Holiday pet safety.

The holidays are an exciting time of year when it seems like everyone is baking, making delicious treats, and indulging in goodies. While you’re enjoying your favorite holiday treat, you may feel tempted to give your pet something special, too. Even though you don’t want your animal family members to feel left out of the festivities, you have to be mindful of what treats are safe for them to consume. The team at Elmhurst Animal Care Center has put together this guide of holiday treats this winter season so you know which ones are safe and which are dangerous. 

Dangerous Holiday Treats for Pets 

Keep an eye out for these dangerous ingredients in your holiday baking and meal preparation. If you believe your pet has ingested a toxic substance, call your veterinarian immediately. You can also contact the ASPCA Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 for assistance. 


Chocolate poisoning in dogs is very dangerous. If your dog eats chocolate, they could become very ill and experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased panting and thirst, excessive urination, and increased heart rate. But why is chocolate toxic to dogs? Chocolate contains caffeine and the chemical theobromine, both of which are heart stimulants, diuretics, and blood vessel dilators. Dogs do not have the ability to metabolize these chemicals, which is why they are so much more sensitive to them than humans are. 

The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to dogs. Depending on the type of chocolate and the amount consumed, the signs of chocolate poisoning may take hours to develop, and can potentially last for days. Keep chocolate treats locked away in your refrigerator or cabinets, to avoid your pet accidentally consuming any. 

Raisins, Grapes, and Currants 

Raisins and currants can be added to muffins, cookies, and holiday cake recipes, and grapes can often be a part of a delicious brunch or snack. While these ingredients may seem like a healthy option for humans, they are extremely dangerous for your pets to consume. Any variety of grapes, raisins, or currants are toxic to dogs and should be avoided entirely. If your pet has ingested these substances, he may become lethargic, have difficulty breathing, or experience vomiting or diarrhea. Call your veterinarian immediately if you believe your pet has eaten grapes or raisins. 

Macadamia Nuts and Other Nuts

Macadamia nuts are another one of the most dangerous food items for dogs. If ingested, your pet may experience weakness, lethargy, shaking, vomiting, or diarrhea. Other common nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, and more can also cause stomach discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, or lead to ​​pancreatitis. Keep the holiday baked goods with any nuts sealed away safely to avoid an accidental pet poisoning this holiday season. 

Healthy Holiday Treats 

If you are looking for fun and fresh foods to include in your pet’s diet, we’ve got you covered! These healthy ingredients are okay to give your pet in moderation, as a holiday treat, snack, or in addition to their daily kibble. 

  • Pumpkin (canned or baked, but avoid pumpkin pie filling) 
  • Carrots 
  • Sweet potato (fully cooked and unseasoned) 
  • Apples (cut into slices and remove the seeds before serving) 
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries 
  • Peanut butter (make sure it does not contain the ingredient xylitol, which is poisonous to pets) 
  • Broccoli 

For more pet treat ideas, give the team at Elmhurst Animal Care Center a call at (630) 530-1900. We’re happy to offer tips and tricks for healthy treat options, and offer guidance on what to avoid feeding your pet.