“Eat This, Not That” for Dogs and Cats: Holiday Edition

Originally published November 2018 on the Core Paws blog

What holiday foods are safe for dogs?

The fall and winter holidays are just around the corner, and with them often come great feasts! If your canine companion will be joining you in the festivities, they’ll certainly want to partake in your holiday meal as well. While it’s tempting to show your love and affection through a special serving or table scraps, it’s important to know which human holiday foods are safe for your dog.

Can dogs eat turkey?

  • EAT THIS: Plain, boneless and well-cooked turkey breast (white meat) is a great source of lean protein. For dogs with sensitivity to beef or chicken, turkey is also a healthy alternative.
  • NOT THAT: Be sure to remove any skin or fat, which can cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the digestive organs), and be especially mindful of the seasoning or spices that turkey may have been cooked with. Some herbs and spices, such as salt or chives, can be dangerous for dogs! As with any poultry, raw turkey may contain salmonella, and its bones become brittle when cooked, leading to sharp pieces that can damage the digestive tract if ingested.

Can dogs eat vegetables and potatoes?

  • EAT THIS: Some of your favorite side dishes can also become a favorite for your pup. Carrots, green beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins, iron, potassium and fiber. Raw carrots can also help with dental health due to their mild abrasiveness, and plain, baked or boiled potatoes and sweet potatoes are safe in moderation. Green beans are a delicious treat, as long as they are plain and not part of a green bean casserole!
  • NOT THAT: Do not allow your dog to eat any dishes with onions, garlic, scallions, shallots, leeks, chives or other ingredients containing alliums, which are toxic to dogs. If ingested, alliums can lead to anemia with symptoms such as breathlessness, lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting. Raw potatoes contain the chemical solanine, which is toxic to both humans and animals, so be sure that your dog-safe spuds are also cooked thoroughly.
Eat This, Not That: Holiday Edition for Dogs

Can dogs eat cranberries?

  • EAT THIS: Fresh, raw, cooked or dried cranberries are a yummy snack for your pup, plus they’re rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Cranberries may also improve bladder health, reduce tartar and plaque buildup, and fight bacteria.
  • NOT THAT: Canned cranberries and cranberry sauces are often high in sugar, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and expose your furry friend to a risk of diabetes. Sugar-free cranberry sauces may contain xylitol, and cranberry sauce recipes sometimes call for grapes or raisins, all of which are highly toxic to dogs.

Can dogs eat pumpkin or apple?

  • EAT THIS: De-seeded apple and raw, cooked or pureed pumpkin can be a healthy treats for dogs. They’re rich in nutrients such as protein and fiber, which are beneficial for digestive health and urinary health.
  • NOT THAT: Stay away from pumpkin pie or apple pie filling, which might be loaded with sugar and spices. Too much sugar can lead to gastrointestinal upset in dogs, and recipes may call for cinnamon or nutmeg, which can cause toxicity or allergic reactions in dogs.

What holiday foods are safe for cats?

While cats are known to be pickier eaters than their canine counterparts, there are some holiday foods that you can share with felines. If you’re wondering what holiday treats you can safely give to your cat, keep reading!

Can cats eat turkey?

  • EAT THIS: Plain, boneless and well-cooked turkey breast (white meat) is a great source of lean protein. For cats with sensitivity to beef or chicken, turkey is also a healthy alternative.
  • NOT THAT: Be sure to remove any skin or fat, which can cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the digestive organs), and be especially mindful of the seasoning or spices that turkey may have been cooked with. Some herbs and spices, such as salt or chives, can be dangerous for cats! As with any poultry, raw turkey may contain salmonella, and its bones become brittle when cooked, leading to sharp pieces that can damage the digestive tract if ingested.

Can cats eat potatoes?

  • EAT THIS: Plain potatoes and sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins, iron, potassium and fiber, which are key nutrients for cats. Plain potatoes and sweet potatoes are safe in moderation, and most cats will prefer them served mashed or baked. You can even mix a little with their regular food!
  • NOT THAT: Raw potatoes contain the chemical solanine, which is toxic to both humans and animals, so be sure that your cat-safe spuds are also cooked thoroughly. Never serve your cats dressed potatoes or gravy made for humans, as they may contain garlic, shallots, chives and other herbs that can cause toxic anemia in pets. Many mashed potato recipes also call for dairy products that can cause diarrhea and digestive issues in lactose-intolerant cats, and gravy is also often too high in fat and salt.
Eat This, Not That: Holiday Edition for Cats

Can cats eat cranberries?

  • EAT THIS: Cats aren’t known to enjoy the sweet or tart flavor, but cranberries are rich in healthy antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Pure, unsweetened cranberry juice can be shared with cats and may be effective in reducing the occurrence of urinary tract infections and bladder infections.
  • NOT THAT: Canned cranberries and cranberry sauces are often high in sugar, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and expose your furry friend to a risk of diabetes. Sugar-free cranberry sauces may contain xylitol that can be toxic to cats.

Can cats eat pumpkin?

  • EAT THIS: Cats can have plain, pureed or soft-baked, fresh pumpkin, which is high in fiber, antioxidants like beta-carotene and other nutrients. Pumpkin can also be beneficial for digestive health and urinary health.
  • NOT THAT: Keep your cat away from pumpkin pie filling, which might be loaded with sugar and spices. Too much sugar can lead to gastrointestinal upset, and recipes may call for cinnamon or nutmeg, which can cause toxicity or allergic reactions in cats. If working with fresh pumpkin, don’t feed your feline the stem, skin, or pulp, which are rough on their digestive tracts.

Bring home a hard-to-place animal for the holidays

The holidays are undoubtedly a wonderful time to be thankful for your loved ones. Consider bringing even more joy to your home and to the life of a hard-to-place dog or cat — this holiday season is the perfect time to grow the family you celebrate with, and there’s no greater gift a shelter animal can receive than a loving home.

Visit Core Paws to view some of these adoptable animals.