Stuffing, pies, hot dishes and turkey thighs, oh how food portions are often oversized.

It’s that time of year where the lofty amounts of food at holiday get-togethers lead to “doggie bags,” but did you know giving your pet leftovers could do more harm than good? Before sharing the “doggie bag” of food with your furry friend, understand the dangers that go along with it. Knowing the items to avoid may just save you an unwanted trip to the veterinarian.

Here are potential risks/issues your pet could encounter from eating table scraps:


Although this should be a given, beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages should never be offered to your pet in any amount. Alcohol consumption can cause problems in your pet’s central nervous system. Animal kidneys are not equipped to filter the various harmful chemicals found in alcoholic beverages. Similarly, yeast dough, if consumed raw, can cause your pet to become drunk, which holds similar danger to your pet.

Chocolate and coffee

Among the delicious cocoa-flavored candy, coffee is also dangerous for your pets. Various chemicals in foods including caffeine can stop a pet’s metabolic processes when ingested. A small amount can cause diarrhea and vomiting, and a large dose can result in heart problems, tremors, seizures and even death.


Did you know that both cats and dogs have a slight lactose intolerance? Their bodies lack the enzyme lactase which helps break down diary products. This makes digestion difficult and may cause digestive issues. Products such as ice cream, milk and cheese should be avoided.


Although some nuts can provide health benefits, macadamia nuts, pecans and walnuts are extremely poisonous to dogs, and they should never be given to your pets. Ingestion of these nuts can result in severe nervous system problems. It’s best to discuss any nut consumption with your veterinarian to understand what’s safe and what’s not.


Vegetables and herbs that fall in the Allium family should not be fed to your pet. Consumption of onions, garlic, leeks and chives can lead to anemia, which may not be apparent for a few days. Monitor your pet for delayed symptoms, such as collapsing, weakness and elevated heart rate.

Raw meat

While there are potential benefits associated with raw dog food, there are also concerns that should not be overlooked. Harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli, are much more likely to be found in meat if it’s uncooked. An additional hazard of uncooked meat may occur if bones are present. They may become lodged in your pet’s throat, causing choking, or even puncture their digestive tract.

Be cautious and keep an eye on what’s around your pets. It’s best to be well-prepared; contact your veterinary clinic to learn what immediate help you can receive in the case of an emergency. If your vet does not offer emergency care, there are poison control center helplines. However, many helplines require a consultation or incident fee.

If you offer human food to your pets as a treat, think twice to save your furry friend from discomfort and health issues. Instead, have pet treats on hand.