Local vets warn about holiday dangers for pets. Here are the foods to watch out for

NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — No one wants to take their pet to the emergency room on Christmas Eve.

But with parties and holiday food, every year, local veterinarians say pets, especially dogs, can get into trouble.

Channel 2′s Linda Stouffer spoke with local veterinarians about what owners should look out.

Dr. Christine Whitley cares for dogs at the Blue Pearl Pet Hospital in Sandy Springs. Whitley said they see a spike in emergencies at Christmas up about 300% for chocolate-related concerns.

“They come in the hospital, can get high heart rates, neurological signs. You definitely want to keep them away from that,” she said.

Phillip Wheeler’s dog got into chocolate but recovered.

“I tell you, it was one of the scariest moments of my life,” Wheeler said.


In addition to chocolate, some of the most dangerous foods for your dog are garlic and onions, which can be toxic. Bones or fatty meats and yeast dough are also dangerous as they can expand in a dog’s stomach.

If you want to share with your dog, try these instead: turkey meat, scrambled eggs or potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots.

“For cats, I worry about decorations in the house. They eat like strings and stuff. They might need surgery,” Whitley said.

Bottom line is if you’re not sure what’s safe, check with your local veterinarian. Here are more foods that are considered unsafe for pets, according to Blue Pearl.

“Paws off” foods

  • Garlic and onion.
  • Bones, or fatty meats (or meat scraps). Even in small doses, these foods can cause a life-threatening condition in pets called pancreatitis.
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Nuts - Keep almonds, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia, and pecans, and foods containing these nuts out of pets’ reach.
  • Yeast dough - Yeast in dough will continue to rise once ingested, distending their stomach, and releasing toxic levels of ethanol into their bloodstream. The real danger is from the resulting alcohol toxicosis which causes depressed central nervous system, weakness, an unsteady, drunken gait, hypothermia, seizures, and coma.
  • Food cooked with nutmeg
  • Xylitol – or foods or candies with xylitol as an ingredient

Safe foods

  • Turkey meat.
  • Salmon. No seasoning, bones, and non-smoked.
  • Lamb meat. No bones or fat.
  • Scrambled egg(s)
  • Green beans
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Parsnips
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Plain, low-fat yogurt (Check the ingredient list to make sure xylitol is not listed.)