Advice from a veterinarian on what not to feed pets
Halloween and candy are connected with Thanksgiving and turkey. As the holidays approach, pet parents should beware of more candy and other seasonal goodies.
Dr. Lori Teller, a clinical associate professor of telemedicine at Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, advises consumers should avoid giving their pets xylitol.
Teller: Never give dogs xylitol. It can cause liver failure and death. It's a common sugar alternative in human foods, but it's so deadly to dogs that Congress wants anything containing it to be labeled. Paws Off Act of 2021
Traditional holiday cooking and baking materials might harm pets. Chocolate, especially dark or baking chocolate, grapes or raisins, fatty foods, macadamia nuts and walnuts, bones, alcohol, uncooked dough, fruit seeds and pits (apples, apricots, cherries, peaches), caffeinated products, avocado, onions, and garlic.
Teller advises storing risky items in pet-proof cabinets, pantries, or containers. Some pets 'counter-surf' to steal something that smells good.
One year we hid Halloween sweets in the coat closet so our son wouldn't consume it, she said. Our Labrador ate 4 pounds of Halloween candy because someone didn't lock the closet. That veterinary visit was fun.
Teller said some items, such as xylitol and grapes or raisins, should be avoided at all costs, but others are dose-dependent.
She explained with chocolate. If your healthy Labrador retriever eats milk chocolate M&Ms, the risk is modest. If your dog swallows a few squares of baking chocolate, seek veterinary attention. Consult your vet when in doubt.
The ASPCA's Animal Poison Control can be reached at (888) 426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.
Some holiday sweets are toxic for pets, but others can be shared. These include apples, bananas, blueberries, and watermelon (without seeds or pits). Teller said carrots, green beans, chickpeas, lettuce leaves, and cucumbers are nutritious. Small amounts of white rice and simple bread are fine. Without skin or bones, cooked chicken, turkey, or fish is safe for pets.
Portion size determines pet food safety.
Teller says treats or human food shouldn't exceed 10% of a pet's diet. "More than this may unbalance their diet. Always consult your veterinarian before giving your pet new foods, especially if he or she has a health condition.
Keeping your pet away from poisonous foods may include teaching children and relatives or keeping the creature out of the kitchen. Keeping your pet safe will help your family have a joyful, healthy holiday.