During the holidays, it is very tempting to want to “treat” our pets to something special. Unfortunately, this can result in very serious consequences. Many small pets can be adversely affected from what might seem, is a tiny piece of food.
To be on the safe side, it is best to avoid giving your pet anything except extra love and attention. Holidays can be a confusing time, especially if guests are coming to your home, and can be stressful as well. Adding new foods can only compound the problem.
On holidays, it is quite common for emergency animal clinics to be filled with dogs and cats being brought in after suffering from a severe bout of pancreatitis. Giving pets table scraps such as fat from meat, cooked bones, turkey drippings and gravy, even in small amounts, can make them sick. Pet owners and doting relatives who overindulge the pet in holiday food are not only causing a change in the pet’s diet (which can make them sick on its own) but combining that with high fat foods can lead to serious, sometimes even fatal consequences.
Still, it is natural to want to pamper your pet and so if you want to give your pet an extra snack, plan ahead. Have safe treats such as your pet’s favorite treat available or consider giving fresh vegetables (steamed preferably) or lean meats or fish. A small teaspoon of canned pumpkin (plain pumpkin-not with pumpkin pie spice and sugar!) is also a safe option. Even a piece of a baked sweet potato, white potato or yam is ok.
The following foods, however, can be dangerous so avoid giving them to your pet:
* Grapes or raisins
* Onions (cooked or raw)
* Sweets (cookies, cake, ice cream, etc.)
* Rolls/bread (many pets are allergic to gluten)
* High fat foods such as butter, gravy or peanut butter
* Cooked bones (they can cause choking and tearing in the GI tract)
The most common thing people tend to do during the holidays is give the dog and cat scraps off the table, such as gravy, turkey drippings and pieces of fat. These high fat foods can cause diarrhea, vomiting and overload the pet’s digestive system.
Moreover, overtreating pets on holidays or anytime leads to obesity. Numerous studies indicate that pet obesity is on the rise contributing to an increase in life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, hepatic lipidosis and cancer.
So to make your holiday special with your furry friends, make safety your number one priority. Keep pets in a designated part of your home if guests come over so that they can’t get loose when the door opens. Don’t leave them alone in a room when candles are burning and plan ahead if you want to give them some special treats.
Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday!