PetFirst Pet Insurance

Monitoring Pet's Diet During the Holidays

What They Can and Cannot Eat


Jeffersonville, IN -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/19/2015 --The holiday season provides an opportunity to spend time with family, friends and loved ones, all while consuming copious amounts of deliciously filling food. For dog owners, it can be a challenge to keep ever-hungry pets content amidst a sea of affable relatives and masses of food. The scents can drive a dog crazy with excitement, and resisting the urge to share with a puppy-eyed pal is enough to drive a loving owner crazy, too.

Luckily, there are a few holiday staples that can safely be shared with furry family members. Here are the top five foods that are safe to share with your dog during the holidays.

Safe Holiday Foods for Dogs

Pumpkin: Canned pumpkin is flying off the shelves due to the dessert table staple, pumpkin pie. Though the pie is not recommended, plain cooked or canned pumpkin is a sweet, nutritious treat dogs love. It's high in fiber, low in fat and loaded with vitamins.

Turkey: Dogs love the taste of turkey, and as the centerpiece of the annual Thanksgiving feast, there is always plenty to go around. Just make sure the pieces shared with pets are bone free, as bones can present serious choking hazards for dogs. The best type of turkey for pets is leaner light meat, as opposed to the fattier dark meat and skin.

Green beans: Plain green beans are excellent nutritious snacks for dogs! They contain large amounts of fiber, manganese and vitamins C and K. They're also good for dogs trying to maintain a healthy weight. For a crunchy twist, try freezing green beans and giving them as a healthy-alternative snack.

Corn: As long as it's not on the cob, loose corn is perfectly fine to share with your dog. Dogs are voracious eaters, and a hungry one devouring corn still on the cob could be very dangerous if cob pieces are swallowed.

Sweet potatoes: Dogs love the taste of sweet potatoes, and owners will love their benefits, acting as a good source of dietary fiber, beta carotene and vitamins B6 and C. Keep consumption low and offer only one or two small bites.

Moderation is key when giving pets any food, even if the food is considered safe. A few pieces of boneless light meat turkey, some frozen green beans, or some corn mixed in with a dog's kibble won't hurt, but overindulgence could lead to a slew of issues, including upset stomach, diarrhea and pancreatitis.

Katie Blakeley, chief executive officer of PetFirst Pet Insurance, says even a few extra table scraps can cause quite a bit of damage to a dog, leading to costly vet bills.

"A pancreatic attack can be serious and cause lifelong damage; and, it can also be expensive to have the dog treated by a vet," said Blakeley. According to PetFirst, the average veterinary bill for pancreatitis costs $688.75.

And while moderation is key for feeding a dog holiday leftovers, there are several foods a pet should never ever consume, in any quantity.

Holiday Foods Dogs Should Never Consume

Alcohol: It should go without saying, but one shouldn't ever give beer or any alcohol to any pet. It's extremely toxic and can lead to a number of complications, including death, so avoid it all together.

Stuffing: The best tasting stuffing is usually full of butter, fat and other add-ins like onions, garlic, scallions, leeks and more. All of those things are bad for pets, even toxic.

Mashed potatoes: If mashed potatoes are plain and bland, with minimal fat and salt, they're fine to share with your pet. But, hardly anyone prepares mashed potatoes "plain and bland" for the holidays. Most have loads of butter, heavy cream and gravy, which can upset a pet's stomach and cause pancreatitis.

Cranberry sauce: Many recipes for cranberry sauces contain nuts, sugar, raisins and even pineapple, none of which are dog-friendly. Cranberry sauce also often contains macadamia nuts, which are a known toxin to dogs.

Turkey gravy: Way too full of fat for any pooch. There are plenty of Thanksgiving alternatives that won't upset a pet's stomach and leave them feeling bloated and lethargic.

PetFirst also warns owners to be careful with kitchen wrappings - aluminum foil, wax paper and plastic wrap. A rambunctious pet might lick food left on these wrappings and may ingest some of the wrapper, leading to intestinal obstruction. Similarly, be cautious of toothpicks, skewers and any other sharp items in a pet's reach.

About PetFirst
PetFirst is the fastest growing pet insurer in North America offering easy-to-understand lifelong coverage for dogs and cats. PetFirst's comprehensive coverage is unique in the industry providing simplified policies with coverage for hereditary, chronic and breed-specific conditions with no per-diagnosis limits. PetFirst offers pet insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through animal welfare agencies, retailers, employers as well as other partners. PetFirst polices are underwritten by American Alternative Insurance Corporation (Munich Re) which is rated by A.M. Best as A+. Additional services are underwritten by Lloyd's.

For more information about PetFirst pet insurance, visit or call 877-894-7387.