Holiday foods that can poison your pet

February 24, 2022

As we share the holiday spirit, why not take a few moments to find out, or refresh your memory, about the foods (and drinks) that can harm your cat and dog?

It might be the holiday season but some things weren’t made for sharing!

Alcohol is extremely harmful to your pet. It can cause a range of outcomes—from vomiting, loss of coordination and difficulty breathing … to tremors, coma and even death.

They’ve taken the world by storm, but it’s best not to give avocados to your cat or dog as they contain a fungicidal toxin called persin which can cause serious health issues in some animals.

The darker the chocolate, the higher its content in methylxanthines which, in cats and dogs, can cause diarrhea, vomiting, panting, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and, in extreme cases, death.

Citrus fruit
While small amounts of citrus fruit are unlikely to harm your pet, high quantities of citric acid can irritate their stomachs and create dysfunction of the central nervous system.

Though in smaller quantities, coconut flesh, oil and water are unlikely to be very harmful, it’s best to avoid giving them to your pet as they can cause diarrhea, upset stomach and digestion problems.

It won’t come as a surprise: Refined sugar isn’t good news for any one. And it’s worse for animals. Dental cavities, hyperactivity, diabetes … the list goes on. The solution? Be sure to keep your pet away from holiday sweets!

Baking holiday bread? Yum. Just be careful to keep it out of reach of your curious cat or dog. Ingesting uncooked yeast dough may cause painful bloating which can lead to life-threatening complications.

Eggs (raw)
Raw eggs can carry E. coli and salmonella. And raw egg whites contain avidin, a protein which, in high concentrations, can interfere with your pet’s healthy body functions.

Fat trimmings
They’re high in cholesterol and can cause intestinal upset. It may be the holiday season but fat trimmings from meat aren’t good for us and they’re not good your pet either!

Garlic and onions
Cats are more sensitive to them but they’re also a potential problem for dogs: in quantity, these vegetables can cause gastrointestinal irritation and adversely affect the formation of red blood cells in pets.

Grapes and raisins
Grapes and raisins are highly toxic for dogs. They can cause kidney failure and death. If you suspect your dog has eaten grapes, call your vet or poison centre immediately. And, although they’re unlikely to be attracted by grapes, the fruit should also be kept away from cats until their toxicity in animals is better understood.

Gum (xylitol)
A sweetener called xylitol is found in chewing gum, toothpastes and some candies. When ingested by dogs it can cause vomiting, fatigue and lead to liver failure.

Holiday plants
We decorate our homes with a range of unusual plants and cuttings during the holidays, including holly, mistletoe, poinsettias. Keep them well out of reach! They can be toxic for your pets.

Leftovers—especially from rich holiday meals—can be dangerous for pets, particularly older dogs with nutritional restrictions and delicate stomachs. Take care never to give cooked bones to your pet—they can splinter, cause choking and damage your cat’s or dog’s mouth, throat and digestive system.

Macadamia nuts
While they’re a special holiday treat for humans, these nuts are among the most poisonous foods for dogs and cats. Ingestion can cause vomiting, withdrawal, weakness and hyperthermia. Contact a poison centre immediately.

Milk and dairy
It may seem counterintuitive but, just like humans, some cats are lactose intolerant. Dairy products can cause them to bloat, have upset stomach and allergic reactions. Lactose intolerance appears to be less of a concern in dogs.

Mushrooms can cause abdominal discomfort and vomiting in cats. In extreme cases mushrooms can irritate and cause inflammation of their gastrointestinal tracts.

Take care with holiday foods around your pets … and have a wonderful holiday season!

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