Holiday food and dogs

By Wendell Fowler

Teddy lifts its head to sniff the air drenched with the intoxicating aroma of holiday foods and senses the palpable, loving vibe of family. Although it’s ill-advised to share your meal with begging family pets, if you think it’s cute feeding pets from the table, there are many favorite holiday standards that can make them ugly, sick or worse, so mind your handouts, falling scraps and overflowing trash bins.

Undercooked poultry might contain salmonella. Fatty poultry skin creates gastrointestinal issues and pancreatic inflammation. Poultry bones can splinter off in Fido’s esophagus or intestines and would require surgery to remove. Ham and other salty meats and foods are very dangerous to pets. In addition to being high fat, they’re also very salty, which can result in a serious stomach ache, kidney stress or pancreatitis.

High fat butter, gravy, pan drippings, creamy potato casseroles and stuffing can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite, and usually don’t show up immediately. Ham and pork products are high in fat and sodium, which can lead to painful and potentially fatal pancreatitis.

Caffeine and alcohol are also very bad for dogs. It doesn’t take much for them to stagger and bump into things, hurting themselves. High doses suppress the central nervous, respiratory and cardiac systems and can lead to death.

Garlic and onions will damage red blood cells in dogs, often leading to anemia. Though symptoms won’t show up immediately, your dog might seem fine for a few days before suddenly becoming weak. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and weakness. Really high in good fat for humans, avocados can cause stomach upset, vomiting and even canine pancreatitis.

Grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs and can cause kidney failure. A dog that eats grapes or raisins will most likely start vomiting and have diarrhea. These could also force their kidneys to shut down. Should your dog ingest grapes, contact your vet immediately to help prevent kidney failure. Same with Xylitol (artificial sweetener) in gum, candies or desserts that can lower a dog’s blood sugar and result in liver damage.

Chocolate can cause increased heart rate or seizures in dogs because it contains theobromine. Milk chocolate contains less theobromine, but dark chocolate substantially more. Larger dogs can take a little bit of chocolate, but it’s not advised for any dogs to have chocolate.

Your loyal pets love, trust and protect you. Do not hasten their crossing Rainbow Bridge this joyous season. Sit, stay!