I shouldn’t share baked goods with my pets?

The holiday season is a time of indulgence for many Americans, and you may be tempted to pass along the good cheer to your four-legged friends.  When including them in the festivities, be careful not to overdo it, however.  Many traditional holiday baked goods are not good for, or even harmful to, our pets.  Be wary of the following:

  • Chocolate

Most people know that chocolate is not good for their pets.  The compound theobromine can cause digestive side effects (think diarrhea and vomiting) at lower doses, but at higher doses it can cause increased or irregular heart rate, seizures, and even death.  Dark chocolate and baking chocolate contain higher levels of theobromine.  The dose is also size dependant, making smaller critters at the highest risk of serious side effects.  Play it safe and find a different treat for Fido.

  • Macadamia nuts

A frequent ingredient in holiday baked goods, macadamia nuts are also on the naughty list.  Ingestion can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, and loss of coordination.

  • Pastry/bread dough

Uncooked yeast-containing treats can expand when mixed with body heat and cause bloating or obstruction.  Also, the organisms can produce enough alcohol as they ferment to lead to alcohol poisoning!  Don’t let your pets sneak a taste of your baked goods!

  • Grapes/raisins

Many treats contain this ingredient.  Grapes and raisins have the potential to cause kidney failure in dogs, and the amount needed varies greatly from pet to pet.  For some animals very few can cause devastating results.

  • Xylitol

If you use this artificial sweetener in your baking, be aware that tiny amounts can cause severe side effects in dogs resulting in liver failure, low blood sugar, and even death.

Instead of sharing people treats with your pets, find a recipe for homemade treats or visit a local dog bakery.  Doing so helps to make sure that your pet enjoys the holiday season as much as you do!