12/10/2014 03:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Say No to Table Scraps and People Food for Pets

As we are right in the middle of this brutally cold holiday season, make sure to keep your pet healthy and safe by saying "no" to the following and be sure to keep "people food" of your pet's holiday menu!


Table scraps: We're all guilty of passing some food down under the table to our little furry friends but a lot of table scraps can actually be bad for their health! Scraps of poultry skin, gravy and drippings can cause severe indigestion, diarrhea and even pancreatitis, which is not only painful but can also be fatal. Never offer your pets any fatty foods and advise your guests to keep their plates to themselves. Items like mashed potatoes, gravy and anything else on the table should be kept away from the edges where those paws can reach. Be sure to keep all trash out of reach, such as under the sink.

Poultry bones: When cooked, bones can splinter and form very sharp points. They can get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract and may cause perforations. Bones or splinters can also be lodged in the throat, gums or roof of the mouth. We all know our pets can't resist a juicy bone so make sure they can't steal one somehow! Remove skewers and string from the turkey as well as the roasting bag. Most of our fur babies can be pretty sneaky so make sure these items are discarded and kept out of reach in order to avoid a potentially expensive surgery to remove such items from their digestive tracts.

Xylitol: You may be asking, what the heck is xylitol, but it's just the fancy name for a sugar substitute. It can be found in gum, mints, candies and baked goods. The smallest amount can cause extremely low blood sugar in dogs and just 1/2 teaspoon can cause liver damage. Keep the desserts to yourself!

Chocolate: Most of us know that chocolate is a no-no when it comes to feeding our pets. It is extremely dangerous and sometimes toxic. When ingested, it can over-stimulate the heart. Keep all types out of reach, especially baker's chocolate, which is seven times more toxic than milk chocolate.

Uncooked yeast dough: It's hard to believe that there's a downside to homemade bread! If ingested, it can cause abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, disorientation and depression. The product of rising dough is alcohol, which can be extremely poisonous.

Alcohol: While we humans should drink in moderation, pets on the other hand should never ingest any sort of alcoholic drink. Alcohol poisoning is very serious and can be fatal. Make sure your guests keep their drinks high up and out of reach!

Coffee: Who doesn't like to sip on a nice hot cup of coffee after dessert? Certainly not our pets! Caffeine creates restlessness, tremors and even potentially seizures depending on the amount ingested. This means anything from gourmet coffee, chocolate-covered expresso beans or anything caffeine related must not be accessible to our pets.

Macadamia Nuts: So many holiday foods and desserts contain nuts but if ingested, may cause severe reactions including muscular weakness, disorientation, depression, tremors and abdominal pain. These symptoms can last up to three days.

Grapes and raisins: Dogs have suffered poisoning after consuming grapes and raisins. They can get severe gastrointestinal upset and even kidney failure.

Make sure to always keep your veterinarian's contact information as well as the nearest emergency veterinary clinic close by. The best spot is somewhere on the fridge or an easily accessible cabinet. If you do notice your pet isn't felling well or seems to have any sort of injury, call your veterinarian immediately. Be sure to always an an emergency first-aid kid on hand to treat minor injuries!
Kerri Marx