Updated Nov 15, 2023 - Health

Keep your pet's paws off the holiday pie

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One member of the family you shouldn't share your holiday meal with: your pet.

Why it matters: Onions, garlic, chocolate, raisins, sugars and artificial sweeteners are among the most toxic foods for dogs and cats.

Here's what you should know:

🧅 Onion and garlic, raw or cooked, contain toxins called disulfides and thiosulfinates which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia, vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Other alliums plants like leeks and chives are also dangerous.

🍫 Chocolate contains theobromine, similar to caffeine, which dogs cannot metabolize. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increase body temperatures, seizures and low blood pressure.

  • By the numbers: The Animal Poison Control Center averages over 103 cases of chocolate ingestion per day.

🍠 While sweet potato and pumpkin are safe in moderation and nutrient rich, say no to giving them a slice of your pie.

  • "Sweet potatoes may be healthy for dogs, but excess fat and sugar are not, so you have to separate out some before adding butter," says Mary Giron, a Tampa Bay veterinarian.

🍬 Xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol used in sugar-free sweeteners, can cause hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, liver damage, seizures and vomiting.

🦃 Turkey and chicken, cooked, boneless and without seasoning is safe for your pet.

  • Yes, but cooked bones can cause serious harm to a pet's intestines, throat and teeth.

🫛 Green beans, carrots, apples, and cranberries are all safe treats your pet can enjoy during the holiday season.

Be smart: Cook a special, separate meal for your dog or cat "to avoid the chance of a toxic ingredient accidentally finding its way into their dish," Giron says.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to show that dogs can have special pumpkin treats but not pumpkin pie.

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