The season is upon us where we often enjoy festive and indulgent meals amongst our family and friends. While your pets may not be directly included in your holiday meal plans, oftentimes they are a part of the event. Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital wants to be sure that you know how to safely include your furry family member and what holiday food dangers for pets you should be aware of.
Holiday Food Dangers for Pets
There is definitely a naughty list when it comes to holiday food dangers for pets. During your festivities, beware of the following as they are apt to land you in the veterinary emergency room this season:
- Chocolate—A star in many of your favorite seasonal treats, chocolate holds some pretty toxic properties for pets. Theobromine, which is found in higher concentrations in baking and darker chocolates, holds a dose-dependent ability to cause vomiting and diarrhea, increased and irregular heart rate, and potentially deadly seizures at high enough doses.
- Grapes and raisins—Hidden in things like fruitcake, stuffing, and fruit salads, grapes and raisins have the ability to cause kidney failure in our pets.
- Xylitol—This artificial sweetener can be found in anything from sugar-free brownies to the candy dish on the table. Ingestion of xylitol in pets can cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver damage.
- Alcohol—Unattended drinks can be a dangerous temptation for pets who may suffer from low heart rate, low blood sugar, respiratory distress, and seizures after ingesting alcohol.
- Fatty foods and table scraps—Rich foods like butter, gravy, and fatty meat as well as too much to eat can lead to stomach upset and even pancreatitis in our pets.
Including Your Pet in the Celebration
While holiday food dangers for pets are definitely a concern, that doesn’t mean that you can’t include Fido and Fluffy in the celebration!
Take some time to show your pet some special attention by taking them for an extra walk or enjoying a nice snuggle to ring in the holidays. You might also look for a special pet-safe holiday treat or toy for them to enjoy.
There are some holiday foods that you might consider safely sharing in moderation as well. Most veggies sans the butter are a good choice. Dogs often enjoy a small serving of green beans or sweet potato. A small taste of lean meat such as turkey breast is also a good choice if you feel compelled to share.
You should also consider keeping your pet in a quiet, comfortable area away from the commotion during an actual party. The crowd and commotion is often stressful for many animals and is a time where mistakes can happen.
Holiday food dangers for pets are a real concern, but knowing where the dangers lie is a great step in keeping your pet safe. And, as always, call us immediately if you suspect your pet may have ingested something potentially harmful. We hope you and your pets have a safe and festive holiday season.