It’s a classic scene: A dog begging at the Thanksgiving dinner table, a toddler throwing his food and the dog gobbling it up, Grandpa letting the dog lick the leftovers and gravy from his plate, and an older child putting leftovers on top of the dog’s food. While it’s a cute picture and may seem harmless, certain human foods can be dangerous for our pets. This holiday season, be sure to keep your dog away from the following foods.

#1: Grapes and raisins

Grapes and raisins are perhaps the least-known danger, but they can be deadly for dogs. Grape and raisin toxicity is difficult to manage, because some dogs can eat them and experience only minimal effects, while others may experience kidney failure and even death after eating a small amount. If your dog ingests these fruits, treat it as an emergency and contact our office immediately.

#2: Garlic and onions

Garlic and onions, which are alliums, are commonly used in home cooking and restaurant meals and can be toxic to dogs, so think twice before letting your dog clean your plate. Alliums can cause liver damage and anemia. Many prepared foods contain concentrated garlic and onion powders that are not obvious, and therefore pose a greater risk to your pet.

#3: Bread dough

Making a loaf of homemade bread over the holidays may be a favorite family pastime, but as you watch the dough rise, be sure to also keep an eye on your pup. If your dog consumes raw bread dough, the yeast in the dough will produce alcohol as a byproduct, which can lead to alcohol poisoning. And, the warm environment in your pet’s stomach will encourage the dough to continue to expand, leading to painful gastrointestinal issues.

#4: Caffeine 

Many people know chocolate is bad for dogs, but do not know that what makes it dangerous are caffeine and theobromine, two chemicals found in the sweet treat—especially dark chocolate. Anything that contains caffeine, including coffee, tea, and espresso beans, is toxic to dogs. Exposure to foods containing caffeine, including chocolate, can cause the heart rate to increase to dangerous levels.

#5: Mushrooms

Many mushrooms—especially wild mushrooms—are toxic and should never be fed to dogs. Also, ensure your yard is mushroom-free and watch carefully when outside with your dog. Be aware that many mushrooms are toxic to humans, too.

#6: Nuts 

A bowl of mixed nuts can tempt all of us over the holidays—even your dog. But, if your dog gobbles up too many at once, a dangerous gastrointestinal blockage or pancreatitis can occur. Macadamia nuts in particular have been known to cause unpleasant side effects, so keep those out of paw’s reach.

#7: Alcohol

While not a food, alcohol poisoning is prevalent in pets, because beer, wine, and alcoholic drinks are not the only threats. Rum-soaked cakes or food cooked with wine also can be dangerous, as well as bread dough (see #3 above). Alcohol-poisoning signs include hypertension, seizures, and respiratory failure. Consumption of alcohol in any form, and particularly bread dough, must be treated as an emergency.

#8: Nutmeg

Pets can be exposed to a worrying amount of nutmeg, which is used often during the holidays. In small amounts, in gingerbread or spice cookies for example, nutmeg can cause gastrointestinal upset. In larger quantities, nutmeg can lead to hallucinations and seizures. Always keep raw or freshly baked cookies away from counter-surfing pets.

Planning to entertain family over for the holidays? Ensure everyone who comes over for dinner understands to keep the human treats away from your pets. If you believe your dog has ingested something toxic, contact our team immediately.