PUBLISHED: 4:50 PM on Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Vets warn too many table scraps, some foods could harm your pets
This holiday season, don't let your dogs and cats gobble too many table scraps.

Veterinarians warn pet owners that it could be hazardous to unload too many leftovers into Sparky's food bowl.

An estimated 45 percent of pets in the United States are overweight or obese, according to Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

Just like in people, obesity increases the risk of Osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and cancer, according to APOP.

"There's probably not anything that's actually toxic," said Dr. Larry Farley, a veterinarian. "But the biggest problem that we see is people feeding way too much."

High-fat foods like turkey skin can also cause other complications.

Turkey skin and ham are difficult for an animal's body to digest, Farley said. Too many servings of these foods can lead to gastrointestinal problems or pancreatitis.

"We usually don't recommend feeding table food," he said.

Turkey bones splinter and can easily get stuck in an animal's throat, Farley said. Raw meats, for example, contain bacteria that could cause an upset stomach.

Pet owners also should never feed their animals anything that contains grapes or raisins - such as fruit salad or fruit cake - because grapes can cause kidney failure in some dogs.

Reserve chocolate treats for your guests as well. Even in small amounts, chocolate can be deadly to pets.

Warning signs a dog or cat may have had too many leftovers or ingested something toxic: vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea.

Refrain from giving your animal water if he is vomiting, Farley said.

If symptoms don't subside within 12 hours, call your veterinarian - especially if your pet is obviously in pain, Farley said.