As a general rule, it is best not to feed your pet those food items that are designed for human consumption.  However, the bond between pets and their humans can make it difficult for one to abstain from all sharing, especially during the holidays.  Fortunately, there are some leftovers one can safely share.

Giving Your Pet Holiday Leftovers

When considering what to share with your pet, it’s important to first know exactly what holiday leftovers it’s vitally important to avoid giving them:

  • Anything you know may upset their stomach. Some pets just cannot handle new foods, especially in large quantities. If your pet seems sensitive to new foods, it’s best to avoid giving them anything new to try.
  • Large amounts of fatty, spicy and new things. Even if your pet seems comfortable trying new foods, a bunch of new, intense foods can be overwhelming.
  • Onions and other alliums. Onions, garlic, leeks, scallions and other alliums can potentially lead to toxic anemia.
  • Chocolate. It’s true that a small piece or two of milk chocolate may not appear to affect your pet, but dark and baking chocolates are particularly toxic and may result in a rush visit to the emergency vet’s office.
  • Grapes or raisins. Studies have indicated that grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, and can cause extensive problems when given to pets over a long period of time.
  • Xylitol. This sugar substitute can be helpful to humans, especially diabetics, but is extremely toxic and deadly for dogs.  It is best to just not have it in the house at all if you have inquisitive pets.

Foods you can share in limited quantities with your pet include:

  • Turkey. Try to remove excess fat and skin, and make sure there are no bones.
  • Mashed potatoes. These are normally fine as long as they are free from cheese, sour cream, onions and gravy.
  • Cranberry sauce. In very small amounts, due to high sugar content, cranberry sauce can be okay.
  • Plain pasta. If you’ve cooked pasta for macaroni and cheese, give them some of the plain pasta to enjoy.
  • Green beans. Plain green beans can be totally fine for your pet to consume–but not when they are mixed with other ingredients, as in a casserole.

Of course, it is wise to carefully watch your pet after you feed them anything new, and make sure they are able to handle it well.