Merritt Milam | November 1, 2018

The holiday season is almost here and between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve families will enjoy lots of delicious food. Unfortunately, a lot of these items are not good for our pets and can actually be dangerous. I know the feeling…your pet is patiently sitting by the table as you enjoy your holiday feast.  You decide a small bite won’t hurt; so, you give your pup a taste, then another…and another – until they, too, have had a meal of their own.

Before you entertain the idea of including your pet at the dinner table or with scraps from the meal, check out this list of the 10 most dangerous traditional holiday foods for your pet.

Poultry Bones

When you cook poultry, the bones become dehydrated and brittle. If your pet eats these they will easily break and can splinter, causing punctures in their stomach or intestines. Make sure you dispose of the poultry completely so pets can’t get a taste by counter surfing or from the trash can.

Turkey Skin

Many holiday foods like turkey skin and gravy, are high in fat content. These items can be difficult for pets to digest and cause a painful disease called pancreatitis. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness.


We’re not suggesting you typically pour your pet a tall beer while your watching the big game together, but you would be surprised how your pet can sneak a sip. Alcohol is significantly more toxic to pets than it is to people. Make sure you keep your (and your guests) drinks out of reach of your pet. They’ll enjoy the holiday game much better without it.


Onions contain thiosulphate, which causes red blood cells to burst in cats and dogs; this can lead to hemolytic anemia. Even a small amount of onions can produce severe effects; symptoms may include shortness of breath, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Various types of nuts such as macadamia and pistachios, are high in fat and can also cause pancreatitis. Pets also have a difficult time digesting nuts, which can lead to intestinal obstruction.


Who doesn’t love a sweet chocolate treat? This time of year there are lots of chocolate goodies around the house…and they are all toxic for pets because they contain caffeine and theobromine. While there are varying levels of these ingredients, they are still dangerous. From dry cocoa powder to unsweetened baker’s chocolate, cocoa bean mulch, semi-sweet chocolate and sweet dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate, it’s important to keep these treats out of your pets reach.

Grapes and Raisins

While the actual toxin remains unidentified, these seemingly harmless fruits are dangers. Even small amounts can prove fatal to dogs and cats. Initial signs of poisoning from grapes and raisins includes vomiting and hyperactive behavior. If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these items, please see your, veterinarian immediately.

Dough and Yeast

Believe it or not, your pet’s stomach is the perfect environment for bread to rise. Eating raw dough can cause the bread to expand, resulting in vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating. Remember, don’t let your pet be the taste tester for your raw ingredients.


Nutmeg is a popular spice for holiday favorites like pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and many holiday beverages. Nutmeg contains a mild hallucinogenic which can cause seizures, tremors, and central nervous system problems. In severe cases, shock and even death have been reported. As we mentioned in last month’s newsletter, plain pumpkin and sweet potatoes are good for your pets, so setting aside a bit to share with them before you start adding other ingredients is okay.


Pets don’t process significant amounts of lactase, milk or other dairy products very well, which can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems. These conditions can lead to dehydration. Make sure you limit the amount of dairy products your pet may ingest.

We hope you and your pets have a wonderful, delicious holiday season. Just make sure you provide your pets with safe foods and treats. Happy Holidays!