NO-NO HOLIDAY FOOD FOR PETS
Hello everyone and Welcome back to another #MENU MONDAY. DECEMBER is in full swing and so are our holiday preparations. It’s a wonderful time of year filled with fun, festivities and food. But as we decorate and celebrate the Season with friends and family — let’s not forget our Pets.
I credit my beloved first Labrador Lady with helping me through my first cancer. And, I credit my beloved second Labrador Angel with helping me through my second and third cancers. The role they play in our health and happiness is beyond measure. So, let’s do everything we can to protect them – especially at this time of year.
To that end, we’re going to run a THREE-PART SERIES this month on PETS AND HOLIDAY SAFETY. First up, the issue of FOOD. Now, there are many foods that we enjoy this time of year – foods that are staples of the Season. And, most of these are not only delicious, but have wonderful health benefits for humans. YET – many of them can wreak havoc with our cats and dogs.
So, here’s a list of 9 NO-NO HOLIDAY FOODS FOR OUR PETS – because no matter how much we love them, we can’t share everything with them at the holidays 🙂
- BONES. It may seem natural to “give the dog a bone,” but don’t. Bones left over from cooking can become brittle and dehydrated. This means they can splinter if ingested by our canine companions causing internal lacerations or choking. So, it’s not just the poultry or fish bones that we’ve always been warned about – it also applies to beef bones. A natural chew toy will be much better!
- FAT TRIMMINGS. Same as above. This cooking by-product is just not good for our pets. Whether the fat is cooked or uncooked it can be harmful – especially for dogs who can develop painful pancreatitis. Indeed, both cats and dogs have difficulty digesting fat. So, don’t add the drippings to pet food bowls and discard leftover turkey and chicken skin as well.
- GRAPES AND RAISINS. These delicious fruits are plentiful at the holidays and are staples of holiday cooking and table decorations. Of the two, raisins present the greater harm as a small amount of this fruit can prove fatal for both cats and dogs. And, both fruits can cause kidney failure in dogs. So, just keep the raisin bread, muffins and fruitcake stored away with all your fruitcakes of holidays past 🙂 and out of your pet’s reach.
- ONIONS AND GARLIC. Two more staples of our holiday kitchens. These two ingredients add flavor, aroma and health benefits to so many delectable dishes. But, both contain thiosulphate, which can cause red blood cells to rupture in both cats and dogs leading to hemolytic anemia. Of these two, onions are reported to be more harmful. In fact, some sources say that small amounts of garlic may actually offer health benefits for our pets. But, the jury is still out on this issue. So, I always say, “When in doubt, leave it out.”
- NUTS. Gosh, nuts and the holidays go hand in hand. They’re great for cooking, snacking and pairing with the proverbial nutcracker. But, as tasty and healthy as nuts might be for us, most are harmful for our pets. Nuts are rich in fat, which again can lead to pancreatitis in our four-legged friends. Walnuts, almonds and pistachios are all on the no-no list. And, macadamia nuts in particular may contain a toxin that can result in neurological damage.
- DOUGH. There’s always a lot of holiday baking taking place in kitchens around the world this time of year. And, that’s GREAT for we humans! But, dough with yeast can be a problem for our pets. You see, dough with yeast rises – and the stomach of our furry friends provides the perfect place for such dough to rise. If swallowed raw, it can result in painful bloating, abdominal pain and vomiting. In fact, should your pet find the opportunity to feast on your holiday breads BEFORE they’re baked, a visit to your local veterinarian is always recommended.
- ALCOHOL. Toasting the holidays with champagne, cocktails and spiced eggnog is everyone’s tradition. And, even we have to be careful not to over-indulge when it comes to alcohol. But alcohol, even in small amounts, can be much more toxic to pets than to people. And, great smelling holiday drinks mixed with spice and fruit can be hard for feline and canine noses to resist. So, don’t leave holiday drinks sitting on the coffee table where our inquisitive pets can find them.
- NUTMEG. This wonderful holiday spice is great tasting and healthy for us. But, it’s particularly toxic for pets. It has mild hallucinogenic properties that can harm the delicate nervous systems of cats and dogs causing seizures or tremors. So, while a spoonful treat of sweet potatoes or pumpkin is just fine for our pets – make sure these treats don’t contain any nutmeg.
- CHOCOLATE. Another sweet treat that most humans just can’t do without during the holidays! But, the theobromine and caffeine in chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs. If ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures in our pets. RULE OF THUMB: The darker and richer the chocolate, the greater the level of toxicity.
And, that does it for today. Common holiday foods that our pets should never share. Keep this information handy this Season and it will help insure the Holidays remain Safe and Happy for all of us!
Next time, we’ll continue our SERIES with a discussion of HOLIDAY PLANTS that can be HARMFUL FOR OUR PETS. So, I hope to see you back here soon.
Until then everyone, thanks for joining me! Stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .