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What can my pets eat this holiday season?

What can my pets eat this holiday season?

Can dogs eat apples? Are poinsettias poisonous to cats? Are grapes bad for dogs? Tomlyn veterinarian, Dr. Jim Lowe, will answer some of the season’s most popular pet parent questions.

Unlike people, the gastrointestinal tract of animals is not evolved to need a different type of meal multiple times a day as humans are accustomed to. The pH and microbial flora within a dog or cat’s gut is customized to digesting and assimilating the nutrients contained in a consistent ration.

That being said, it is the season to be merry and we wish to have our pet family members participate in the joys of the holidays. For many, that includes holiday treats for their four-legged companions.

Adding any treat to your pet’s normal diet should be done in moderation and slowly. Moderation may also prevent potential gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea and vomiting.   

Foods to Enjoy

Foods to Avoid

Most berries

Citrus fruits

Vegetables (cooking them helps digestion)

Grapes and raisins

Apples (remove seeds)

Garlic and onions

Whole wheat bread


Bananas and most fruits

Processed, pre-packaged fatty treats

Cooked, lean meats

Table scraps and fatty meats

“While not a food, it should be emphasized that dogs and cats should not have access to poinsettias which contain sap that can be very irritating to the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract,” said Dr. Lowe.


New treats, abrupt changes in diets, or dietary indiscretions can disrupt the pet’s gastrointestinal environment and cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting and diarrhea.

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in candy, gum, mints, toothpaste and mouthwash, can be extremely dangerous if consumed by dogs, so be sure to keep holiday candies out of paws’ reach.

One simple solution is to create a pet treat jar in the kitchen, containing the dry food that your pet normally eats.  By reaching into that jar, feeding a piece of kibble, acknowledging the pet, and creating in them the perception that they are getting something off the counter, you may create a perfect way to treat your companion and include him in the celebration.

Happy Holidays to you and your pets from the Tomlyn family! 

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