The holidays are here! It’s a joyous (and sometimes stressful) time for humans. But it’s also important to think about how the holidays affect our furry family members: the noise, the strangers, the disruption to your schedule, and of course, the food. The holidays bring many new foods into our homes, and some of those foods are potentially dangerous to our pets.
- Poultry bones – Cooking weakens the bones of turkey and chicken, making them break easily. The pieces can then break and splinter in your pet’s digestive system. If you want to treat your pet with a bone to chew on, check the deli section of your supermarket for bones that are pet-safe.
- Turkey skin and fat – Most of the fat in the turkey is contained in the skin, and those large deposits of fat can be overwhelming to your pet’s pancreas. Instead of giving skin and fat leftovers to your pet, give them lean, unseasoned meat pieces in moderation.
- Alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate – Since our pets generally weigh much less than we do, they are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine and alcohol. Watch your pets around candy dishes and leftovers on plates when there these items are present.
- Onions, garlic, chives – All of these ingredients cause gastrointestinal distress in dogs and cats, so make sure your guests and family members know that sneaking a bite of dishes that can contain them is not OK. If they know feeding your pet table scraps could result in a costly vet bill, they may be more likely to listen.
- Almonds, walnuts, and pecans – These nuts are all very common in holiday desserts and candies, so keep an eye on your pet when they are present. Consider kenneling your pet at night to keep them from getting into things like stockings and leftovers at night.
So what can your pet eat this holiday season?
- Lean meats with no seasoning – Turkey can help reduce anxiety and is a healthful source of protein, just make sure it is free of seasonings and added salt.
- Pumpkin – Pumpkin is a fantastic food for many pets! It’s a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and pets can eat it cooked or pureed.
- Raw veggies – Carrots, peas, and green beans are all great foods for your pet. They will eat them raw or even frozen! Just make sure you’re not using veggies that are pre-seasoned or have additional salt.
- Sweet Potato – Sweet potato has many health benefits, including high fiber content. Sweet potatoes are also low in fat and rich in vitamins A, B6, C, calcium, potassium, and iron. Raw sweet potatoes can be hard on your pet’s stomach, so go for cooked and cubed sweet potato or give them a sweet potato puree.
- Peanut butter – Peanut butter is full of healthy fats, protein, and vitamins. Avoid sugar-free options, as they may contain xylitol, which is highly toxic to pets. Check the bulk section of your grocery store to see if they have a peanut butter grinder, or purchase a natural peanut butter with no additives.
Visit our recipe section for many great ideas for special holiday treats for your pets, including this simple, pet-friendly pumpkin pie recipe!