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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Don't Feed These to Fido

You may share your backyard and even your bed, but it’s probably best to avoid sharing a meal with man’s best friend, or any other pet for that matter. Listed here are some common everyday (and holiday) goodies Fido should never have.

Holiday Goodies

Raw Yeast, Bread Dough

Why: Forms gas in the digestive track; fermentation of yeast causes alcohol poisoning.

Poisonous to: All species, but only dogs typically ingest it.

Possible effects of poisoning: Distention of abdomen, vomiting, disorientation, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma, seizures.

Mistletoe and Holly

Dangerous for: Cats and dogs.

Possible symptoms: Mistletoe and holly may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and heart arrhythmia in both cats and dogs.

Turkey Bones

Even if your dog looks at you with pleading eyes, resist the urge to throw holiday table scraps his way. Rich, fatty foods can cause illness, and ingested turkey bones can splinter and puncture internal organs.

Dangerous for: Leftover food and bones can be harmful to both cats and dogs.

Possible symptoms: Consuming leftover food may cause animals to experience vomiting and diarrhea. Fatty foods can also promote pancreatitis—a potentially dangerous inflammation of the pancreas that produces toxic enzymes and causes illness and dehydration. If swallowed, bones can cause stomach perforation and painful constipation that requires veterinary help.

Sugar-Free Baked Goods

Holiday cookies might look like a tempting treat for Fido, but the artificial sweetener xylitol, found in some sugar-free baked goods, can cause his blood pressure to drop to dangerously low levels.

Dangerous for: Dogs.

Possible symptoms: Vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure may indicate poisoning from xylitol.


Chocolate, which stimulates the nervous system and the heart, should be kept far away from four-legged friends. Although all chocolate should be avoided, dark chocolate poses a greater risk than sweeter varieties, such as milk chocolate.

Dangerous for: Mainly dogs. Cats don’t have the same “sweet tooth” and aren’t as likely to eat dangerous quantities.

Possible symptoms: Consumption of chocolate can cause agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate, tremors, seizures, and even death.


Fluffy might look thirsty, but keep her away from the punch and eggnog. Pets should never ingest alcoholic beverages, because alcohol depresses the nervous system.

Dangerous for: Cats and dogs.

Possible symptoms: Alcohol may cause vomiting, disorientation, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma, and seizures.

Tinsel and Ribbons

These shiny decorations may look pretty, but they can cause serious problems for cats and dogs. Never wrap tinsel or ribbon around the neck of a pet, no matter how festive it looks—this is a choking hazard.

Dangerous for: Cats and dogs.

Possible effects: If swallowed, tinsel and other decorations like ribbon can cut up the digestive tract and cause intestinal obstruction.

Christmas Tree

Pine needles won’t harm your pet, but there are plenty of dangers surrounding a Christmas tree. The tree should always be properly secured, and fragile glass ornaments should be kept off low-lying branches to avoid losing family favorites if your pet decides to play. If your cat is prone to climbing, leave ornaments off the tree for a few days to see if he will attempt to climb it.

If you have a real Christmas tree, don’t add fertilizer to the tree water, and keep pets away from stagnant water in the reservoir.

Dangerous for: Cats and dogs.

Possible symptoms: Tree fertilizer and stagnant water may cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Everyday Goodies

Grapes, Raisins

Why: Damage the kidneys.

Poisonous to: Dogs, cats.

Possible effects of poisoning: Increased thirst, increased urination, lethargy, vomiting.

Garlic, Onions

Why: Damage red blood cells, causing anemia.

Poisonous to: Cats, dogs.

Possible effects of poisoning: Vomiting, red-colored urine, weakness, anemia.

Macadamia Nuts

Why: Cause muscle and nervous-system problems.

Poisonous to: Dogs.

Possible effects of poisoning: Vomiting, lethargy, weakness, increased body temperature, tremors.


Why: Contain persin, which damages the heart muscle.

Poisonous to: Most species?birds are especially sensitive.

Possible effects of poisoning: Vomiting, diarrhea (in dogs), lethargy, difficulty breathing (in birds and rodents).


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