Begging for the Holiday FeastLet’s face it, food is a big deal, and even more so during the holiday season when there are endless opportunities for feasting with family and friends (or on the couch while watching football).

For many families, a holiday gathering wouldn’t be complete without allowing Fido or Fluffy to sample the holiday edibles. Although we may think we are just giving our pets a treat, we may be actually be endangering their health or even their lives.

It’s understandable to want to share the season’s culinary delights with your pets, but it’s crucial to do so in a safe and healthy manner. Your team at Billings Animal Family Hospital has come up with some delicious and nutritious holiday foods for pets that are sure to please your four-legged friend.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Few things will dampen a holiday celebration faster than having to rush a sick pet to the veterinarian, so make sure your pet is supervised while around food and that he or she doesn’t ingest anything that may be toxic. (Check with us if you are unsure about which foods are safe for pets to eat.)

Non-toxic foods can also present some serious problems for our furry pals. Eating even small amounts of fatty or oily foods, such as turkey skin, gravy, or bacon, can cause gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation of the pancreas.

Bring your pet in for immediate medical attention if he or she is exhibiting any of the following symptoms of pancreatitis:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal distention
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dehydration

Safe Holiday Foods for Pets

Fortunately, there are plenty of holiday foods that are not only safe for pets, but can also provide valuable vitamins and minerals. You may be surprised to find that dogs and cats can eat, and often enjoy, the following:

  • Pumpkin
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Apples (never the core or seeds)
  • Spinach
  • Winter squash
  • Corn (no cobs, as they can cause intestinal blockage)
  • Melon
  • Berries
  • Bananas

The following foods are safe, but should be fed in smaller amounts due to their high calorie content:

  • Plain yogurt
  • Cooked egg
  • Peanut butter (Xylitol-free only)
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Salmon

Treats Please!

Leftovers are arguably one of the best parts of any holiday meal, and your pet would probably agree. These homemade, leftover turkey dinner dog biscuits or Thanksgiving turkey nibblers are delicious, pet-friendly ways to use up some leftovers while treating your pet at the same time.

Remember, treats and other holiday foods for pets should never be given in place of a commercial pet food. If you have any questions or are concerned that your pet has eaten something he or she shouldn’t have, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.