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Pet Education

Holiday Food Alert

Many holiday foods can be dangerous for your dog. There is no need to forego your favorite holiday goodies, just be careful what your dog is given….or tries to steal! Be particularly attentive to the following food hazards:

  • Avoid chocolate. Especially dark or baking chocolate, but all chocolate should be avoided. There are toxins present in chocolate which can cause problems ranging from mild stomach upset to seizures and death. Keep all chocolate out of your dog’s reach.

  • Avoid alcohol. Many dogs are attracted to the sweet drinks made during the holiday, especially those containing egg nog. Clean up all glasses and don't leave bottles on the counter without tops. Dogs can die after a single bout of alcohol consumption.

  • Avoid rich fatty foods. These foods can cause your dog mild stomach irritation to a severe condition known as pancreatitis, which often requires hospitalization and can be fatal.

  • Uncooked dough. Dough can expand and produce gas in the stomach which can cause bloat, severe pain and possible rupture of the digestive system. If you are leaving dough out to rise, keep your dog out of that room.

  • Fruits and nuts. Avoid grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts as they can cause problems ranging from digestive upset to organ failure and death.

  • Sugar-free candies. Many sugar-free gums, candies, and even baked goods contain xylitol as a sugar substitute. Xylitol in relatively small amounts can cause life-threatening low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.

  • Wrappers, aluminum foil, etc. Dogs have an excellent sense of smell and will sniff out wrappers or packages that contain traces of food. Wrappers are often unable to pass and may cause obstructions that require surgery to remove. Keep your countertops clean and take your trash out frequently (into a securely locked area).

Feed your dog a high quality natural pet food like Halo before any festivities to help them feel more satisfied and less likely to beg or steal food from partygoers. As a safeguard, inform all friends and family that your dog is not to be fed any of the holiday fare. You or your guests can also reward your dog with any of Halo’s natural, low-calorie, nutritious treats like the Healthsome biscuits or Liv-a-Littles freeze-dried protein treats during a party to reinforce the message of “paws off” the holiday food.

Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM, ,is a renowned, board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist who has practiced at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and other leading institutions. She is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Donna has written and lectured extensively on topics including nutrition, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, kidney failure and respiratory disease. She is widely recognized for her role as consulting veterinarian to HALO, Purely for Pets, her TV appearances with Ellen DeGeneres and her widely-quoted pet health advice in print and on radio.  Dr. Donna performs medical, nutrition and weight loss consultations for dogs and cats through her web-based veterinary consulting service, www.SpectorDVM.com.


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