The holidays bring family and friends together, often around the dinner table. It may be tempting to offer your pet the same delicious food you are enjoying, but doing so can cause your pet misery during the holiday season.
While there are plenty of foods that pets can enjoy safely, many can cause stomach issues or worse for dogs and cats.
Foods containing onion or garlic can be lethal to pets. Onions and garlic cause destruction of red blood cells in dogs and cats, potentially leading to anemia. Anemia often requires hospitalization, and can be life-threatening.
Fatty foods bring another set of problems for pets, including pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas aids in digestion, secreting enzymes that help break down food. In pancreatitis, the enzymes are excreted prematurely, causing the pancreas to digest itself. This condition is extremely painful for the animal, and causes vomiting and diarrhea. Treatment of pancreatitis can require hospitalization, which can be costly.
Cookies go hand-in-hand with the holidays, and while ingredients such as raisins, chocolate and macadamia nuts make goodies taste great, they can spell trouble for pets.
Macadamia nuts can cause temporary weakness in the hind legs for dogs, and raisins (as well as grapes) can cause kidney failure. Chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea, as well as increased heart rate, tremors and seizures.
Many dog owners know just how quickly dogs can get into trouble. Make sure to take extra precaution while preparing food as well. A quick turn of the back can give a dog a window of opportunity to get into uncooked meat or raw dough that may be sitting on the counter. Both of these can cause gastrointestinal issues including bacterial infection (raw meat) or a bloated stomach (raw dough.)
While candies containing sugar-substitute can be healthier for owners, the substitute xylitol is toxic to dogs and cats. Xylitol can cause a drastic drop in blood sugar for dogs and cats, and can also cause seizures and liver failure. Xylitol can be found in many sugar-free gums, candies and even healthcare products such as mouthwash.
Instead of offering food that may cause problems for your dog or cat, try healthy alternatives such as skinless, boneless lean baked chicken, turkey or beef, carrots, green beans and cottage cheese. Many bakeries specialize in dog-and-cat-safe cookies and other treats as well.
Offering treats made specifically for dogs or cats (in moderation, of course) can help keep your pet happy, and healthy, during the holiday season.