5 Game Day Foods to Avoid Feeding Pets

5 Game Day Foods to Avoid Feeding Pets

Keep an Eye on Football and Your Pet

Football parties are exciting, loud and usually complimented by an array of tasty finger foods and drinks. You may not be the only one overindulging during this weekend's big game; your dog or cat may be sampling, too. You might end up with a mild upset stomach but your pet could end up in the ER.

To avoid accidental poisoning, put out a trash can with a lid so that your pet can't nose around for scraps. Be sure to ask children and other party goers not to leave food on a low table or on the floor as your pet will be tempted to investigate.

1. Alcohol

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Pets can easily become attracted to an unattended cup of wine, beer or especially sangria left sitting on the ground or a low table during a party. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.

Desserts containing alcohol or unbaked yeast-containing dough are also culprits.

2. Fatty Foods and Bones

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Chicken wings, pizza, hot dogs and burgers are just a few foods known to be high in fat. If your dog eats any of these, he's at risk for vomiting and diarrhea and developing pancreatitis.

Table scraps like chicken or ribs can also contain bones which can be dangerous for dogs. Although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, he can choke on it. Bones, especially cooked ones, are prone to splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog's digestive system.

3. Onions and garlic

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Onions, garlic, and chives (along with leeks, shallots and other members in the Allium family) are popular ingredients in party foods such as burgers, egg salad, salsa and guacamole to name a few. These veggies contain compounds called disulfides and thiosulphates which can be extremely toxic to cats and dogs. Ingesting even a small amount can lead to hemolytic anemia, when the red blood cells that circulate through your pet’s body burst.

Garlic is considered to be about five times as potent as onions. These veggies may also cause an upset stomach (e.g., nausea, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea). Although poisoning may have a delayed onset and clinical signs may not be apparent for several days, immediate veterinary care is recommended.

4. Chocolate, Sweets and Soda


Dogs like eating sweets, too; however, they can become very sick as a result. Chocolate, some sodas, brownies and fudge contain theobromine and caffeine, which can be lethal to dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the higher risk of toxicity.

Xylitol, a sugar substitute commonly used in sugarless gum, sugar-free baked goods and candies, is also extremely dangerous to your dog. Ingestion of any small amounts of the product will cause the rapid release of insulin and result in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Immediate care is recommended if you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate, sweets or soda. Read more about dogs and chocolate.

5. Nuts

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Nuts are a common snack food. In fact, one of the most frequent online searches is "are peanuts safe for dogs?" Pets and people alike would agree nuts are a tasty treat; however, certain types of nuts can lead to toxic poisoning in your pet.

Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and ingestion can result in incoordination, tremors, and hind limb weakness. While most other edible nuts are not toxic to dogs, they all contain high amounts of fat which, when ingested in large amounts, can cause an upset stomach and create gastric distress or pancreatitis. Small dogs may even be at risk for a bowel obstruction

Nuts are also a common ingredient in cookies. If you'd like to learn more about toxic nuts to pets, check out our Nut Dangers Infographic.

If you are concerned about any dangerous or toxic substances your dog may have consumed, please contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline.*

*A fee is billed by Pet Poison Helpline. PPH is not affiliated with Nationwide pet insurance.