We are quickly approaching the holiday season and that means plenty of food and eating. After we and our guests have had our fill of goodies, we are left with the nagging question, "what to do with all those leftovers?" There are probably more than a few of you who have thought that putting together a plate for your dog, and letting them eat to their content, sounds like a great idea - am I right?
Unfortunately, there are many "human food" items that are unhealthy and even dangerous for your pet.
Here are some diet no-nos for the holiday season:
1. Avoid items that you know will upset your pet's stomach. Not every pet's gastrointestinal system is able to digest and absorb a variety of foods. If your pet has had digestive sensitivities previously, you should avoid new foods, combinations of new foods, and definitely large portions of new foods.
2. Don't overwhelm your pet with a bunch of new things all at once. Anything that deviates from your pet's current diet may prove disastrous. Small, low-fat, non-spicy portions of food is the way to go.
3. Nothing with onions or other alliums (i.e. garlic, leeks, scallions). If your dog is used to having small, cooked portions of this plant group, small amounts can be okay, larger quantities can lead to toxic anemia. Also, be careful with turkey stuffing, as many recipes include onions.
4. No chocolate. Chocolate causes abnormally high heart rhythms in dogs. The chocolate we bake with over the holidays is especially toxic. While an M&M or two may not hurt, a dog that snatches a large chunk of baking chocolate from the counter may end up in the ER.
5. No grapes or raisins. These fruits have been found to cause kidney failure in dogs. Studies have shown that these products tend to cause problems when given in large quantities over a period of time, no need to risk problems by feeding.
6. No xylitol. Diabetics cook with this sugar substitute. Anything with xylitol in it is toxic and deadly to dogs. If you must have it in your house, keep it safely away from your dogs. Sugar-free pastries, gums, and mints may also contain this product, so be careful year round.
7. No macadamia nuts.
8. No alcohol. Even though not toxic in small amounts that most humans tend to imbibe, dogs are even more susceptible to its effects due to their relatively small size.
You know your pet and how he handles your cooking so you can be a bit more adventurous when you are dolling out the holiday fare, being mindful of keeping the quantities small since it is still foods that are not served throughout the year.
The "OK to feed list"
1. Turkey. Any excess fat and skin should be removed from the turkey you give your dog and definitely no turkey bones.
2. Mashed Potatoes. Perfectly fine to feed without any extra ingredients that often accompany holiday mashed potatoes (e.g. cheese, sour cream, onions, or gravy).
3. Cranberry Sauce. This favorite of holiday meals is safe for pets, but it can be high in sugar, so be careful not to give too much and watch for adverse reactions.
4. Macaroni and Cheese. Your dog will enjoy the plain pasta and it will be better for him without the extra cheese mixture.
5. Green Beans. Another item that is not harmful alone, but be careful when mixing it with other ingredients, such as in green bean casserole. This low-sodium treat is an otherwise a very nutritious holiday leftover for your pet.
Wishing you and your pets a great holiday season!
As reported at PetMed.com