Mardi Gras Dos and Don’ts for Pets


Mardi Gras beads


BATON ROUGE, LA—The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine wants to remind owners that Mardi Gras is not always Pardi Gras for pets. Mardi Gras season is a traditional and special time of year for Louisianans, filled with parades, parties, southern food, King Cake and more, but it is important for pet owners to be mindful about their pet’s physical and emotional wellbeing during this special holiday.


Veterinarians at the LSU SVM do not recommend pets ingest human food of any kind, including King Cake, gumbo, jambalaya, fried foods or other typical Mardi Gras cuisine. These types of food can upset the animal’s stomach and potentially cause GI issues. Celebrating the weekend with alcoholic beverages is extremely common, but alcohol consumption for pets can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and more.


Everyone deserves to have a wonderful and safe Mardi Gras weekend, especially pets, even if that means leaving them at home. Dogs should not be brought to parades, unless it is a parade specifically for pets. Mardi Gras parades are often loud and crowded, which can make animals very uncomfortable. When scared or nervous, animals can become easily agitated and can potentially bite. People at the parades may also not be comfortable around dogs or other pets. If you do decide to bring your pet to a parade, please make sure your pet is safety secured by a non-retractable leash, has availability to water and bring bathroom baggies should your pet relieve itself on a public sidewalk. 


Owners should also be mindful about Mardi Gras beads, other throws not designed for pets, as well as King Cake babies. Mardi Gras costumes should be evaluated for safety. The pet should have optimal breathing room and should not wear decorated necklaces as they can be choking hazards.


If your pet becomes sick or if you think that it may have ingested something harmful, contact your veterinarian immediately. Delays in seeking veterinary help may seriously complicate the problem. If your pet requires medical care after-hours, you can bring your pet to the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital on Skip Bertman Drive; the hospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and remains open even during holidays. Please call 225-578-9600 or go to for more information about the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.


Other good resources are the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control at or the Pet Poison Helpline Help is available through these websites and their respective phone numbers 24 hours a day.


For more information about Mardi Gras hazards, or the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, contact Ginger Guttner, APR, Communications Manager, at or 225-578-9922.


The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. The LSU SVM is dedicated to improving the lives of people and animals through education, research and service. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.