Common holiday foods can be toxic to your pet

This week, millions of us will pack our bags and travel thousands of miles to sit down for dinner with the people we love.

But Atlanta veterinarian Dr. John Younker, the owner of Common Companion Vet Co. ,says if you love your pet, be careful with those Thanksgiving table scraps.

"After Thanksgiving we see a lot of cases of pancreatitis, which is severe inflammation of the pancreas, that is associated, a lot of times, with dogs being fed really high-fat foods," Younker says. "We also see a lot of GI upset from pets being fed turkey carcasses, where the meat has been picked off and they give the dog the bone."

Dog waits for food.

Your pet may beg for a little Thanksgiving dinner, but be careful. Certain foods can be toxic to animals. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says even small amounts of turkey or turkey skin can make pets sick.

Also, never feed pets poultry bones, which can splinter and rupture a dog's stomach or intestines.

Other holiday staples, like nuts, nutmeg and citrus, can also make animals ill.

Cat poses for photo

Be careful about feeding pets certain holiday foods.

"Many times, we assume dogs can take any medication humans can take, they can eat any food that a human can take," Dr. Younker says.

But, he says, that's not always the case.

 "Human food in general is not a good idea to feed your pet, but especially bones, or things containing onions or garlic or raisins," Younker says.

Same thing with grapes.

cats relax on a couch

Some popular foods, decorations can be dangerous to our pets.

"We still don't know a lot about how grapes and raisins hurt dogs, but it seems to affect their kidneys and can create kidney failure, if they eat enough of them," Younker says.

To read the ASPCA's list of foods that can be hazardous to pet, visit

Chocolate can also be toxic to both dogs and cats. 

Dog waits for a treat

Some popular foods, decorations can be dangerous to our pets.

The AVMA says baked goods are too rich, and may contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener also found in sugar-free chewing gum and candy, that can cause liver failure in dogs.

Holiday decorations can also be tricky.

A big one?

Cat relaxes

Some popular foods, decorations can be dangerous to our pets.

"Drinking out of the Christmas tree water," Younker says.  "It's kind of a nasty breeding ground of stagnant water, where bacteria and mold can form, and it can create GI upset in dogs,"

And plenty of cats are drawn to shiny tinsel on the tree, and may eat it.

"It can be, at a minimum, abrasive to the lining of their gut," Younker says.  "But, if it's long enough, it can create a blockage in their intestines which sometimes requires emergency surgery, to get rid of."

Finally, keep the booze away from your pets.  Alcohol, even in small amounts, can be toxic to animals.

If you suspect your pet may have ingested something hazardous, the ASPCA has Pet Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435.

You can read more about the hotline at

There is a consultation fee of $65, but poison specialists can advise you about whether you can treat your pet at home or need to seek emergency treatment.