How to Not Ruin your Christmas Dinner and Other Great Holiday Tricks

So you’re hosting another Christmas Dinner? You’ve taken care of everything on your list, now it’s time to serve up that roast and a plethora of sides and enjoy each other’s company. But wait, what about Fido and Kitty who will be right there in the mix?

Sure pets are family, and they love to celebrate because they’re happy when you’re happy. They would love to partake in the treats and festivities as much as you, but they aren’t the same as you. It’s sometimes tough for us to believe too! But if you want to ensure a safe holiday dinner, then please take a moment to read the following safety tips for a smooth and relaxing celebration, even if your mother-in- law is bringing her surprise casserole.

1) You’ve got the yeast rising for the holiday bread, don’t let the dog give it a taste. You are busy in the kitchen and sometimes Fido gets a little mischievous and tries to get a bite of something that is off-limits. The unbaked bread dough can be very dangerous to a dog.  When ingested, the raw bread dough expands in the warm, moist environment of the stomach and can result in a bloated stomach (called “bloat”); this can then progress to a gastric-dilatation volvulus (GDV), which is a twisted stomach.

2) Don’t cry for me Fido-tina. Onions are bad. Period. Even a small amount of this popular garnish can be toxic to your pet, inducing severe anemia that might go undetected for days.

3) Sugar and spice and everything not so nice. Spices like nutmeg, that is common in the holiday eggnog should be kept away from Fido and Kitty. Nutmeg contains a toxin called myristicin.  The small amount of nutmeg used in recipes is very unlikely to cause serious toxicity, though mild stomach upset could occur if a small amount is ingested.  A pet would need to ingest a very large amount of nutmeg and this is unlikely to occur if a dog or cat ingests food with nutmeg in it.

4) Roast Beef Gravy Verdict: Guilty
Recipes for roast beef gravy often include beef stock which is high in salt, pepper and seasonings; quite delicious for you, not so good for your four legged friend.

5) Pumpkin/Sweet Potatoes. Ordinarily, safe and healthy treats for your pets’ bowels, but during the holidays, these starchy vegetables are laced with sugary and savory condiments that aren’t good for your pet’s digestive tract.

5) Cocktails. Sure it may have the word tail in it, but alcohol in even the smallest amount can be fatal for Fido and Kitty. Be sure to inform your guests to keep an eye on their drinks and safe out of your pet’s way, and maybe Uncle Ed’s too.

6) Dogs, Cats and Chocolate! Humans love chocolate for the holidays, or any other day for that matter. Unfortunately, chocolate in all forms is poisonous to our pets and should be kept away from them entirely. Cats and dogs are both at risk of chocolate poisoning, however, there have been more reported cases of dogs being affected since dogs typically will eat just about anything. Smaller pets face much greater risk of chocolate toxicity than large breed dogs because it only takes a small amount of chocolate to affect them.

7) Pooped! When in doubt that you can have an eye on your dog or cat throughout the whole meal, why not be safe and get him pooped out before your guests arrive. A well-exercised dog will likely be sleepy from activity instead of over-indulging in human food!

By following a few these basic tips, your dog and cat will enjoy a fun, safe Christmas with no unexpected gastrointestinal issues…now if you can only say the same thing after your mother-in-law’s casserole!

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