Fall Ingredient Safety

by Kristen

 Fall Ingredient Safety header


Ingredients Dogs Can & Can’t Have

The crisp and cool autumn air and falling leaves bring plenty of holiday gatherings and delicious foods. Your dog will undoubtedly want to partake in the festivities, but which ingredients are safe for him to enjoy with you Find out which of your favorite fall ingredients are safe for him to eat and what to do if he gets a hold of something he shouldn’t.

Fall Ingredient Safety Safe in Moderation.

If your dog is eyeing the green bean casserole, give him some raw green beans or cooked, plain canned green beans instead. Other green veggies, like broccoli and spinach are also safe, but may cause gas if he eats too much.

While you’ll want to keep your dog from gobbling up an entire pumpkin (even the mini ones), plain, canned pumpkin is a safe and tasty treat. According to Dr. RuthAnn Lobos, Purina veterinarian, “Canned pumpkin (NOT canned pumpkin pie mix, which contains sugar and spices) is a fabulous source of fiber and can even help with digestive upset.” Pumpkin seeds are also safe for your dog to enjoy.

Plain, cooked turkey and chicken are both safe for dogs. Stick to the white meat and avoid the skin and bones. Although the bones sound like a fun and delicious way to keep your dog occupied, they can cause serious problems if ingested.

Many dogs love the crunch and flavor of raw carrots, but they can eat cooked, unseasoned carrots, too. Even the green tops are edible.

Believe it or not, dogs can eat cranberries (along with several other fruits and berries). Although they’re a safe treat, many dogs won’t like the tart flavor. Keep the sugary cranberry sauces and relishes out of reach.

Cooked, mashed sweet potatoes are a great, lower-calorie treat option for dogs, says Dr. Lobos. “They contain beta carotene, which is an important contributor to vision and growth, as well as vitamins B6 and C. They’re a natural source of fiber, too,” she says. Leave out the brown sugar, marshmallows, butter, syrup and other additions. The extra fat and calories could cause digestive upset among other problems.

Fall Ingredient Safety Not Safe

Spices and seasonings like salt, pepper and garlic should all be avoided. Although these ingredients add a lot of flavor to our favorite recipes, they’re dangerous for dogs. Too much salt, for example, can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures.

Although onions are a popular ingredient in many dishes, they’re toxic to both dogs and cats. Onion powder has an even higher potency. Keep your pets away from anything that might contain onions in any form. If you think your dog has ingested onion, look for signs like weakness, lethargy and fainting. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

Whether it’s a deli ham or the honey-baked variety, they should be kept out of your dog’s reach. Deli hams contain a lot of salt and most baked hams are loaded with sugar— neither are good for dogs to ingest in large amounts.

If you’ve got baked goods or other dishes containing raisins, keep them out of reach. Raisins (and grapes) are toxic to dogs and can lead to kidney failure, which can be fatal. Symptoms of grape toxicity include vomiting and/or diarrhea, lethargy and weakness, dehydration and abdominal tenderness.

This artificial sweetener is found in a variety of foods, from certain peanut butters and yogurts, to cake and cookie mixes and certain condiments. Like other unsafe ingredients on this list, symptoms of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, weakness and lethargy, plus it may cause a lack of coordination or seizures.

If you suspect your dog has ingested an unsafe ingredient, monitor him closely for symptoms and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. It’s wise to have your veterinarian’s after-hours number posted in a central location, like on the refrigerator, before the holiday festivities begin.


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Fall Ingredient Safety Vet with CatDR. RUTHANN LOBOS / DVM / CCRT
Purina Institute Manager of Scientific Programs & Events

Dr. Lobos joined Purina in 2005 as Veterinary Communications Manager for Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets. She currently serves as the Manager of Scientific Programs & Events for the Purina Institute, which advances the science of nutrition, promoting global collaboration with veterinary and other scientific thought leaders to help pets live better, longer lives.

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