic are bad for dogs- these foods contain sulphate which is toxic to dogs and can land them in the emergency room. But people sometimes forget that these ingredients are hidden inside their holiday dishes. Even small amounts that are undetectable can be disastrous. If that delicious stuffing you made has any kind of onions or onion powder in it (many boxed stuffings do have dehydrated onions), do not let it reach your dog's bowl!

This list is by no means exhaustive. The best option is always to give your dog his or her regular food, monitor your dog's diet carefully (and under the supervision of a veterinarian), and only serve tried and true foods that you know are safe and allergen-free. 

For more information, a more complete list of poisonous foods and items can also be viewed at Animal Poison Control Center website.