It’s Christmas!!! Surely that means Fido can have a little turkey, right?
Well, in a word, yes, yes he can. Many of the holiday foods we enjoy are fine for pets in their naked state – it’s what we add to them that can be harmful to our pets. Dogs can enjoy plain turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and peas, but they have difficulty with many of the ingredients that are added to these basics. Butter, salt, spices, and even alcohol can be in things as seemingly innocent as mashed potatoes, which can be high in salt and may even include garlic, which can be toxic to pets. Many candies and desserts may also contain xylitol, a sweetener that is poisonous to pets, or chocolate.
The best way to help your pets celebrate with you is to set aside raw ingredients or items that have not been seasoned for them to snack on when you eat the seasoned versions. Dogs can eat all of the following:
Turkey or Chicken Meat (no bone or skin)
Plain Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
Plain cooked Pumpkin
Cored Apples (seeds removed)
Raw or Cooked Plain Green Beans
Raw or Cooked Carrots
Meanwhile you will want to avoid ALL of the following:
Turkey Skin, Bones, Stuffing and Gravy
Candy and Gum (may contain xylitol)
Sweet Potatoes and Yams with additional ingredients
Pumpkin Pie – May contain Xylitol and other spices
Salads with Raisins or Grapes
Raw Yeast Dough
You will want to be even more conservative with your cat – cats have difficulty processing vegetables, resulting in upset stomach and diarrhea. Cats also have very delicate urinary and kidney issues, making salt and other ingredients dangerous to urinary health. Cats also suffer from toxicity from chemicals like Xylitol, so it’s best to stick with cat treats and toys for our celebrating felines. You can give your cat plain turkey – and likely she will enjoy it quite a lot.
Be prepared in case someone knocks the figgy pudding off the table: post the phone number to the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) as well as the number and address for Old Dominion (434-971-3500 – 811 Preston Avenue in Charlottesville or 434-823-4300 – 1263 Parkview Ave in Crozet) and your local emergency veterinarian (see our Useful Links page for Emergency Vet information) in a place where everyone can easily find it.