Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of great joy, celebration, family get-togethers, and food. Lots and lots of food. And on occasion, no matter how many people you invite over for that big dinner, you somehow end up with a huge pile of leftovers. Meantime, your dog has been begging by the tableside all weekend long, hungering for those sweet-smelling morsels. Now that everyone’s gone home, what could it hurt to share the scraps with him? Well…it can hurt quite a bit, in fact.
A good many holiday foods are not safe for pets to consume. Some items—such as plain turkey, plain macaroni, or plain green beans—are perfectly fine more often than not, but other, more flavorful meals should never wind up in their food bowls. The smell may be tantalizing and they might even like the taste, but ingesting certain ingredients can prove harmful—even fatal—to our animal friends.
Here are 7 holiday food items you should never give to your pets.
This one you might already be aware of, but it’s worth repeating: Never feed pets chocolate! It’s not exactly healthy for people and it’s just plain poisonous for pets. Consumption of chocolate and its ingredients—which include caffeine and the chemical theobromine—can result in seizures and even death. It is unsafe to eat for both cats and dogs, though cats are less likely to be attracted to the smell.
You might’ve also heard dark chocolate is more dangerous for pets to eat than milk or white chocolate. This is true. To give an example: eight ounces of milk chocolate can easily ail a 50-pound canine; for a dog of the same weight, the same sickness will form after eating a single ounce of dark chocolate! And while dark chocolate is considerably more hazardous for pets to consume than milk or white chocolate, it’s best to just avoid sharing with them altogether.
2. Macadamia Nuts
Consumption of these nuts can lead to depression, vomiting, lack of coordination, joint stiffness, and even temporary paralysis in the hind parts of the body. Macadamia nuts are sometimes an ingredient in cookies, so add cookies to the list of holiday snacks not to share with your pets. (As an alternative, give them a cookie-shaped pet treat!)
3. Unbaked Bread Dough
Do your pets hang around the kitchen counter while you cook? If so, you’ve probably given them a shard of plain chicken or a bit of plain turkey now and then. There’s no harm in this, but one cooking item you should avoid sharing is uncooked bread dough. Since it expands when eaten, dough has the capacity to twist the stomach and cut off blood supply. If this occurs, emergency surgery will be required to save your pet’s life.
4. Treats Containing Xylitol
You should keep sugar-free gum, candy, and mints off the floor and out of reach from your pets. These products contain a sugar alcohol known as xylitol. Eating xylitol triggers, for pets, a sudden release of insulin, a plummet in blood sugar, and possible liver damage. It can also claim the life of your pet if the poisoning goes untreated.
What’s more, it’s quick-acting. Symptoms show up fast. A sick pet will become lethargic and start vomiting in fifteen minutes or less!
Pies contain a variety of ingredients, and some of these are not safe for pets to ingest. Pumpkin pie, for instance, contains spices, sugar, and dairy products—which can lead to an upset stomach. Pecan pie, to provide another example, is high in fat and sugar content. This is practically a guarantee for diarrhea, upset stomachs, and a compulsion to vomit. What’s more, nuts (such as pecans) can easily become lodged in a pet’s intestines.
So long story short: pie should be eaten by humans and humans alone.
6. Mashed Potatoes
Now, hear us out on this one! Mashed potatoes, in and of itself, is not a dish necessarily harmful for animals to eat. However, some of the ingredients which get mixed into the recipe for our satisfaction might not agree with our furry friends’ stomachs. Garlic and onion powder are toxic to animals, and butter and milk will produce diarrhea for any pets experiencing lactose intolerance. So before you share your leftover mashed potatoes, consider any extra ingredients you mixed in for flavor. It might not all be safe.
Some of the ingredients for this delicious meal: onions, scallions, and garlic. All toxic to animals and unsafe for them to consume. Do not share with your pets.