Holiday Treats and Toxic Potential to Dogs and Cats

The holidays come with lots of food, and not all of those foods are good for your small animal to eat. Common ingredients that can cause digestive and sometimes more serious issues include nutmeg, onions/garlic/chives, walnuts and macademia nuts, chocolate, avocados, alcohol, yeast dough, grapes/raisins, xylitol (artificial sweetener),  raw/uncooked meat and bones, and foods rich in butter/gravy/etc.

  • Nutmeg: Ingestion of large quantities of nutmeg can cause muscle tremors, seizures and other neurologic abnormalities.
  • Onions, garlic, chives:  All can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells and hemolytic anemia.
  • Walnuts: This type of nuts can cause gastrointestinal upset.
  • Macademia nuts: This Hawaiian nut can cause weakness, vomiting, depression, muscle tremors and fever.
  • Chocolate: This holiday favorite contains caffeine and methylxanthine derivatives which can cause elevated heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, vomiting/diarrhea, cardiac arrhythmias and death.
  • Avocado: This vegetable can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Alcohol: This drug can cause vomiting, diarrhea, neurologic disorders.
  • Yeast dough: When your pet eat this, uncooked dough can cause gas buildup in the intestinal tract and bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. Alcohol byproducts that are formed from yeast fermentation in the gut can also cause signs of alcohol toxicity.
  • Grapes/raisins: This fruit can cause kidney failure in dogs.
  • Xylitol: This artificial sweetener can cause insulin production in dogs, resulting in low blood sugar possibly leading to hypoglycemic shock and liver failure.
  • Raw/uncooked meat and bones: Raw meat can cause vomiting and diarrhea, possibly gastrointestinal obstruction/perforation with larger bones.
  • Fatty foods: This type of food can cause vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis

If you are unsure of a food’s/plant’s toxicity, contact the ASPCA Pet Poison Control Hotline and us for further information.