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Food-Safety Tips for Your Pets During the Holidays


Dog standing with pumpkins and leaves. | Image from Operation Kindness

Part of the fun of the holiday season revolves around the special foods and dishes associated with the season. Even our four four-legged friends enjoy having a special treat now and then.

Whether your pet eats ‘whatever falls on the floor’ or is treated to their own ‘special meal,’ our furry friends enjoy the tastes of the holidays just as much as we do.

There are, however, some holiday staples that don’t sit well with our dogs and cats. Some foods are harmful and should be avoided.

For the holidays, Operation Kindness is giving pet owners helpful food tips for dogs and cats so they can enjoy the holidays without risking an emergency trip to the vet.

Dogs and cats should avoid eating:

  • Seasoned turkey, its skin and bones
  • Turkey twine
  • Gravy trimmings
  • Fatty foods
  • Corn on the cob
  • Garlic and onions
  • Raw bread and dough
  • Sweets
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Artificial sweeteners (such as Xylitol)

These foods are readily found on the dinner table, but if they make their way to your pet’s food bowl, they can cause health problems, especially digestive issues for animals.

To make sure your pet can enjoy holiday meals with the rest of the family, consider these alternatives that can be a fun treat for your cat or dog:

  • Small pieces of unseasoned turkey meat with no skins or bones
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Unseasoned, bite-sized vegetables like carrots or green beans
  • Apple slices
  • Dehydrated sweet potatoes
  • Canned chicken with no salt added
  • Canned tuna
  • Meat flavored baby foods

These items can be mixed into your pet’s kibble or used with toys. If your pet enjoys a lick mat, you can spread applesauce or pumpkin on it for a tasty treat.

You may want to keep your pets busy while you prepare your holiday food, so give them dehydrated sweet potatoes to gnaw on as an alternative to their normal chew bones.

Operation Kindness was founded by a group of volunteers in 1976. Its mission is to provide shelter for homeless pets, food, and medical care while finding loving, responsible homes.

You can adopt a dog or cat at Operation Kindness at 3201 Earhart Drive, Carrollton, Texas.