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Dangerous Holiday Foods for Pets: What to Avoid and What to Feed Instead

Dangerous Holiday Human Foods for Pets

The holiday season is the most exciting time of the year for many people, with its delicious foods and festive atmosphere. However, for pet owners, it is a time to be cautious with the food that we serve.

Our beloved furry friends might be tempted to sneak a bite of that seasoned turkey, cranberry sauce, or sweet potato casserole, but what we see as harmless can be deadly for them. Feeding our pets table scraps during a festive dinner or party is never a good idea.

While it may seem like a treat to us, it can lead to harmful consequences for them. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top dangerous holiday foods for pets and what to do instead.

Seasoned Turkey Meat and Skin

The holiday centerpiece is often a roasted turkey, and the savory smell can be tempting for pets. However, seasoned turkey meat and skin can be harmful to their health.

The high salt and pepper content, along with any herbs and spices, can cause brittle bones, gastrointestinal tract problems, and obstruction. Additionally, the turkey skin can be loaded with unhealthy fats, which can cause pancreatitis in pets.

Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Instead, give your pet a turkey-flavored cat or dog food.

You can find many healthy options on the market that are specially formulated for pets.


Stuffing is another popular holiday side dish that we should not share with our pets.

Stuffing contains onion, scallions, garlic, or other members of the Allium family, which can bring about oxidative damage to pets’ red blood cells, causing anemia, weakness, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.

Raisins are often added to stuffings, which can be toxic to pets in high amounts. To avoid any potential problems, you should serve your pet pet-friendly stuffing.

There are specific recipes online for homemade stuffing that is safe for pets, or you could also go for gluten-free, grain-free, and vegetable-packed stuffing.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is commonly served on Thanksgiving, and while it may be safe for humans, it is not healthy for pets. Cranberry sauce is loaded with sugar and can lead to increased risks of obesity, diabetes, and dental issues.

High-fructose corn syrup, which is a common ingredient in cranberry sauce, is harmful to pets and should be avoided at all costs. Instead, give small slices of raw cranberries to your pet.

Cranberries are beneficial for their urinary tract health, so it’s a win-win.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Mashed potatoes and gravy are a comfort food staple, and often on the holiday menu. However, it is not a pet-friendly dish.

Gravy can cause gastroenteritis, and dairy products in mashed potatoes can cause lactose intolerance, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and abdominal pain. Instead of feeding them mashed potatoes and gravy, substitute it with healthy pumpkin mash.

Pumpkin is great for dogs’ digestion, and if you want it creamy, use unsweetened plain yogurt instead of heavy cream for the added probiotics.

Sweet Potato Casserole

The majority of the recipes for sweet potato casserole are dessert-like, full of milk, brown sugar, marshmallows, pecans, and are strictly forbidden for pets. This dish can cause digestive tract blockage from the high dietary fiber content.

Instead, feed your pet pumpkin or sweet potato puree, which is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving classic, but it’s not a good idea to share it with your pet. The dairy-based sauce and onion toppings can be a real problem, resulting in fatal red blood cell damage for dogs.

It’s also not significant when it comes to their nutritional needs. Instead, you can feed your pet boiled green beans without toppings on them or have your vet recommend other appropriate vegetable choices.

Candied Yams

Candied yams are only for human consumption. In most recipes, candied yams allude to the use of butter and brown sugar, making it a harmful treat for pets.

Instead, in moderation, you can feed sweet potato as a healthy and safe treat that they’ll love.

Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob can be a dangerous food for pets, mainly dogs. Small pets, especially, are at risk of choking or intestinal obstruction when they consume corn cobs.

Instead of corn on the cob, opt for canned corn, which has no cobs or kernels removed off the cob before feeding it. However, it should not be their primary source of food due to its nutritional value.

Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and cheese is both comfort food and a staple at any holiday feast, but it should not be served to pets. Adult cats are intolerant of dairy, and too much of it can cause diarrhea, gas, and abdominal distress.

There are alternatives to cheese that you can use to improve the recipe when cooking for your cat.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is probably the most popular Thanksgiving dessert. However, it is made with sweetened condensed milk and loaded with sugar, which is poisonous to pets.

If you have leftovers, do not let your curious pet eat them. Instead, safely dispose of them.


Finally, eggnog is a popular holiday drink that frequently includes raw eggs and cream. This favorite drink is especially dangerous for pets, as consuming it can result in alcohol poisoning.

Instead of eggnog, encourage your pets to drink water or other safe alternatives during the party. What Can You Give Your Cat Instead?

You may be wondering what to give your cat instead of holiday table scraps. Below are some pet-friendly holiday treats that your cat will love:

– Healthy, holiday-themed cat treats: You can purchase these at any pet store or make them at home using safe and healthy recipes.

– Fun catnip toy: Cats love catnip, so gifting them a fun catnip toy will keep the holiday exciting for them.


The holiday season is a great time to enjoy the company of friends and family, especially with the delicious food. However, when it comes to our pets, it’s imperative to be cautious with the food they consume.

Avoid table scraps and treats that can harm their health, and instead, opt for healthy and safe alternatives. Your pets will thank you for always looking out for them.

In summary, while the holiday season is a time for indulgence and festive feasting, it is crucial to be cautious when it comes to our pets. Table scraps and holiday treats can be harmful to their health, causing digestive problems, obstructive blockages, and toxic reactions.

Instead, opt for safe and healthy alternatives such as pet-friendly treats and meals, and always prioritize your pets’ well-being. Happy holidays to you and your furry friends, and may they enjoy their special treats without any adverse effects.

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