Navigating Oktoberfest Foods with Your Furry Friend

As you prepare to enjoy the lively festivities and delicious treats of Oktoberfest, it’s important to keep the safety and well-being of your furry companions in mind. While indulging in traditional Bavarian fare, be cautious and avoid sharing certain foods with your pets to ensure their health and happiness.


Sausages, Meats, and Ham Hocks:

The iconic sausages, such as Bratwurst, that trim Oktoberfest tables, are a culinary delight for us, but they are not a suitable treat for your pets. Laden with high levels of fat and salt, these meats can trigger gastrointestinal upset and potentially lead to pancreatitis in dogs. The array of spices and seasonings included in these iconic sausages might also exacerbate the stomach upset. Similarly, ham hocks contain excessive fat that can cause GI upset and potentially pancreatitis. Ham hocks may also pose a choking hazard or foreign body risk depending on the amount ingested.

Pretzels and Dough:

While the pretzels at Oktoberfest are soft and irresistible, it’s best to resist the urge to share any raw dough with your furry friends! The yeast present in the raw dough can ferment in their stomach, leading to discomfort, bloating, and potentially alcohol poisoning. Furthermore, the excessive salt content in pretzels can be harmful to pets and lead to neurologic signs.


Beer is synonymous with Oktoberfest, but its consumption is a strict no-no for pets! Alcohol ingestion can result in serious health repercussions, from behavioral changes to vomiting, tremors, and even coma. Keep a watchful eye on spilled beverages and unattended cups to prevent accidental consumption by your pets.


The quintessential sauerkraut, cherished in traditional Bavarian dishes, is best kept off your pet’s plate. Sauerkraut’s strong flavor may not agree with their stomach, potentially causing vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst. Sauerkraut may also contain onions and garlic, which are poisonous to pets and can lead to anemia.


Mustard should also be avoided as it can cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Additionally, mustard often contains other ingredients of concern, such as onions, garlic, and spices.

Fall Flavors:

If you’re eager to share a touch of autumnal delight with your pet, consider offering them a taste of cooked pumpkin. Cooked, plain, unsweetened pumpkin is a safe and nutritious option, rich in fiber and low in calories. Always consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods to your pet’s diet.

While immersing yourself in the joyful spirit of Oktoberfest, taking a moment to be mindful of what foods to share and what to avoid, you can ensure that your pets also partake in the celebrations safely!


Written by:

Michele Moncrief, Iowa State University, Class of 2024, Pet Poison Helpline DVM student extern

Samantha Koch, CVT, Veterinary Information Specialist II Pet Poison Helpline