With the holiday season upon us, most of us are ready to eat, drink and overindulge in some of our favorite treats. It can be very tempting to share with our beloved pets, but doing so could cause them to become very well, and in some instances, prove to be life-threatening.

Many people simply don’t realize or don’t think about the hazards that holiday food can pose to their pets, or to the pets in the homes where they are visiting. However, a little understanding and consideration can help to keep all domestic animals safe this holiday season.

Here is our guide to the most common holiday food hazards facing your pet.

Alcohol

Okay, so we know this isn’t actually a food, but it is something that is much more prevalent during the holiday season that is particularly hazardous for your pets. Regardless of whether you are enjoying a glass of eggnog, a bowl of punch or a festive cocktail or two, all alcohol should be kept well away from animals in your home. Even the smallest amount ingested by your animal can cause a range of unpleasant effects including vomiting, weakness and even seizures. Keep your pet safe by ensuring that all glasses, cups, and bottles are kept well out of reach of your pet’s paws.

Chocolate

Most people know that chocolate can be extremely dangerous for pets, but you should make this fact absolutely clear to any guests you have visiting, and particularly young children who may be keen to share their sweet treats. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which can cause internal bleeding, liver failure and in severe cases, even death.

Garlic, onions, and spices

Garlic, onion, and spices are regularly added to many different foods to give them greater flavor, including meats and potatoes. However, all three of these ingredients are very toxic to animals. Therefore, if you do wish to share some festive food with your pet, make sure it is completely plain.

Grapes and raisins

Both grapes and raisins are highly toxic to many pets, and you should avoid feeding these, or any products that contain them, to your animals. Small amounts will cause mild symptoms including sickness and diarrhea, but in larger amounts, severe and potentially fatal kidney failure is a serious risk.

Ham

Christmas ham may be a huge tradition, but it is definitely a food to avoid feeding your beloved pet. Ham is extremely high in fat and salt, which can cause painful and sometimes life-threatening problems with your pet’s pancreas.

Small bones also present a choking hazard, and if they make it into your pet’s digestive system, could cause damage or a deadly blockage.

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie is a staple in many households over the festive season, but while canned plain pumpkin is fine for your pet to eat, most pie recipes call for a variety of other ingredients including spices, sugar, and dairy. It is these items, along with the high fiber found naturally in pumpkins, that can cause your pet to develop an upset stomach.

Used food wrappers and tin foil
These may not be edible items, but they will smell like they might be, and that may be all that your pet cares about! However, if food wrappers or tin foil are ingested, they can quickly block your pet’s digestive system, which is a potentially life-threatening emergency. Make sure all packaging and wrappers are disposed of into a secure garbage bin.

Help your pet to enjoy the festive season by keeping him safe from hazardous foods and associated materials. For further advice, contact and speak to your veterinarian.