Watch Out For These Christmas Foods That Can Harm Your Pets

Every year, food-related pet illnesses spike during the long Christmas weekend. That’s because holiday meals can present a minefield of problems for our furry friends. We look forward to Christmas as one of the best meals of the year. One thing you can always count on is the constant presence of excited, hungry pets, looking longingly at the food and begging us for a little bit. There are a lot of dishes that your pets need to avoid, and some of them aren’t obvious. Here’s what you need to know to keep them safe this holiday season.



Feeding pets small bits of white meat, the leanest type of meat, is fine. However, don’t offer your dog or cat any turkey skin. The skin has been seasoned and basted, etc, it has been soaking up flavors that may be toxic to your dog and cat.


Never feed cooked bones to your pets. At best, they can cause vomiting, at the worst, they splinter easily, injuring or even puncture the stomach and intestines. Ouch!


Salmonella is a real threat if you toss your pet a piece of raw or undercooked meat.



The ingredients that go into gravies and stuffing can be a cornucopia of toxicity for dogs and cats. Ingredients such as mushrooms, onions, sage, leeks, chives, garlic, scallions, pepper along with a variety of other ingredients, are toxic to their systems. Some can make your pets feel uncomfortable, some give them upset tummies, some affect their central nervous system, while others can actually kill them. Best just to stay away from sharing.



Cranberries themselves are fine for pets. Cranberries fight urinary tract infections and contain a number of healthy vitamins. When cranberries are turned into a holiday sauce, it turns into something that really isn’t a good idea to share with your fur baby. A lot of sauces contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, raisins, or nuts (walnuts and macadamia nuts are especially not good for animals). There are too many hidden ingredients to make cranberry sauce a good thing to give your pet.



While regular green beans might make a nice, healthy snack for your pet, once you add ingredients like mushroom soup or a fried onion topping, you make this into a dish that you don't want dogs and cats to partake in.



Remember what happens to dough when it gets warm? It rises. And you don’t want that happening inside the stomach of a dog or cat. There will be vomiting and painful abdominal bloating. Bread dough and cake batter also often contain raw eggs, which can carry salmonella. Neither pets nor humans should eat these things in their raw state.


Yes, cookie dough batter, I’m talking to you, too. Sorry.



Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are just fine for pets, in-fact, veterinarians often recommend raw pumpkin to settle a nervous digestive system. The problem arises when it is made into a pie or casserole.


Most recipes for pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie call for nutmeg and cinnamon. Nutmeg contains a toxin called myristicin, which in large amounts can cause seizures and problems with the central nervous system. Cinnamon if ingested in large powdered amounts or via an essential oil, can cause diarrhea, liver disease, vomiting, and low blood sugar. Dogs that eat too much can even die. It is best to steer clear of these for your pets Christmas plate.




Christmas Day is a day for fun, friends, and family. If you want to include your dog or cat in the food extravaganza, here are a few things that will cheer them up and make them part of the festivities:


  • Raw carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Bits of well-cooked white meat (no skin or gravy!!)


Feed pets only reasonable amounts of any safe people-food treats. Be sure you know what ingredients are in the foods you’re letting your pets eat. Do right by your furry friends so they’ll be around to enjoy many future Christmas Days by your side.



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