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Choose Wisely and You CAN Include Your Pet in Holiday Meal Festivities

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Today we are offering some sound advice for how to safely include your pets in your holiday feasting. Don’t Forget Your Pet When Preparing Holiday Meals is a refreshing departure from the typical advice, which is to steer clear of holiday foods when it comes to your pets. It’s not that abstaining from holiday feasts for pets is bad advice, it’s just not that much fun. And most of us don’t really follow that advice anyway, since we love including pets in our family traditions. Here’s a short summary.

Turkey, Ham, Prime Rib, and other meats. Okay in small amounts/moderation and focus on meat – not fat and gristle. However, never feed any type of cooked bones – they can splinter and damage the GI tract. Too much fat and gristle can lead to pancreatitis – a very uncomfortable and dangerous condition. Stay away from meats with added sodium, nitrates, and preservatives – they are bad for you and your pet.

Green Bean Casserole. Okay in very small amounts, but don’t include the onion topping. Fresh raw or cooked green beans are okay to add to your dog’s food at any time.

Sweet Potatoes. Excellent source of beta carotene and is highly nutritious. Steamed or baked sweet potatoes are ideal and easy to digest. Avoid serving your pets the traditional holiday version of sweet potato casserole that contains lots of syrup, marshmallows, or candied nuts.

Cranberries. A great addition to your pet’s bowl any time of year and especially during the holidays. No cranberry sauce or jelly, though, as these can be full of sugar and other things that Fido shouldn’t have. Cranberries are good to help prevent urinary tract infections.

Pumpkin & Squash. These are wonderful foods to share with cats and dogs in moderate amounts. Most pets love the taste of these yummy and nutritious vegetables.

Winter Greens. Chard and kale are awesome sources of vitamins and antioxidants. Brussels sprouts and cabbage are also loaded with good nutrients, but they can cause gas in your pet’s tummy. These can be added raw, lightly steamed, or sauteed, but without added salt, wine, soy sauce, or butter.

White Potatoes. Okay in moderate amounts. Avoid serving your pet potato dishes loaded with cream, dressings, oil, or butter.

List of Holiday Foods to Avoid

  • Stuffing and corn pudding
  • Desserts and cheeses
  • Relishes
  • Onions
  • Chocolate
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Candies with xylitol

As with any time you change your pet’s normal meal routine, it is best to make additions to your pet’s bowl gradually so you can ensure your pet is able to tolerate what you are serving. Don’t allow your pet to gorge. Gorging can lead to pancreatitis or bloat. If you do experience an incident where your pet overindulges due to counter surfing, or getting into the holiday trash, keep a close watch. If you notice signs of bloating, vomiting, or other digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation, a visit to your vet’s office is recommended, without delay.

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