During the holidays many a human indulges – eating and drinking in excess and sometimes…sharing with pets.  Remember, extra treats do not equate to love and since human, canine and feline bodies are NOT a like, some of what we consume can be down right deadly to our four-legged friends.

A little boiled or broiled white meat chicken or turkey is a great option however, you may be surprised to learn that more and more cats (and even some dogs) are developing allergies to chicken and fish. The key is moderation and staying away from dark meats, cooked fats and skins, gravies and anything slathered with oils, butter or salt. If you slip a little turkey into your pet’s bowl or drooling lips, it’s one thing, but remind Uncle Bob, Cousin Charlie, Grandma, your sister-in-law and the kid down the street not to also do the same. Pancreatitis can result which means a major organ is inflamed and you pet will need to spend the holidays in Intensive Care at your local Animal ER!

Pets can eat fat, bone, and gristle from animals caught in the wild, but once cooked, fat becomes grease and something their bodies can NOT metabolize. Boiled and roasted bones splinter and can puncture a plethora of body parts from the inside out. Cooked carrot slices, broccoli or string beans (without the salt and butter) can be a nice change and sweet potatoes (minus the marshmallows, butter and brown sugar) offer vitamins, fiber and yumminess! Many companies now make excellent dehydrated sweet potato chips that pets love, or if you are so inclined, make some yourself and present in a tin on Christmas morning to your best friend 🙂

RECIPE…Slice washed raw sweet potatoes into 1/3″ thick slices (of course make thinner for smaller pets but they will shrink up) and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Preheat oven to lowest setting (approx 175 degrees Fahrenheit), and place in oven to sloooooooooooowly bake for about 8 hours. Shut off oven and leave them in to cool overnight. Let Fido enjoy and try smaller ones out on Fluffy too!

Dehydrated liver, fish or chicken make tasty treats as well and in the colder months, hunt down some kitty grass as a delicacy and digestive aid. Cats are oblate carnivores meaning most veterinarians will concur that they should NOT be vegetarians, yet even the lion in the wild eats some grass with his meal.

Although human beings don’t notice the smell of sugar in our coffee, dogs can detect a spoonful of sugar in an Olympic-sized pool of water! Giving them a diluted teaspoon or tablespoon (depending on their size) of gravy over their kibble is enough to satisfy their canine palates and olfactory senses.

Take care with rising yeast breads. If you have a counter-surfing pooch who consumes this unbaked food, the yeast may continue to ferment in his tummy causing alcohol poisoning! Do you know PET FIRST AID and the quickest route to your ANIMAL ER?  It’s a must!

Never let pets lick up spills or out of wine or cocktail glasses. A small amount of alcohol for a small creature can result in serious symptoms from lack of coordination to death. Cats in particular like to drink out of classes, so keep a watchful eye!  

Grapes and raisins can result in kidney failure.

Chocolate and caffeine can cause accelerated heart rate and breathing, seizures and even death.

Nuts range from digestive issues to toxic ones — a few Macadamia nuts and your small dog may suffer paralysis by morning.

Most adult dogs and cats are lactose intolerant so dairy should be off their menu. Non-fat plain yogurt and peanut butter can be delightful treats just read for any artificial sweeteners — Xylitol in particular can be deadly to our pets!

Supervise bowls of nuts and candies — especially if candies are in wrappers, they too could be consumed and result in a choking hazard or intestinal blockage.

And be oh so careful with toothpicks used in hors d’oeuvres. Without me drawing you a picture, you know what a toothpick could look like inside your pet!  Pet’s swallow the craziest and most dangerous of things, so be careful what you leave around that might smell or taste good.  Here’s a spoon!

Remember when you share the love of a dog or cat, you have a furry toddler for life. Make sure you keep a watchful eye and keep dangerous items (even though not dangerous to you) out of paws and claws reach!