Lucy Postins of The Honest Kitchen offers her expert advice on what common holiday leftover foods may be dangerous for your dog. “We are definitely proponents of adding leftovers to their food,” says Postins. “Some people are proud that they do not give their dog people food, but we see it differently.”Postins, who worked for a commercial dog food company before starting her own, understands that the quality of food that a dog eats is directly related to the animal’s health. She is also a big advocate of providing a wide variety of foods in the canine’s diet to keep the digestive system working and processing the right types of food.
So, the question is: What foods are safe and what foods are not?
Leftover Meat: DO
Scraps of turkey, prime rib, and even properly cooked ham are just fine to add to your dog’s food—although be sure to take into account how sensitive your dog’s stomach is. Also, try to avoid fat and gristle.
Cooked Bones: DON’T
You definitely do not want to let your dog chew on any cooked bones. The bone may splinter and the shards may pierce your dog’s digestive tract. There is also a choking hazard with cooked bones.
Green Beans: DO
Vegetables like green beans that are either raw or lightly steamed are a good addition to your dog’s diet. Avoid corn, though, because dogs have difficulty digesting it.
Grapes or Onions: DON’T
These common foods are often added to holiday dishes, so be sure that none make it into your dog’s bowl. Both can be very toxic.
Sweet Potatoes/White Potatoes: DO
Pure diced sweet potatoes with no added ingredients are great for regulating your dog’s digestive system. Skinned white potatoes in moderation are good as well. The skin of white potatoes is not healthy, so be sure to remove it.
/ Cranberry Sauce: DON’T
One of the most common holiday side dishes can help your dog if they are in the right form. Whole cranberries are great for bladder health, but the added sugars in cranberry sauce are not ideal.
Pumpkin or Squash: DO
Cooked pumpkin or squash is great when it is blended and mixed with dry dog food and other meats. This helps create healthier bowel movements.
The complex carbohydrates in turkey stuffing and dressing can cause your dog’s liver to overproduce enzymes to digest and process that food. This can cause serious health problems later in life.
Plain Soup/Broth/Gravy: DO
As long as there are no onions or other dangerous foods in there, plain soups, broths, or gravies are a nice addition to your dog’s food. Think of it as their little holiday treat.
For many dog caretakers this is common knowledge, but a little reminder always helps. The chemicals in chocolate and other holiday candies can be lethally toxic to dogs. Make sure your four-legged friends don’t get near this stuff.
Everything in Moderation:
Postins says that she is working very hard to help people think differently about their dog’s diet, but one key to good canine nutrition is to make sure that you do not over indulge your pet. Just like humans, too much of anything can be a bad thing.
This article was originally published on November 21, 2011