Holiday gatherings may be smaller this year, but they remain a time to share traditional savory foods that people love. And, while it’s tempting to indulge pets in festive meals, even just sneaking a taste under the table could cause a pet distress.
Following are some of the foods to avoid sharing with your pet:
• Turkey. While a bite of unseasoned, well-cooked white meat shouldn’t hurt your cat or dog, raw or undercooked turkey, or fatty dark turkey meat, can wreak havoc in your pet’s stomach. Bones are a deeper concern as they are fragile and splinter easily, which can cause issues in your pet’s throat or digestive tract if they are swallowed.
• Garlic and onions. While garlic and onions may be a tasty way to season food, they are toxic to cats and dogs. These pungent items can cause gastrointestinal distress and may cause damage to the red blood cells of your pets.
• Unbaked dough containing yeast. Make sure to keep any unbaked dough out of the reach of your pets. Yeast will cause the dough to continue to rise even after swallowed, which could create a blockage in your pet’s stomach. Also, the natural fermentation of yeast in your cat’s or dog’s stomach could cause alcohol poisoning.
• Alcohol. While a glass of wine or a cocktail might be the perfect complement to your meal, make sure your pet doesn’t get a sip. For cats and dogs, alcohol can cause severe health issues or even death.
• Desserts. Chocolate isn’t the only sweet that could cause health issues for your pet. Grapes, raisins and currants can cause kidney failure in dogs, and experts believe they can affect cats as well.
• Sweeteners. Ingesting the sweetener Xylitol can lead to liver failure in cats and dogs. Xylitol can be found in breath mints, baked goods, some peanut and nut butters, and sugar-free desserts, including “skinny” ice cream.
If you are concerned that your pet has ingested one of the foods mentioned above, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), 888-426-4435, which is the best resource for any animal poison-related emergency; it is open 24/7, 365 days a year.
If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, also call 888-426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.