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Which Holiday Foods are Safe or Harmful for My Dog?

We are into a season of celebration, and it is natural to want to include your four-legged best friend in the holidays. However, keep in mind that there are several problem foods we enjoy that your dog cannot. Here’s a handy checklist for Dos and Don’ts from the holiday table for your dog.

Absolutely Not:

Garlic, Onion, Chives: These common cooking ingredients are members of the Allium family, and can cause anemia if ingested in large amounts. If you think your dog may have gotten into these products, keep an eye out for red or brown urine.

Chocolate: There’s lots of candy around the holidays, and everyone knows chocolate is bad for dogs. More concentrated chocolate, like cocoa powder or baking chocolate, is the most toxic. Avoid chocolate at all costs.

Alcohol: Don’t let your dog get into the holiday spirits! Dogs do not process alcohol like people do, and even a small amount can be dangerous in your pet’s system. Keep those cocktails out of reach.

Fruit Cakes: Raisins and grapes can be extremely toxic to dogs, so make sure not to use grandma’s annual fruitcake as a doorstop where your pooch can get to it.

Xylitol (or any other sweetener): This artificial sweetener is used in place of sugar for a lot of products, and can be harmful if it gets in your dog’s system. The best plan of action is just to avoid letting your dog get to much dessert at all: large amounts of sugar can cause a host of internal issues, especially with small dogs.

Nuts: Nuts are extremely high in fat, which is great for a healthy people snack, but not great for your canine companion.

Nutmeg: Nutmeg is toxic in significant amounts, so keep this spice away from your dog.

Bones or raw meat: If you are cooking turkey or something else with bones in a home oven, avoid giving the bones to the dog. Home-cooked bones can splinter and cause internal injuries if your dog is chewing on them. In addition, raw meat (especially pork) can be host to all sorts of nastiness: if you want your dog to enjoy the turkey, give them white meat (it’s much less fatty) after it is all cooked.

Foods that are safe in small amounts:

Obviously, use moderation if you want to give your dog a holiday treat. Introducing something foreign to a dog’s diet can cause problems, so limit their intake and keep an eye out if you do decide to give them something. Here are some safe options:

Most veggies: Green beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots - these are all nice and healthy options to give your dog a little holiday surprise. Obviously, you still have to avoid the things from the list above (green beans with fried onion straws, for example, would be a bad idea), and avoid overly fatty or sugary items.

Turkey: Turkey is ok, with some limitations. Obviously, avoid the bones, as they can splinter. However, dark meat and especially skin can be extremely fatty, which can cause a host of problems. Cooked white meat in small amounts will still be a welcome treat, and shouldn’t be a problem for them to handle.

Your best bet for including your dog in the celebration is by picking up a new toy or vet-approved treat for them. They will love you for it, and you won’t have to worry that some toxic ingredient has snuck its way in. Around the holidays, make sure to keep an eye on your pup: there may be people around who aren’t familiar with dog safety, little kids who are distracted, and lots more food than is normally around. Be vigilant, and have a safe and happy holiday season from all your friends at Bio-nihilator.

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