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What is naughty, and what is nice for your pet this holiday season?

We’ve all been there; you’re prepping the holiday food and your dog jumps on the counter. The cat is stuck in the Christmas tree and ornaments are scattered about. You’re left thinking, what should I do now? Here are a few tips on how to have a smooth holiday with your furry friends.

Naughty list:

Chocolate. This is a big one during the holidays. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are both toxic. Dark chocolate, baking chocolate, and cocoa beans are more toxic than white chocolate and milk chocolate. But all chocolate is a bad idea for your pet.

Xylitol. This is an artificial sweetener used in place of sugar. If you are using this in any of your baked goods this season, make sure that your pet does not get into it. Even just a small amount can be toxic. It can cause a drop in blood glucose levels, which may cause seizures or even liver damage.

Onions/garlic. Cooked, raw, or powdered, all are bad for your pet. These are all toxic and can cause nausea or even anemia.

Raisins/grapes. These are also toxic to your pet and can cause vomiting or even kidney failure.

Turkey/ham bones, skin, and scraps. Even the gravy made from the turkey is bad. The bones can be very harmful if ingested, possibly causing an obstruction. The skin and gravy are very high in fat and can cause pancreatitis. Be careful with seasoning on your turkey/ham as well, because as mentioned, garlic and onion powdered seasoning can be toxic.

Uncooked bread dough. If the dough contains yeast, the pet’s stomach can act like an oven causing the yeast to rise and release carbon dioxide, which may lead to gastric dilatation-volvulus.

Plants. European Mistletoe is toxic to both our feline and canine friends. American mistletoe, on the other hand, is not as toxic. If ingested, mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal irritation such as vomiting and diarrhea. Lillies are very dangerous for cats and can cause kidney failure. Poinsettias, contrary to popular belief, are not as dangerous as people think. They are still toxic though. These may cause mild mouth and stomach irritation, such as drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Garbage. Keep your eye on the trash can, many of the above dangers may be in the bin.

Nice list:

Meat. While a large amount is not good for them, a small amount can be. As long as it is unseasoned, not fatty meat, a small amount can be a nice little treat for your pet.

Veggies. Broccoli, cauliflower, celery, green beans, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are all safe for your dog to eat in moderation. Make sure there is no gravy, butter, or artificial sweeteners used as previously mentioned. 

Cranberries. Plain cranberries, not jelly, are safe for your furry friend.

Baked bread. As long as the bread is fully baked, and does not contain alcohol, or artificial sweeteners, a small amount is perfectly safe.

Cheese. We all know dogs love cheese, so a piece of cheese can be a safe tasty treat for your pet.


Decorating tips:

While an artificial tree is recommended in order to keep your pet from ingesting the pine needles if you do get a real tree to consider waiting to decorate. If you leave the tree bare for a few days your cat may lose interest in it and leave your ornaments alone.

  • Make sure you have a solid base. This will help avoid any tree tipping disasters. 

  • Put foil underneath your tree. Cats generally don’t like the feeling or the sound of it and may find another napping spot.

  • Hang your ornaments with wire hangers and use pliers to tighten them around the branch. This way they are more secure and can withstand your cat’s curiosity.

  • Use safe wrapping techniques. Ribbons and yarn can be dangerous for your pet if ingested, so make sure to secure them or keep them out of reach. 

  • Keep tinsel to a minimum, or avoid it. If ingested, it can be harmful to your pet.