How To Keep Your Pets Safe During The Holidays

by Lara Rutherford-Morrison

This time of year, when we are busy stuffing ourselves full of sweets and holiday feasts, it’s tempting to let our pets share in the holiday cheer. But as this list of foods your pets should and should not eat demonstrates, we have to be careful about what we feed our furry friends, even when we want to indulge them a little. According to Banfield Pet Hospital, it’s usually OK to give a bit of “people food” to our dogs and cats over the holidays — in moderation. But giving them the right food is essential in making sure that they stay healthy and happy throughout the season.

True story: I once left town for Thanksgiving, and left my dog in the care of a very sweet neighbor. When I came back, she said, “Oh, we had a great time! I gave George a big bowl of turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy to celebrate, and he LOVED it.” Guess who then spent the next three days taking care of a very sick pup? (Spoiler: It was me.)

The lesson here (besides the fact that giving a full Thanksgiving dinner to a dog is a terrible idea) is that it’s up to us as pet owners to make sure our pets don’t eat things that will hurt them. Dogs don’t know that certain types of people food will make them sick; they just know that it smells good, and they WANT IT. SO BADLY. Seriously, this is my dog’s exact expression anytime I’m eating anything, even if it’s something that would make her very, very ill:

Thankfully, Banfield has made this handy guide of “naughty” and “nice” foods for our pets. On the “NO” list, we have, among other things, booze, chocolate, garlic, gravy, grapes, artificial sweeteners, and bones. If you want to give your dog or cat a holiday treat, pick from the “YES” column, and go with cooked eggs or chicken, peanut butter, plain yogurt, carrots, or cooked sweet potato. Of course, be careful about changing up your pet’s diet too much, and if your dog or cat has a sensitive stomach or a history of gastrointestinal issues, talk to your vet before feeding them something new.

Check out the full list:

Images: Pixabay; Giphy; Infographic courtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital