Many of us like sharing with our pups. Most people food is fine. Remember, dogs are omnivores like we are and enjoy variety. But not all people food is created equal for a canine digestion.
Turkey, Ham, Prime Rib and other meats - add to dog’s food in moderation. No cooked bones. They can splinter and damage or impact the GI tract. Avoid too much fat or gristle. It can lead to pancreatitis, which is very painful and dangerous. Avoid prepared meats that have added lots of added sodium, nitrites and preservatives. Whenever you can, choose free-range, natural and grass-fed meats. Better for you, your pup and the animal who provided the meat. Green Bean Casserole - small amounts of creamy sauce with the green beans is ok. Avoid the onion topping. You could, instead, add fresh raw or cooked green beans to pup’s dinner. Most dogs love the naturally sweet taste – trim them to a manageable size for smaller dogs, of course. Sweet Potatoes - these are a great source of beta carotene and make a highly nutritious snack or dinner addition. Steamed or baked sweet potatoes are high on most pup’s yum-list. Root vegetables can be difficult to digest raw but can be pulverized in a blender or food processor. Avoid side dishes that contain lots of maple syrup, melted marshmallows or candied nuts. Cranberries - Many dogs enjoy cranberries but cranberry sauce and jelly can be full of sugar and other ingredients that pup doesn’t need. Dried cranberries are a nice alternative, if they don’t have lots of added sweeteners. Cranberries contain natural compounds that can help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, so are excellent for cats and dogs prone to UTIs (urinary tract infections).
Pumpkin & Squash - Most pets love them. Making soup? Set aside some of the gently cooked veggies for pup before adding wine, cream, onions and other less pet-friendly ingredients to the mix.
Winter Greens like chard and kale are a super source of vitamins and antioxidants. Brussels sprouts and cabbage are also loaded with nutrients, but they can cause gas. Add small amounts raw, lightly steamed or sautéed. As with all foods, avoid lots of added salt, wine, soy-sauce or butter. White potatoes are fine. They contain fiber and minerals. Don’t serve pup potato dishes that have lots of butter, cream, ranch dressing or oil. Potatoes provide Vitamins B3 and B6, Vitamin C, Potassium, Iron, Copper and Fiber.
Holiday Foods to Avoid
Stuffing and corn pudding should be avoided if they tend to contain onion or raisins.
Desserts and cheeses can cause tummy upsets, especially when eaten in excess.
Relishes, pickles and sauces contain heavy spices, sugar, onion and other ingredients than can unsettle pup’s tummy.
The following foods can be toxic to dogs and cats:
gum or candy containing the artificial sweetener xylitol.
If share your meals with your dog or cat, make additions gradually to be certain he or she can tolerate. Never allow your pet to gorge excessively, because this can lead to health problems such as pancreatitis and bloat. If you do have an incident where your pet gets up on the counter or into the holiday trash and consumes a large amount of leftovers, keep a close eye on him. If you notice any sign of bloating, vomiting or other digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation, contact your vet immediately.
Tummy aches or other health issues over the holiday (or any evening, weekend or other “off time”) contact your closest emergency vet clinic. We here in Brooklyn are blessed with three excellent facilities. And if they are able to talk you through the issue without having to bring your pet in, they don’t even charge:
VERG North 318 Warren Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 718.522.9400
VERG South 2220 Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11234 718 .677.6700
BluePearl Brooklyn 32 4th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217 718.596.0099
Accidental poisonings are a different story. Here minutes count. Immediately phone ASPCA Poison Control. (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card but consider the alternative.