Before you give in to those gorgeous, pleading eyes and
feed your pet that leftover turkey leg or Halloween candy bar, be aware of the
harmful and even deadly consequences of feeding “people” food to any companion
One way to reduce this temptation is to feed your pet before
guests arrive, so your pet will be less likely to beg and steal food. Inform
your guests of the house rules regarding your pet, such as not feeding him
scraps from the table. Also, if your guests smoke, be extra vigilant and keep
nicotine and alcohol out of your pet’s reach. These can be highly toxic -- even
Below are some foods that can be harmful to your pet on holidays
• Rich, fatty foods, such as turkey skins or gravy can cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of
a digestive gland, and can be very painful and serious, leading to hospitalization. Stomach upset,
vomiting, and diarrhea can occur if pets consume these items. Limit table
scraps, and let your guests know as well.
• Any kind of bone can tear or obstruct your pet's intestinal tract. Make
certain all bones are disposed of properly. Poultry bones can be especially dangerous
or even fatal to animals.
• Often used to tie the turkey during roasting, strings can tie up your pet's insides, too.
• Found in abundance in turkey stuffing, onions are toxic and
can destroy a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. Foods containing high
amounts of onion powder should also be avoided.
• Grapes and raisins are beautiful to look at but harmful to pets. Keep toxins that can cause kidney failure.
• Chocolate -- especially baking chocolate --
can actually kill your dog, so keep all such goodies well out of reach.
Chocolate can affect the nervous system and cause urinary system and heart
muscle damage in your pet. It also contains theobromine, which can be especially
harmful to dogs if ingested in large quantities.
• Coffee is also dangerous to animals. Watch out for grounds and whole beans.
• Nicotine is a stimulant that can increase the heart rate leading to
collapse, and in the worst case, even death.
• Alcoholic beverages should be kept away from animals year-round.
• Watch the string that ties up the turkey or roast, as well as the little red "pop-up"
thermometers. Dogs and cats often eat these tasty things, causing intestinal
In addition, keep all leftover food out of reach in a closed
container. Any garbage can contain toxins such as e-coli that can affect your
pet's organs. This includes leftover tinfoil that, when chewed, can obstruct
your pet’s intestinal tract.
Safe Ways to Celebrate
Make the holidays special for your pet. Provide your pet some extra love and
attention to let them know they’re not forgotten during busy holiday
• Take your dog for an extra walk -- it’ll help both you and
your pet relieve some of that holiday stress.
• Keep a supply of pet treats handy and reach for one before you’re
tempted to toss your pet that little bite of “people” food.
• Let your pet get into the gift-giving spirit by making a donation (e.g., food, litter, toys)
to your local shelter in his name.
• Perhaps your dog would like a new bed, or your cat a new scratching post. Birds love
mirrors or other fun items for the cage. Get creative!
Holidays can bring stress to all of us, and pets are no exception. When routines
are disrupted and new activities occur, your pet may be the first to notice. Follow
these tips to make the holidays more relaxing for everyone, including
your companion animals.
• Shy animals can get stressed with the hustle and bustle
of holiday guests, so provide a quiet room where your pets can escape the hustle
and bustle. Provide plenty of food and water and let your pet catch up on some
• Holiday guests may not know your pets' routines. If your
guests smoke, make sure they are careful with their cigarettes. Also, let them
know in advance whether they are allowed to give treats to your animals.
• As your holiday visitors come and go, or as trick-or-treaters come to
your door, there will be many escape opportunities for your pets. Make sure that
your pets always wear identification tags, and watch the door!
• Always keep your veterinarian’s number handy, along with the number of
the animal poison control center, in case of emergency.
*adapted from www.americanhumane.org