Drop It!! The pet owners guide to holiday food.

Holiday season is officially in full swing and we all know that means eating large quantities of delicious foods. From Christmas hams to Hanukkah latkes, every family has those foods that are essential to the experience of the holidays. But as a friendly reminder, we wanted to highlight ASPCA’s list of human food that can be dangerous for your household pets.

  • While alcohol can be fun when safely consumed by humans, do not give your pet any booze. Alcohol can cause “vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death” when consumed by animals.  
  • Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine often contain methylxanthine, a compound found in cacao seeds. This can cause “vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death” when consumed by your pet, so be extra careful to clean up after making cookies or hot chocolate.
  • This year’s trendy fruit, the avocado, should also not be given to your pet. It contains a toxin called persin and can cause serious stomach upset.
  • Citrus fruit, along with their stems, leaves, peels, and essential oils, can cause “central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts” with your pet.
  • Grapes and raisins contain an unknown toxin that can cause liver failure in dogs, so be sure to be careful when making that famous fruit cake of yours.
  • Though small amounts of coconut and coconut oil can be harmless, large amounts can cause stomach upset, loose stools, and diarrhea with pets, so be cautious and monitor their consumption.
  • The consumption of any onions, garlic, or chives, especially by cats, can lead to “red blood cell damage” and “gastrointestinal irritation.”
  • Milk and dairy can also cause stomach upset in pets due to the lack of lactase in animals making it hard to break down the lactose.
  • Most nuts have high levels of fats and oils which can cause pancreatitis, vomiting and diarrhea. Especially keep those pets away from macadamia nuts which will cause “weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs.”  
  • Raw or undercooked meat and eggs can contain Salmonella and E. coli which is just as harmful to your pets as it can be to humans. And while bones seem like a natural treat for your pet, they can easily splinter and puncture the digestive tract or cause choking, so please refrain from giving them any.
  • Salty foods, like potato chips or crackers, can cause dehydration, excessive thirst, or sodium ion poisoning.
  • Another tricky one to avoid is Xylitol, a sweetener used in many products “including gum, candy, baked goods, and toothpaste.” This chemical is creates an insulin release that can lead to liver failure and hypoglycemia.
  • Lastly, yeast dough can rise within your pet’s stomach which can cause gas, bloating, and even twisting which can be a life-threatening emergency.

To ensure your holidays are merry and bright, we recommend making sure your pet cannot get ahold of any of the foods listed above. If your pet does ingest something and is feeling unwell, please note the amount ingested and call a veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center immediately.