Holiday Hazards

Treats & Threats

Part One - Food


We all want to include our pets in the holiday events. However, people food is something to avoid sharing with your dog or cat.


Some foods can toxic to our pets. Other things will cause various medical issues from diarrhea, vomiting, or conditions requiring hospitalization. Here is a partial list of problem foods for our pets:


  • Chocolate is an essential part of the holidays for many people, but it is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it’s safer to consider all chocolate off limits for pets.
  • Artificial Sweeteners (specifically Xylitol) - An artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, candy and chewing gum, xylitol, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs. However, it is becoming more widely used in prepared people foods to give a sweeter taste without the calories. Foods which you might not expect can contain xylitol. Read the ingredient labels.
  • Grapes and Raisins - Although the exact link is unknown, grapes can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or kidney issues. Sometimes the effects on the kidneys can be fatal. Grapes in any form can cause it - whether as raisins or candy (yogurt-covered) or in deserts.
  • Onions - Onions in large amounts can cause a toxic anemia in pets. This problem can also come from garlic, shallots, leeks, or scallions. Use extra care to avoid foods containing these ingredients (think stuffing).
  • Alcoholic Beverages -  If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, keep all alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  • Turkey and turkey skin – sometimes even in small amounts – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis. 
  • Table scraps – including gravy, fat, and bones –also should be kept away from pets. Holiday menus often include extra-rich foods. Table scraps can be both fattening and hard for animals to digest. Pancreatitis is a common result. 
  • Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating. 


By no means is this a comprehensive list of every harmful food your pet could eat. The most effective way to avoid problems from foods is to avoid giving your pet foods that are intended for people too eat.

Different hazards for pet dogs and cats during the holidays -such as  fireworks, poinsettias, tree decorations, holiday dinners, and candle flames.
Different hazards for pet dogs and cats during the holidays -such as fireworks, poinsettias, tree decorations, holiday dinners, and candle flames.