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Our four-legged friends are never hard to find during the holidays, usually sitting right by our feet to catch any delicious treat that might hit the floor during Thanksgiving dinner. When you see those sweet, innocent eyes peering at you from under the dinner table, it can be tempting to spoil your pet by including them in the feasts and festivities. We’ve gathered some delightful (and safe!) holiday pet treat recipes so you can show them the love and share the holiday’s good food and cheer.
We love to include our pets in the seasonal festivities, but it’s important to know the dos and don’ts of which foods you can safely share with them. During the holidays, be especially aware that the following foods and beverages can harm cats or dogs.
Bones: Those tasty holiday meals may yield an excess of seemingly tasty bones. Don’t feed them to your pets! Small bones or bone chips can become lodged in your pet’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. They can also splinter and cause tears in the gastrointestinal tract. Some dogs may even simply swallow a bone whole, which can result in an intestinal blockage that requires surgery.
Turkey Skin, Turkey Fat & Gravy: A few bites of white meat from your roasted turkey can be a tasty treat, but avoid feeding your pet the skin, which is very fatty and may also be coated in seasonings that are dangerous for pets. Too much fat can lead to gastrointestinal upset or even pancreatitis.
Alcohol: Keep alcohol and food containing alcohol (e.g., rum cake or rum balls) out of reach. Alcoholic beverages, including eggnog, and other food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma, and even death. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested alcohol, call your veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic immediately.
Coffee: Coffee includes caffeine, which is a very dangerous and toxic chemical to cats and dogs. Ingestion can be life threatening— they’re much more sensitive to its effects, so even a small amount of coffee could be toxic. Ingestion can cause restlessness and agitation, vomiting, tremors, and seizures.
Candy & Desserts: There is a slew of hazards in the goodies category. Chocolate can be toxic, even fatal, for pets. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. There is also an artificial sweetener known as Xylitol which is commonly found in baked goods, candy, and chewing gum. This sweetener is highly toxic to dogs and can cause hypoglycemia and potentially lead to liver failure.
Macadamia Nuts, Raisins, Grapes, Onions & Garlic: These commonly used ingredients in holiday dishes can be harmful to pets if consumed. Macadamia nuts, often found in cookies and candies, can cause toxic reactions in dogs such as vomiting, tremors, weakness, difficulty walking, and increased body temperature. Similarly, raisins and grapes contain toxins that can lead to kidney damage in dogs. Onions, garlic, leeks, and chives contain sulfoxides which can cause gastrointestinal issues and potentially cause issues like anemia and other hematological change that could harm a pet’s health.
Leftovers: Don’t share leftovers with your pet, especially foods with a high fat content as it puts your pet at risk of pancreatitis. Abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea are common symptoms of pancreatitis and should be reported to your veterinarian immediately. Once your meal is over, immediately store any leftovers in a safe location to avoid tempting your pet to sneak this food from the counter.
Although it may be tempting to slide a little treat or two under the table for your pet to join in on the feast, don't let those puppy dog eyes fool you. The best way to make the most of your holiday is to keep your pet away from table scraps that could contain harmful ingredients. If you suspect your pet may have in your pet may have ingested something toxic, contact your veterinarian.
If you choose to indulge your cat or dog with some holiday leftovers or special treats, stick with these pet-safe human foods:
Remember, you may want to give your dog or cat a special treat during holiday dinners, but some holiday foods and ingredients are high in fat, sugar, and seasonings that can make pets sick. Always consult with your veterinarian about any dietary changes, and make sure to continue to maintain a healthy diet by only giving your pets treats in moderation.
Indulge your pets in a little holiday cheer with our delicious and pet-friendly goodies. Instead of sharing your holiday feast, use this collection of cat and dog treat recipes to make them their own delightful and festive snacks, and celebrate the upcoming holidays knowing your pet is safe, healthy, and happy.
Most importantly, always consider your pet's dietary needs and consult your veterinarian before making major changes to their diet. Remember to offer homemade holiday treats in moderation, avoid potential choking hazards, and create a safe and enjoyable environment for your four-legged friend.
An ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance plan can help you with eligible costs for covered conditions like surgery expenses for accidents and help provide peace of mind that your pet can receive the care they need. Check out our online resources to learn more about your insurance options and get a free quote today. The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.
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title: Holiday Treats for Pets
author: Annie T.