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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

Preparing for a Pet-Friendly Holiday Season

A brown and white dog jumping up onto a counter to check out foodThe holidays will be upon us before you know it. Delicious pumpkin pie, brightly wrapped gifts, and the twinkle of lights make for the most festive time of year. However, the issue for many pet owners is how to make all the festivities more pet-friendly.

Thankfully, potential holiday disasters can be averted with some pet-wise planning.

The Case of the Missing Turkey Leg

During this time of year, rich foods are plentiful. From gravies to cookies, the holidays are all about feasting. Unfortunately for our pets, many of these foods cause not only tummy aches, but can also be poisonous.

To keep your pet away from any tasty temptations, put him or her in a different room during meal prep and dinnertime. Ask family members to avoid leaving plates or glasses unattended and to refrain from feeding your pet table scraps (even if begging is involved!).

Some major toxins to keep off your pet’s menu include:

  • Chocolate (especially baking grade or dark chocolate)
  • Xylitol (often found in sugar-free baked goods, candy, and gum)
  • Garlic and onions
  • Alcohol (particularly sugary cocktails)
  • Raisins, currants, and grapes

In addition, the more we overindulge in rich foods, the more likely we are to want to give our pets a bit more as well. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing can result in gastrointestinal problems and obesity, so it’s best to stick to your pet’s regular diet during the holiday season.

Décor Disasters

Keeping your pet away from the Christmas tree or other holiday decorations may seem like an impossible mission. All those chewable, sparkly things are just too much for most pets to resist, and while a broken ornament is a nuisance, some decorations also pose a real danger if ingested. Watch out for the following pet hazards:

  • Tinsel, icicles, and curling string are kryptonite for cats and are the reason for many veterinary emergencies this time of year
  • Candles pose a significant fire risk
  • Plants such as holly, mistletoe, and lilies are quite toxic (choose silk flowers instead)
  • Snow globes contain chemicals like antifreeze and are easily broken – stash them somewhere out of reach or simply pass them on to someone else
  • Shattered ornaments can become embedded in the skin or cause other  injuries

Pet-Friendly Holiday Ideas

Although there are many risks for pets during the holidays, there are also plenty of ways to make this season very pet-friendly. To include your pet in the merriment, try some of these pet-friendly activities and offerings:

  • For the occasional cat or dog-focused feast, it is fine to treat your pet to a bit of boneless, skinless turkey or some steamed green beans or carrots (assuming he or she isn’t allergic to certain foods).
  • Have a little pre-party specifically for your pet. This could include an extra walk to the park or opening gifts with plain wrapping paper or a nifty box (sure to make kitty happy!).
  • Visit a family member with a pet or someone who adores pets and allow your best fur friend to get some additional love and adoration.

The holidays are a time of joy and celebration, and there’s no reason they can’t be equally enjoyable for our four-legged family members. Taking the extra time to plan ahead will save you and your pet a lot of stress and will make this time of year memorable for all the right reasons.

For more information about pet food allergies or other allergy conditions, please contact us. From everyone at Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic, we wish you and your family a happy holiday season!