Holiday eating, dogs eating holiday food, dogs at Christmas, Pets and holiday food, Bryan County Bark Park, The Pupdate Blog

'Tis The Season For Our Furry Friends Too...

Written by Amanda Welch, DVM   Richmond Hill Animal Hospital

The holidays are upon us and if you are anything like me you want your pets to feel extra special too.  For your family that may mean a special spa day so that your pup is fresh smelling and dolled up for your holiday visitors.  Other pets may get a stockingful of toys.  Many of us, however, choose to give our pets extra holiday food treats.  While I am one of those people, I do urge caution with what you choose to feed your fur babies.  Many of the foods that we find so delicious, they will too -whether it is good for them or not.  Also, keep in mind pets will pack on holiday pounds.

I certainly cannot relay to you every food that may be harmful to your pet or that may upset your particular pet’s stomach so please also exercise common sense.  Here’s my short list of what NOT to feed your pet.  Sauces make our food taste great but many have excess fats in them so keep your pet’s food sauce and gravy free.  Anything with onions or onion powder can cause liver issues.  Grapes and raisins can lead to kidney issues.   Macadamia nuts can cause severe gastrointestinal issues.  Porks (ham) can cause pancreatitis as can any greasy food.  Bones will eventually splinter and can cause foreign bodies or intestinal perforations.  Everyone’s favorite at the holiday of, course, is chocolate which we all know is bad for pets.  If enough is ingested it leads to a racing heart and cardiac complications.  Never think “oh my pet has eaten those before with no problem” because according to Murphy’s Law your pet will get sick when you least want it to.

Of course, we all have our counter surfing, trash digging, hide in the corner and scarf it down before you can catch me pets.  I have seen dogs open the refrigerator and cats find the most obscure dropped piece of food.   Sometimes ingestion of prohibited food just happens.  The best way to prevent this is to know your pet and its habits.  Also, don’t leave your holiday smorgasbord unattended and take the trash out as soon as possible.

On to the fun part - what should be on your fur baby’s holiday plate?    (We are not feeding a holiday-sized serving, just a few nibbles without spices or sauce.)  White meat turkey with green beans and sweet potato will not only be appetizing for your pet but also healthy.  Remember that your pet needs to be able to handle new food- if he has a sensitive stomach DO NOT change his diet or give him people food treats.  For these pets or if you don’t want your baby eating people food, you can still make a holiday plate with treats they rarely get or a spoonful of canned food if they are typically dry food eaters. 

The holidays are full of good eats for people and pets alike as long as you eat safely.


About Amanda Welch

 Amanda Welch DVM, Bryan Bark Park, The Pupdate BlogAmanda and her pup, IV (left) with IV's best friend, Callie (right)

Amanda Welch DVM has been working at Richmond Hill Animal Hospital for thirteen plus years and has been active in the veterinary community for twenty years. She is a graduate of UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine and a Savannah native.  At the time of posting, she has one dog, three cats, a duck and six chickens.  There are also two cute human kids and a husband thrown into the mix.  Amanda is active in her church and the community; loves reading and outdoor sports.   You can learn more about Amanda and the practice at Richmond Hill Animal Hospital by visiting their website:


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