The holiday season is often a time of joy, gathering, and great food for humans – but what about our pets?  As celebration begins, take a moment to make a plan for your four-legged companion and prepare for pet-friendly festivities.

Food Safety

Great feasts often go hand-in-hand with this season’s holidays, but not all people foods are safe for our pets.  These foods are ones you’ll want to be cautious with:

Bird might not be the word – Veterinarians often recommend keeping that Thanksgiving turkey away from your pets (no matter how bad they want a taste).  Raw or undercooked turkey can contain bacteria that is harmful to our furry friends.  Dogs and cats often have a difficult time processing fatty foods, so things like turkey skin and other trimmings can lead to gastrointestinal upset.  Small bones pose as a choking hazard and can cause extreme internal damage to our pets.

Chocolate, sugar substitutes, and milk – oh my! – You’re probably already aware that chocolate (especially dark chocolate) can be toxic to our pets, but don’t forget to keep those foods containing xylitol (found in some peanut butters) and dairy-based products away from Fido and Boots, too.  Yeast is also very harmful to both cats and dogs, so never give your pal access to things like raw bread dough.

Sharing the stuffing? – Dogs should not be eating onion, garlic, mushrooms, raisins, or nuts.  Try making your pup some homemade treats of her own!  Here are a couple of dog-friendly recipes to try this season:

Decoration Dangers

If you like to put up decorations, remember to be cautious about those metal ornament hooks, tinsel, pinecones, and light strands if you have a furry friend.  Some popular floral staples pose a threat to our pets’ well-being, too.

These plants, though beautiful, are poisonous to cats and/or dogs:

  • Autumn crocus
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Holly
  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettias
  • Lilies

Having Guests?

Whether your pet loves or despises having new people in the home, be prepared this year if you welcome guests.  Having a safe, quiet space for our pets to retreat to when they feel overwhelmed is important.  Try turning on a radio or TV, give them plenty of water and a snack, and ensure their favorite toy is within paw’s reach.

Now is a great time of year to remind pet owners to update their pets’ microchips and ID tags.  Even the most well behaved canine or feline might escape through a door that opens and closes as guests arrive and depart, so in the event they get lost, having proper identification on their body could help bring them home faster.