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Human Foods for Pets Over The Holiday

Posted by Marjorie Murray on
Human Foods for Pets Over The Holiday
A big part of celebrating the holidays is gathering the family around the table to connect and, of course, share delicious food. More often than not, our four-legged family members are going to want to join in the fun too, and those big soulful eyes and wagging tail are hard to resist. No harm in sneaking a few treats, right? Well, depending on the treat, you could be putting your pet in danger. The best, least risk option is to not give your pet anything from your plate, and stick to just his or her planned pet diet.  But we get it, that can be hard to do, and we want them to feel special too.  To make sure your holidays are happy and healthy for everyone involved, below are lists of foods to avoid, and human foods for pets that are ok – in moderation, of course.

Food No-No’s.  If you suspect your pet has consumed any of these, contact your Vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately: 1-888-426-4435

Alcohol – Alcoholic beverages can have the same effect on a dog’s liver and brain that they have on people – but it takes a whole lot less to hurt your dog.  Just a little bit of beer, liquor or wine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, and issues with the central nervous system.

Onions & Chives – Great for adding flavor for humans, but for dogs these veggies and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Cats are especially susceptible. Eating a lot just once can cause poisoning.

Chocolate & Caffeine -  These items contain substances called methylxanthines which if ingested by pets can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures.

Macadamia Nuts & Black Walnuts – these particular foods are not only unhealthy human foods for dogs, they are considered toxic. Feeding them even in small amounts can lead to tremors, vomiting, gastric upset and even seizures in dogs. There is less research around feeding them to cats, however most experts advise playing it safe.

Grapes & Raisins – Just a small amount of these fruits can make a dog sick, with repetitive vomiting, and can lead to kidney failure.

Avocado – Primarily a problem for birds, rabbits, horses, sheep and goats, Avocado can cause cardiovascular damage, and death in birds.

Milk & Dairy – While it seems cute to give a saucer of milk to your cat or let your dog have some ice cream, it is best to avoid dairy to keep them feeling their best.  Pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down the lactose in milk, so dairy products can cause diarrhea and other digestive upsets. They can also trigger food allergies.  If you want to give them something refreshing, stick to cold water.

Yeast Dough – Uncooked bread dough needs to rise.  And if consumed, that’s just what it will do in our dog’s digestive system – which can be painful and cause their stomach to bloat and twist. Also, when the yeast ferments, it makes alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Xylitol – This is a very common sweetener found in a range of products – everything from candy and gum to baked goods and even toothpaste. It can cause insulin release which can lead to liver failure.  Early symptoms can include vomiting, lethargy and seizures.  So check those ingredient panels!


Food Yes’s – with moderation!

Sweet Potatoes – Cooked plain sweet potatoes with skins removed provide an excellent source of fiber, are low in fat and rich in vitamins A, B6, C, calcium, potassium and iron. One note, overweight or diabetic dogs should only be given small amounts due to a high glycemic index in the potato.

Carrots – A healthy treat, chewing on carrots can help remove plaque from their teeth, and are a good source of vitamin A which is beneficial for their immune system.

Pumpkin – Full of nutrients like Vitamins A & C, and enriching minerals like potassium, pumpkin is a low fat and low calorie healthy veggie that also works as an antioxidant! 

Turkey – Plain, unseasoned white meat is a good source of protein.  Be sure to remove the fat, as too much fat can cause pancreas issues for dogs. As always, never feed cooked bones which become brittle and can splinter when chewed.

Apple slices – Apples are a great source of vitamins including A and C, along with fiber to help with digestion.  However, avoid feeding rotting apples to your pup, as those could lead to alcohol poisoning.

Plain popcorn – Popcorn with no salt, butter or sugar can have nutritional benefits for dogs. It contains minerals like magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, which are great to help keep dogs healthy.  Just be sure they don’t eat any unpopped kernels, as those could be choking hazards.


Overall, the best plan, just like with us humans, is a balanced diet plan with healthy natural foods. To really treat your pet with great nutrition, add a powder vitamin supplement like The Missing Link® Original Superfood Supplement to their regular daily diet.  For pets with food sensitivities or frequent gastric upsets, The Missing Link offers several Digestion formulas for both dogs and cats – perfect for furry elves who need some extra digestive support. Then you can all enjoy great food and happy health.


About The Author:

Marjorie Murray has been around animals every day of her life, and is currently dog mom to Layla, a rescue hound mixed with a whole lot of personality.  Marjorie has worked for The Missing Link for four years where she spends her days happily immersed in all things pet.  When not at work or on another long walk with Layla, she enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors, hiking, biking, gardening or reading, or in the kitchen baking comfort foods.

Sources : 


Pets WebMD:

Medical News Today:

Pet Care RX:

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