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Updated November 16, 2023 —Sharing delicious morsels with our pets during the holidays is tempting. However, some seemingly harmless foods can lead to unforeseen health issues and trips to the veterinarian. This season, prioritize your pet's safety by being mindful of the treats you offer and preventing any sneakily consumed snacks.  

While everyone loves a tasty chocolate treat, including our pets, it remains the top culprit for pet poisoning. Theobromine and caffeine in chocolate, especially dark chocolate and cacao, are toxic to pets. Watch for chocolate-covered espresso beans as dogs enjoy sugary, high-fat treats.  

Macadamia Nuts  
Most people don’t realize that macadamia nuts pose a problem for pets. Though the exact toxic component remains unidentified, their high-fat content contributes to potential harm. It's important to note that other nuts are not considered harmful.  

Certain Vegetables  
Onions, garlic, chives, scallions and leeks from the Allium family are toxic to pets — raw, baked, dehydrated, or powdered. Garlic is particularly dangerous, about five times as toxic as onions for cats and dogs. Clinical signs may not immediately appear but could include vomiting, diarrhea and pale gums.  

Bread Dough  
Raw bread dough, as it rises, produces ethanol, which can lead to alcohol poisoning and stomach distention in pets. Avoid allowing pets access to the rising dough to prevent these issues.  

Grapes and Raisins  
Even small amounts of grapes or raisins can be toxic to dogs, and emerging evidence suggests potential toxicity to cats. Owners must be vigilant about any exposure to these fruits, whether raw or cooked.  

Cream of Tartar  
Reports suggest that cream of tartar, found in some holiday treats and homemade playdough, may be toxic to dogs. It contains potassium bitartrate, linked to kidney failure associated with grape and raisin ingestion. Avoid treats containing cream of tartar and seek veterinary advice if ingestion occurs.  

High-fat Foods  
While not toxic, high-fat foods like gravy, turkey skin, and butter can cause pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis) in pets. Pancreatitis is a severe and sometimes fatal disease. Prevent access to these foods to avoid health emergencies during the holiday season.  

Xylitol and Other Items in Your Purse or Backpack  
Purses, backpacks, and items containing xylitol – sugar alcohol – should be stored away from pets, as even small amounts can cause liver damage and drops in blood sugar. Also, keep medication bottles and items like hand sanitizers, which contain harmful substances, out of reach from curious pets.  

Have a Safe Holiday  
This season, cherish the love and companionship offered by our furry friends. Taking simple precautions ensures our pets remain healthy and happy for many more holiday seasons!  

Wishing you a joyful and safe Thanksgiving and holiday season from everyone at Morris Animal Foundation!