Holiday Feast Dos and Don’ts for Pets in St. Paul, MN

Every holiday season, vet clinics see an influx of sick pets dealing with a variety of gastrointestinal conditions that could have been avoided. Holiday foods while tempting to give as treats to our pets, can make them very sick.

Read our St. Paul, MN, animal hospital‘s article about some foods that you can give to your pet, and others you will want to avoid.

holiday feast dos donts st paul mn

Bones and Corn on the Cob

Turkey and chicken bones can splinter and become sharp shards which get lodged in the esophagus or gastrointestinal tract, even potentially puncturing through the tract, and causing overwhelming infection. Pork, lamb, and beef bones, which are less easy to chew, can be swallowed in big chunks that then become lodged and cause an obstruction which requires surgery to resolve. Avoid feeding bones of any sort to prevent these issues. Corn on the cob also presents a similar issue as it can be swallowed in a large chunk also causing a blockage.

Gravy Drippings, Pork Roast and Other Fatty Meals

High fat content meals require more work from the body to digest. The pancreas is responsible for producing the enzymes necessary to digest your pet’s food. When high fat content meals are given, to our pets who are not used to these types of meals, the pancreas becomes overwhelmed and becomes inflamed. This can lead to vomiting and diarrhea with blood, lethargy, and dehydration. Mild cases of pancreatitis can be treated on an outpatient basis, but many cases require intensive hospitalization to recover.

Chocolate, Grapes, Raisins, Onions, Garlic and Nuts

These foods while enticing to our pets can cause varying degrees of toxic results, ranging from mild like vomiting and diarrhea, to more serious conditions like kidney failure, anemia (low red blood cell count), liver failure seizures and in the worst of cases, sudden death. Avoid giving these foods at all costs.

Alcoholic Beverages

Holiday cheer might bring a holiday beer or other alcoholic beverages like eggnog, wine, etc. Please avoid giving these to your pets as alcohol can suppress the central nervous system leading to hypothermia (low blood pressure) coma, organ failure and cardiac arrest. While it may seem obvious that you might never give these drinks to your pet, remember that they are often sweet and curious pets may go out of their way to try them. Keep alcoholic beverages well out of pets reach to avoid accidental ingestion.

Yeasty Doughs

Doughs with yeast in them can continue to ferment in your pet’s stomach after being swallowed. The fermentation process can lead to bloating which can cause stomach rupture and progress to alcohol poisoning as one of fermentations by products is alcohol. Do not give your pets any raw yeast or raw dough.

Safe Food Options

If you want your pet to take part in the holiday feast then foods like plain unseasoned rice, turkey or chicken breast without the skin, boiled/baked potatoes without butter, pumpkin puree, fresh peas and green beans, small amounts of fresh cranberries, corn not on the cob and fish without bones are some options that you can offer your pets in moderation.

Should your pet have swallowed or eaten any of the food items on this list that we recommended avoiding, please reach out to St. Paul Pet Hospital at 651-789-6275 for advice on the best next steps.