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Holiday Foods That Are Toxic to Cats and Dogs

Thanksgiving is a time to feast and spend time with family–which includes your cats, dogs, and other pets. But before you let them eat something off your plate, you may want to think twice.



Can cats and dogs eat turkey? According to the American Kennel Club, it depends. As it turns out, turkey isn’t actually “toxic” for your companion, rather, its additional flavorings like butter, oil, stuffing, herbs, and spices are what may result in an upset stomach. And of course, all meat should be well cooked and always boneless. If your dog is acting strangely after Thanksgiving, these are some reasons behind their weird behavior.


Onions and Chives

Onions are a huge no-no when it comes to cats and dogs. “No matter what form they’re in (dry, raw, cooked, powder, or within other foods), onions are some of the absolute worst foods you could possibly give your pup (it’s poisonous for dogs, and it’s even worse for cats),” says Sadie Cornelius, Marketing Director for Canine JournalN-propyl disulfide, a compound in onions, is what causes all of the damage. “The toxin causes oxidative damage to your dog’s red blood cells by attaching to the oxygen molecules in your dog’s red blood cells,” says the American Kennel Club. “This reduces the ability of the red blood cells to carry oxygen, and also tricks your dog’s body into thinking that the blood cell is an invader.” The same goes for cats. Your safest bet? Skip the onion altogether. When it’s dinnertime for your kitten, make sure it can drink milk.

ChocolateAgnes Kantaruk/Shutterstock


One of the best parts of Thanksgiving? Dessert! Unfortunately, you can’t share your chocolate bar with your pets. An ingredient in chocolate called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine, is extremely toxic for cats and dogs. This may result in vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures—it can even be fatal. Also, make sure you’re not feeding your dog any of these other toxic foods for pets.

bread-doughOksana Mizina/Shutterstock

Bread dough

Raw dough could actually rise and expand in your pet’s sensitive tummy, causing bloating and discomfort or an even more serious emergency, like a gastric-dilatation volvulus (GDV). That isn’t the only possible consequence of your pet eating bread dough, though. According to, “When the yeast in the unbaked dough is fermented, it results in the production of carbon dioxide (causing the bloat) and alcohol. Alcohol from the fermenting yeast is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and results in alcohol poisoning quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated dogs and cats can experience seizures and respiratory failure.” These are the 10 signs your “healthy” dog is actually sick



Well, at least wild mushrooms. Store-bought mushrooms are OK to feed to your pet, but stay away from wild mushrooms. “Just as the wrong mushroom can be fatal to humans, the same applies to dogs [and cats],” says Cornelius. “Don’t mess with them.” Instead, check out the dog food brands veterinarians always feed their pets


Cake batter

Along with chocolate, cakes, and other baked goods are popular around the holidays. However, the consumption of raw eggs can cause salmonella infection in your pet, just as it can for anyone in your family. (Yes, that means no licking the spoon.) According to, “There are two problems with giving your cat raw eggs. The first is the possibility of food poisoning from bacteria like salmonella or E. coli. The second is rare problem but that a protein in raw egg whites, called avidin, could interfere with the absorption of the B vitamin biotin. This can cause skin problems as well as problems with your cat’s coat.” Salmonella similarly affects dogs, as well. Stick to dog biscuits and kitty treats instead of this sugary concoction. Find out the 16 pet products vets never buy—and neither should you

wrappingNomad Soul/Shutterstock

Food wrappings

Make sure you properly dispose of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and wax paper. While licking up food left on these wrappings pets can ingest some of the wrapper, leading to intestinal obstructions. Also, look out for toothpicks, skewers, and used silverware. If you’re looking for materials for a Thanksgiving craft, this list is your essential stop.

hot-foodAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Hot food

When carrying hot food from the stove or to the table, be sure little Fluffy isn’t taking that moment to weave through your legs. Carrying hot food can be very dangerous for both your pet and yourself as there is a greater risk of being burned. If your cat happens to get into the hors d’oeuvres, know the proper techniques for bathing your kitten.


Too much of anything

Much like humans, too much of anything won’t be good for your cat or dog.  Little tastes of human food could cause stomach pains, diarrhea and even pancreatitis in your pet. Next, find out the 50 secrets your pet wants you to know.

Brittany Gibson
Brittany Gibson is a regular contributor to’s culture, food, health, and travel sections. She was previously an editorial intern for and Westchester Magazine. Her articles have appeared on Buzzfeed, Business Insider, AOL, Yahoo, and MSN, among other sites. She earned a BA in English from the University of Connecticut