Be mindful of pets this holiday season


Editor's note:

I apologize for the error in the print version of this story that published Dec. 22. The end of the article did not jump to the inside. It has been corrected in the online version as well as the e-edition.

A survey revealed that over 1 in 5 Oklahoma pet owners admit spending more on their pets than their partners at Christmas.


Christmas is often heralded as the most magical time of the year. It’s a time for families and friends to spend time together. We often include our pets in our holiday cheer, but how much holiday cheer is too much for a pet? 

We’ve probably all given our pets table food at one time or another, but it’s important to know which human foods are and aren’t fit for consumption for our furry four-legged friends. According to an article on, there are many human foods that animals shouldn’t eat. Here are some foods you should definitely avoid feeding your pet this Christmas:

Chocolate. This contains a chemical called theobromine which is seriously poisonous if ingested in large quantities by cats or dogs. You probably didn’t know that walnuts and macadamia nuts are actually toxic to pets and can harm their digestive, muscle, and nervous systems. Keep bowls of treats out of reach! Raisins and grapes.

You should never feed grapes or raisins to your dog. Grapes and raisins contain toxic compounds that are harmful to dogs. They have the potential to lead to rapid kidney failure and death. Even small amounts of grapes and raisins can make your dog sick, so it’s important to avoid giving them to your dog altogether.


Salt should be limited in your dog’s diet. Excessive salt intake may lead to salt poisoning or water deprivation in dogs, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, vomiting and seizures. In severe cases, high amounts of salt can be fatal. To prevent adverse effects, you should not feed your dog salty foods, such as chips or pretzels. Furthermore, always make sure your dog has water to drink, which can prevent water deprivation.


Cheese is safe for most dogs to eat in small quantities. Due to the fat and lactose content of cheese, some dogs may have digestive symptoms, such as stomach pain and diarrhea, after eating it. To avoid unpleasant symptoms, it is best to introduce cheese into your dog’s diet gradually. It may also help to only feed your dog low-fat cheeses, such as mozzarella.

Macadamia nuts.

Dogs should never eat macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin that may lead to vomiting, muscle weakness, tremors, hyperthermia, and depression, even if they’re eaten in small amounts. Additionally, macadamia nuts have a high fat content, which may elevate your dog’s triglyceride levels and potentially lead to pancreatitis.


You should never    feed your dog onions. Onions contain N-propyl disulfide, a compound that is toxic to dogs. It can damage your dog’s red blood cells, reducing their ability to carry oxygen through the body. This often results in a condition called anemia. Anemia in dogs is characterized by a variety of symptoms, including lethargy, weakness, decreased appetite and fainting. In severe cases, dogs with anemia may need a blood transfusion. It is important to note that all components and forms of onions are toxic to dogs, even the leaves, juice, and processed powders, such as onion powder.

Even though there are many foods your pet cannot consume, there are still some that are perfectly safe to share with them at Christmas. Plain turkey is fine for your pet. Just make sure there aren’t any sauces or skin on it before giving it to them. They can also consume some Winter vegetables. Think things like green beans, carrots, brussels sprouts, broccoli, peas, spinach, and parsnips and potatoes. Just make sure the salt is limited. Dogs can also eat peanut butter, oatmeal, and several fruits.

Cats should also have a limited diet of human foods. They can eat things like salmon, which is high in protein and omega 3 fatty acid. They can also eat spinach and other vegetables. Spinach is full of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, and K, iron, and calcium.  Cats can also eat fruits like bananas and pumpkin. Like dogs, cats can also consume oatmeal with no adverse effects. Cats differ from dogs in that they are carnivores and require a diet mostly made up of meats, and dogs are omnivores and require a more diverse diet.

If you are unsure if a food will make your pet ill, it’s best to avoid giving it to them. Make sure your guests know what your pets can eat or let them know not to feed them. If you have a pet with special dietary needs, it’s best to keep them away from the parties and dinners.


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