As we enter the holiday season one of your favorite parts about the most wonderful time of the year is probably no doubt the delicious holiday food you’re about to indulge in, and why not? Traditional holiday food is awesome! From Thanksgiving’s Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing and Pumpkin Pie to that Christmas Prime Rib, Roast Pork or Ham.
You know who else loves the smell of these delicious holiday meals coming out of the kitchen? Your best 4 legged friend Buddy, who will be right there with tail wagging and tongue hanging out as you’re preparing and serving these delicious specialties.
Now whether you have an adult dog that everybody just loves to death so much they feel they need to spoil him with a treat from the human's table, or you have a new holiday puppy you’re eager to feed and please while he or she is growing, there are some precautions you want to take to make sure that human food you’re giving your furry friend is good for them and more importantly safe for them.
So here’s a breakdown of the basic food categories we all love to prepare and share at the holidays with some common examples; we’ll talk about what is ok and what is not ok for our 4 legged family members.
Fruits & Veggies
Let’s start with what is probably a dog’s least favorite but what the heck it’s human food so they’ll try it. Fruits and Vegetables. For the most part, you can give them many fruits and veggies, for instance, salads with plenty of greens is a great fiber and vitamin source and pose no harm. Standard vegetables like green beans and another holiday favorite veggie brussel sprouts are both actually very good for dogs.
According to the AKC here are some vegetables you do NOT want to feed your dog:
- Asparagus - By the time you cook it soft enough for them to chew it loses its nutritional value
- Avocado - The pit and skin contains a toxin that causes diarrhea in dogs
- Mushrooms - Most fungi contain toxins that can be poisonous to dogs
- Onions - Contain allium which is poison to dogs, it can damage their red blood cells and cause diarrhea
- Tomatoes - Can make dogs sick to their stomach
- Potatoes - Cooked is ok. Raw is not, it’s too tough on their digestive system and stomach
- Cherries - No, they contain a level of cyanide that does not affect humans but is very dangerous to dogs
- Grapes - No, both grapes and raisins made from grapes are very toxic to dogs
Now most fruits are ok to feed them and are a great alternative if you want to give your friend something for dessert while everybody else is enjoying a big slice of cheesecake or pudding, which both contain sugar and dairy, a definite no for dogs. If you’re a real loyal owner you could freeze and puree up some fruit and serve him up a dish of “Sorbet” for dessert!
So now that we have the fruits and veggies out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff we know our friend loves. Meat.
The ok is obvious and something you probably feed your dog on a regular basis like ground beef, leftover steak, chicken, and turkey. However, sometimes pork and ham come into question as well as raw food diets for dogs, mainly raw meat diets, so what is ok and what is not?
Pork, for the most part, is fine as long as it is cooked. As a matter of fact, most canned and dry dog foods in the market contain cooked pork products or by-products. Raw pork is a definite no but cooked pork in any form is fine. If the pork was commercially packaged odds are it would be ok to eat raw but why take the chance.
Ham is another pork product you want to avoid giving your dog because the salt content is not good for them. The high salt content can cause pancreatitis and also make them want to drink an excessive amount of water resulting in a condition called “Bloat” which is when their stomach is expanded by gas and can be irreversible and life-threatening. Final verdict? No ham.
Finally raw food diets. Most people would assume this means raw everything and it could. After all, dogs originally came from the wild, hunted their own food and ate it raw. However, they have been domesticated for centuries now so the modern dog's system is just not designed to fight the bacterias that come along with raw meats. The AKC recommends feeding your dog raw fruits and vegetables that are already ok for them to eat but avoid the raw meats because every dog may react differently to them and it’s just not worth the chance.
What if my pet is sick?
So there you have it. You can spoil your little friend and let them enjoy the holiday festivities with the rest of the family. Just take caution on what is good for them and what is definitely a no. If your canine does get its curious nose into some possibly toxic food and gets sick, be sure to schedule an appointment immediately or just come to our emergency animal hospital located at 4200 S University Dr. Davie, FL 33328 to be treated and receive immediate care!
“20 Foods to Avoid Feeding Dogs and Cats.” Toxic & Hazardous Food Guide for Pets Infographic, Nationwide Insurance Company, www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-infographics/Toxic-Food-Guide-for-Pets-Infographic.ashx.
Anastasio, Alexandra. “Can Dogs Eat Pork?” American Kennel Club, 30 May 2017, www.akc.org/content//health//articles//can-dogs-eat-pork/?utm_medium=content-page&utm_source=akc.org&utm_campaign=bottom-related-blueconic&utm_content=algo-1.