Holidays and Your Pet

From spending time with family and friends to cozying up by the fire with your furry friend, the holidays are often one of the best times of the year. And of course, getting to indulge in delicious treats and comforting meals also helps make the holidays even more enjoyable! However, while you’re enjoying delectable holiday treats and meals, it’s important to make sure your pet doesn’t have access to anything that could potentially be harmful to them. 

Chocolate: One of the more well-known dangers to pets, chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to both dogs and cats. Depending on the amount ingested, your pet could experience a range of symptoms from an upset stomach to seizures, internal bleeding, a heart attack or even worse. Be sure to also keep your pet away from other caffeinated food and beverages, such as coffee or tea.    

Candy: Chocolate isn’t the only sweet that is dangerous if eaten by your pet. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in many candies, is also toxic to pets and can lead to liver failure. In addition to potentially harmful ingredients, candy wrappers also pose a choking hazard if swallowed by your fur baby.  

Fruits: While many of us may opt for the healthier option this holiday season and choose fruits over treats, these aren’t always a healthy option for our four-legged friends. Certain fruits can be toxic if ingested by your furry friend, such as grapes and raisins. 

Turkey: If you know for a fact that your pet’s digestive system can handle turkey, you can give them a very small amount of well-cooked, skinless and boneless turkey. If you’re unsure at all about how your pet will react to eating turkey, don’t feed them any. Pets should not be fed any turkey skin or meat drippings as fatty and rich foods can cause stomach issues in your furry friend, including pancreatitis. You also need to make sure your pet is not eating any turkey with bones in it, as they can ingest the bone which can damage their intestinal tract.

Desserts: If there will be desserts as part of your holiday feast, be sure to keep your pet away from them. Similar to turkey skin and meat drippings, the high fat content found in nuts in many holiday desserts can lead to pancreatitis if ingested by your pet. Macadamia nuts should especially be avoided at all costs, as they can cause illness and even paralysis if ingested by your pet. Common spices found in many holiday dishes, both nutmeg and cinnamon can also be toxic to pets if ingested. 

Garlic and onions: If you’re cooking a dish that calls for garlic or onions, be sure not to give your fur baby a taste! If your dog or cat eats enough of these foods it can result in anemia, so be extra careful when chopping them up to add to a dish. 

Alcohol: As it is toxic to them, pets should never be given alcohol.  

You don’t want to dampen the holiday spirit with a trip to the vet, and luckily there are festive and delicious holiday dog and cat treats available to keep your furry friend happy and healthy this holiday season. If your pet does end up with an upset stomach it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian, but pumpkin supplements can help support your fur baby’s digestive system and soothe their tummy. 

In addition to getting sick due to something they’ve eaten, there’s also the potential for an unpleasant experience if your pet is meeting family and friends for the first time. While properly greeting a dog or cat for the first time may seem like common sense to you, keep in mind that not everyone has had the same exposure to pets. If this is the first time your pet will be meeting your family and friends, be sure to talk to them beforehand so they understand the proper way to greet your new fur baby and ensure everyone remains happy and safe! 

Your pet may also become stressed or anxious if they aren’t used to travelling to family gatherings or having a lot of people around. Luckily, there are many products available that are specially designed to help calm your furry friend during stressful situations. A great tool for easing your pet’s nerves, Thundershirts offer a dramatic calming effect which relieves anxiety in most dogs and cats. The design produces a gentle, calming pressure when worn and requires no training at all – just place the Thundershirt on your pet and observe the results!

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