Hello Obe friends!
We hope you enjoyed a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and are looking forward to more festivities to come!
This time of the year calls for many family and friend gatherings, which inevitably means lots of time gathered around food! Holiday cooking, and eating, is unique in that families work with and cook food items that may not typically be eaten the remainder of the year. While some of these items are not holiday specific, I thought it would be helpful to clear the air on whether the following items are safe for your feline and canine companion family members, any time of the year:
Persin is the known toxic component in the flesh of avocados and while studies have clearly demonstrated their toxicity in bird, rabbit, guinea pig and goat species, very little has been demonstrated in our companion canine and feline species.
While we don’t have enough studies documenting toxicities in dogs and cats, it is important to take the following published information into consideration when offering avocado to your cat or dog:
- For both dogs and cats, avocado pits pose a serious intestinal foreign body hazard. It is important to make sure the flesh and pit is immediately discarded and not used as a chew or play toy.
- In dogs known to have fat sensitivities or predisposed to pancreatitis, like Schnauzers, the high fat content of avocados would be contraindicated for ingestion.
Because there is so little known about this item, I personally would not go out of my way to offer my dog or cat avocado but if they happen to inadvertently ingest a small amount, I would not get too worried.
There is no reported study that shows bananas are toxic to dogs or cats. Keep in mind, as long as the addition of treats are within 10% of the daily caloric intake, the amount of sugar in bananas is pretty low and much less energy dense than other commonly used treats. TIP: bananas can be a healthier substitute for peanut butter and cream cheese when you need to hide pills or to medicate.
Cranberry extract has been used in human medicine for decades as a supplemental therapy for the treatment of lower urinary tract infection however very little is published on whether whole cranberries are safe for dogs and cats to ingest. I have not found any studies that show contraindications for the ingestion of cranberry fruit in dogs and cats. However, I would advise against offering the traditional, sugar-laden cranberry purees or holiday formulations as these have more ingredients than the GI tract of dogs and cats can handle and would stick to offering the plain fruit cut into small quarter pieces, if your companion family member happens to not mind the sour taste.
The root of this vegetable is very edible and the only part that is safe for dogs and cats to consume, if they find it palatable. If you are growing this root in your backyard, make sure that your dog or cat does not ingest the seeds or any other parts of the plant as they have been shown to contain a toxic component called rotenone.
Edible mushrooms that are safe for human consumption are also safe for feline and canine consumption. Mushroom toxicities have been extensively studied and rarely hold a good prognosis. Even if you feel you are trained in detecting safe vs. unsafe mushrooms in the wild, I would strongly advise against exposing or allowing access to your companion family members.
As many of you pet owners have already experienced, pumpkin is often used as a supplemental dietary therapy for the treatment of diarrhea. Pumpkin is a wonderful high-moisture, high-fiber food item that is very low in calories and highly palatable making it a win-win addition to any diet.
Remember: the rule of thumb for any additional treats or food items is that it should provide less than 10% of your dog or cats daily caloric intake otherwise we run the risk of unbalancing the diet.
Every individual is different and handles nutrients differently. If you noticed any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or inappetence within 24-48hrs post ingestion of any of the above items, please seek immediate veterinary medical care.