When the holidays hit, most of us find our kitchens filled with cookies, candy, and all the fixings for those special holiday meals. But these goodies don’t just tempt us—they also tempt our furry friends. Yet, no matter how much your dog begs, sharing those holiday treats can lead to doggy digestive issues, cardiovascular problems, seizures, and even death. Does that mean you can’t pamper your pooch during the holidays? Of course not! But you need to be aware what’s safe and what’s not to ensure your pet enjoys the holidays just as much as you do! On top of that, make sure you educate any kids in the house, as well as guests, as to what’s off limits for your pup.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Sharing
There are many healthy foods you can share with your pet. In fact, most veggies, cheeses, and fruits will be a welcome treat. Just make sure to stick to plain foods. Here’s why: You know the popular green bean casserole often served at holiday feasts? The green beans, by themselves, are fine, but the addition of onion and garlic—whether fresh, dried, or powered—
not only has the potential to cause an upset stomach, but could also lead to organ damage.
Also watch the amount of salt in the treats you feed your dog.
Your pup will also gobble up that holiday turkey and chicken. Just don’t feed any type of poultry to your pet if it contains bones or excess fat. Many dogs end up at the vet’s office each year because their owners thought it was okay to give them turkey or chicken on the bone.
What’s more, never give a dog alcohol! While they may lap it up, it’s highly dangerous, even in limited amounts.
Dessert time? Skip the pumpkin pie! The wheat in the crust is sure to cause gas or possibly stomach twisting. And the spices in the pie could irritate the tissue in Fido’s mouth. Opt instead for a few spoonfuls of tummy-friendly unsweetened pumpkin. Having ice cream? Your pet will beg, but don’t give in! Plain yogurt is a good alternative as long as it’s not filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Be Prepared with Probiotics
On ordinary days, your dog needs beneficial bacteria. It’s especially helpful during the holiday season. Probiotics are instrumental in helping canines absorb nutrients from food and in keeping bowel movements regular. The beneficial bugs in your pet’s gut also reduce intestinal inflammation, and this can lead to a reduction in gas and digestive upset.
But it’s important to choose your pet’s probiotic wisely. Dogs have a more acidic stomach than humans do—by as much as 10 times. Supplemental probiotics only work if they survive the journey through a dog’s acidic stomach environment to reach the intestines. Two probiotic strains that have been shown to resist this acid are Bifidobacterium animalis and Bifidobacterium bifidum. One research study in dogs with sudden diarrhea found that recovery time was reduced by 40 percent for those treated with B. animalis versus a placebo. Look for a dog-specific probiotic that provides a combination of 2.5 billion CFU of B. animalis and B. bifidum daily.
Keep the holidays happy for your pet—and enjoy each magic moment of fun!
The Do Not Feed List
- Macadamia nuts
- Grapes and raisins
- Anything with Xylitol or other artificial sweeteners