We are in the holiday season! This means enjoying delicious feasts and tasty desserts. It is important to remember that many holiday foods can be harmful to your furry family members. We know this is a chaotic season filled with shopping, cooking, decorating, etc. In order to make the holidays a little less stressful, make sure you learn what types of holiday food favorites may be hazardous to your pets!
As most pet owners may know, chocolate can be very toxic to your pets! Specifically, dark, semi-sweet, and baker’s chocolate contain high amounts of theobromine, which is extremely harmful to many pets. Always beware of foods with hidden chocolate such as chocolate chip cookies, chocolate coating, or chocolate covered raisins.
Sugar-free treats contain Xylitol, a type of sweetener that is toxic to many pets. Certain foods that may contain hidden Xylitol include certain peanut butters, gum, and sugar free candy.
Leftovers (Fatty Foods)
High fat foods can cause severe pancreatitis. The pancreas produces digestive enzymes that are crucial for food digestion, and insulin, which controls blood sugar levels. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain requiring hospitalization. We also have to worry about chicken bones and other scraps that can get stuck and cause an obstruction. Make sure to take out the trash right away to avoid tempting animals to get into it. Also, put left overs away quickly before they are stolen off the counter.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins can be found in fruitcake, which is served popularly during the holidays. Not all dogs or cats may be affected by the ingestion of grapes or raisins, but this fruit has the potential to be life threatening to your pets, as it may lead to acute kidney failure.
Be aware of certain toxic vegetables such as onions, garlic, and chives which can be life threatening in severe cases to your furry family members.
Packaging such as wrapping paper and tinsel can be just as harmful as certain toxic foods. Tinsel or ornaments can get ingested, especially by cats, and can lead to obstruction or urgent surgery for your pet! Also, holly and mistletoe can cause mild to moderate toxicity, irritation of mouth (drooling, lip smacking), vomiting, and diarrhea. More seriously, it can cause difficulty breathing and heart disease.
In order to help avoid your pets from these toxicities, make sure to only feed them their own foods or pet-approved treats; it is not worth the suffering on your and your pet’s part! Make sure to keep all chocolate and other treats in an area that cannot be reached by your pets. Do not leave trash bags out where your pets could potentially rip them up. Finally, if you are using plants as decoration for holidays, do your research before bringing certain plants in the home or stick to artificial plants!