Christmas Foods to Avoid or Share With Your Pet

December 20th 2018

By Dr. Dirk Dekens

The Christmas season can be a time of indulgence, especially when it comes to food. However, our pets have a much harder time digesting foreign foods and are susceptible to toxicity if they ingest the wrong foods. It is very important to always share table food in moderation. Overfeeding your pet, even with food that is safe for them is bound to make them sick.

If your pet has any food allergies or sensitivities it is important to check in with your vet before feeding them anything new.
Below we share what is safe and unsafe to give to your cat or dog from Christmas dinner.  

What can my cat or dog eat from Christmas dinner?

It is a nice feeling to treat our pets at Christmas and there are festive foods you can share.
Keep in mind that it is best to give food with the least amount of seasoning and to avoid giving them foods that could have been cross-contaminated with unsafe foods.
It is also important to avoid giving them food with a lot of sugar, so for example, cranberries are good for cats and dogs, but cranberry sauce is full of sugar. Rather than give your pet cranberry sauce from the table, you could cook some cranberries with just water for them.
Carrots are also tough to digest for many cats and dogs, so it’s advisable to give them cooked carrots.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are also alright for your pets in small quantity, but they shouldn’t be fed mashed potatoes because all of the milk, butter and seasoning can make their stomach upset and cause diarrhea.
Also keep in mind, introducing your pet to new foods can be a shock to their digestive system. So, if you do want to share from the supper table at Christmas time, keep the portions small and remember dogs and cats do well with more meat and a little bit of vegetables.
Here is a list of Christmas dinner food you can share with your pets:
  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Cranberries
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes (not mashed potatoes)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peas
  • Butternut squash
  • Brussel sprouts 

Christmas foods that are unsafe for pets

There are some Christmas foods that can have dire consequences for your pets.
Onions and garlic, including the dried powder forms, are toxic to cats and dogs and can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. Don't feed your pet anything cooked with garlic or onion, including stuffing and turkey. Ingesting onion can cause hemolytic anemia, or damage to their red blood cells, a potentially fatal illness. Likewise garlic is poisonous to dogs and cats and can kill them.
Chocolates, sweets with xylitol and raisins are also toxic and can be fatal for pets. It’s important to keep your treats hidden somewhere your pets cannot get into.
Avoid too much fat, whether its dairy fat or meat fat, that can upset your dog or cat’s digestion. Don’t feed them mashed potatoes or gravy.
Dogs and cats should not be fed cooked bones. They splinter easily and cause cuts and punctures in your pet’s digestive system.
If your dog or cat does get into any poisonous food take them to the closest emergency vet hospital or clinic.
Here is a list of foods to NOT share with your dog or cat:
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Fat/Grease
  • Gravy
  • Cooked bones
  • Raisins
  • Chocolate
  • Sweets with xylitol
Sharing the delicious foods of the season is one of the best parts of the holidays, but a sick dog or cat can ruin the fun. We hope this blog helps you serve up a healthy and balanced Christmas dinner for your pet with no after effects.
If you have any questions about what is best diet for your pet, we offer nutritional counseling. We can create a custom diet for your pet that will help them stay at the optimal weight and help address a number of health concerns. Call us at 403-615-8016 to make an appointment.
Have a great holiday with your family and fur family.

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