Holiday Foods: Be Careful What Your Pet Eats

The holidays come with the gathering of great friends, family, and food. Regrettably not all foods are good for your cats and dogs. Many common foods and ingredients that we enjoy produce severe discomfort for your pets. And in some cases, “our” foods may induce organ failure and produce severe life threatening situations in your feline or canine family member.

It’s often best to purchase pet-healthy treats for your cat and dog. This way, they can enjoy the holiday season with some special food that is both safe and healthy. But if you must, please be cautious when sharing food with your pet during the holidays — and pay particular attention to the list of food and ingredients below. It is not a comprehensive list, but a reminder to be careful what you feed your pets.

Holiday Pet Treats
Whether beer, wine, or in any other form, this drug can cause vomiting, diarrhea, neurologic disorders. Be sure that any food containing alcohol is full cooked allowing the alcohol to evaporate prior to consumption.

Avocado and Guacamole
This favorite vegetable is loaded with fat and antioxidants but can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets.

This holiday favorite contains caffeine and methylxanthine derivatives which can cause elevated heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, vomiting/diarrhea, cardiac arrhythmias and death. Please do not give your pets any form of chocolate.

Fatty Foods
Foods high in fat can cause vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis in your pets.

Grapes and Raisins
Surprisingly, grapes and their dried counterpart, raisins, can cause kidney failure in dogs. Be sure any cookies, cakes or other foods are free of grapes and raisins.

Macademia Nuts
This Hawaiian treasure can cause weakness, vomiting, depression, muscle tremors and fever.

Consumption of large quantities of nutmeg can cause muscle tremors, seizures and other neurologic abnormalities.

Onions, Garlic, and Chives

Nearly all forms of these allium vegetables can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells and hemolytic anemia.

Raw/Uncooked Meat and Bones

While often appealing to pets, raw meat can cause vomiting and diarrhea, possibly gastrointestinal obstruction/perforation with larger bones. Of course, bones can produce choking hazards, so please be watchful if allowing your pet to chew on bones.

Walnuts (and many other forms of nuts)
Given their fat content, most nuts — including walnuts — can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

This artificial sweetener can cause insulin production in dogs, resulting in low blood sugar possibly leading to hypoglycemic shock and liver failure.

Yeast Dough
Should your pet consume yeast dough, the uncooked dough can cause gas buildup in the intestinal tract producing bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. Alcohol byproducts that are formed from yeast fermentation in the gut can also cause signs of alcohol toxicity.

If you are unsure of a food’s potential toxicity, call the ASPCA Pet Poison Control Hotline or contact us immediately for additional information.


Happy Holidays!
The entire staff at Kirkwood Animal Hospital would like to wish you a very warm and enjoyable Holiday Season. We appreciate the opportunity to care for your pet throughout the year.

Kirkwood Veterinarians
Kirkwood Staff
We look forward to seeing you in the coming year and helping to maintain the health and wellness of your four-legged family member.

Happy Holidays!