Have you started your holiday shopping? Finding an ideal gift is the perfect way to show your friends and family that you care. But perhaps you’re leaving someone out?
Don’t forget that one family member who is always happy to see you and is always there when you’re down. That’s right — your pets also deserve some love this holiday season. Here are 12 gift ideas for the pet (or pet owner) in your life.
The holidays can be a joyous time for humans, but we must be careful about our furry friends. There are lots of hazards that can put us on a trip to the animal ER. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe while you enjoy the reason for the season.
Let’s talk turkey
As much as you may want your pet to share in the feast, be careful. Veterinarians see a surge of visits during this time as people feed their pets unsafe foods.
This doesn’t mean you need to leave your little family member out. Turkey is safe to eat if it’s prepared without seasoning or butter and is served in moderation. You can always set aside some plain turkey meat for your pet before drowning yours in all the trimmings you love.
Take it easy on the salt and remove the skin, which contains high-fat levels. Also, remove all bones.
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Which sides are OK?
Stuffing is often filled with fat, garlic, onions and scallops, which are bad for dogs and cats. The same goes for gravy.
Here’s a list of sides that are OK to feed your furry friends (take your pet’s size into consideration and always feed in moderation):
- Potatoes: Boiled, baked or sweet, these are OK. Leave out the salt, pepper, chives and sour cream and serve them plain.
- Vegetables: Cooked or steamed peas, carrots, green beans, corn (off the cob) and celery are easy to eat and good for your pet’s digestion. Leave out the salt.
- Pumpkin: Your dog or cat can enjoy this holiday staple prepared with no extra ingredients. It’s good for their stomach, but watch out for the spiced variety that comes in cans.
- Fruit: Raw or cooked cranberries you prepared yourself are OK, but avoid the stuff in the can, which is full of sugar and other ingredients harmful to pets. Apples are also good, but be careful to remove the core and seeds.
- Yogurt: Keep things simple with plain, nonfat yogurt.
NOTE: Check out the labels of any food you feed your pet for an ingredient called xylitol. This sweetener is especially dangerous for dogs and can cause liver problems and low blood sugar.
Watch the alcohol
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some spirited beverages during the holidays, but people tend to set their glasses down and forget about them. Alcohol can be poisonous to pets, even in seemingly harmless amounts. Don’t pour your pooch some beer to impress your friends and family. Just don’t.
Note that alcohol can be found in many baked goods, such as fruit cake, so keep these out of reach of your pets.
Plants are pet peeves
Holiday plants are a great way to brighten a home, but they can present real dangers, as many are toxic to pets. Even non-toxic plants can still cause upset stomachs if ingested in large quantities.
Here’s a list of some common plants you should keep out of reach:
- Aloe Vera.
- Elephant Ear.
Check out the ASPCA’s page on toxic plants for more information.
Decorations and ornaments
Tinsel, ribbon and ornaments are about as traditional as you can get when decorating for the holidays, but be careful. Your pets are curious, and you know that they can find themselves in trouble faster than you can blink.
These decorative items all pose choking hazards. Even if your pet manages to get it down, you could be dealing with an obstruction that requires major surgery.
Christmas tree ornaments are shiny and tempting. Keep them off the lower branches, out of reach of your pet. If one happens to break, clean the broken glass immediately before your pet tears up its paw pads while walking on it or, even worse, eats it.
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All those decorations and extra appliances you brought out need power, but watch out for those cords. Your dog or cat can get shocked if they chew them, causing injury or death.
Keep the cords neat and organized and wrap them in protectors to prevent chewing. Run them under furniture where possible.
Many tech gifts will require batteries, whether standard AA or that small disc-shaped one you find in many electronics: toys, remote controls, watches, cameras and even greeting cards.
Be extra vigilant about batteries, which contain corrosive materials and dangerous chemicals. Contact your vet or animal hospital immediately if you have reason to believe your dog or cat swallowed a battery.
Don’t send out the same old boring holiday cards this year. Tap or click here for creative ways to include your pet in this year’s holiday cards.
Purses and bags
People come to your party or dinner and set their bags down. Nothing wrong with that, but did they close the zipper? Your curious pet can find dangerous items there, such as medications, candy, gum and anything containing xylitol.
Keep purses and bags out of reach or designate a room where you can place them and close the door. The same goes for jackets — people carry many things in their pockets, and you don’t want to take a chance with your pet.
Bonus: Healthy food your pups will love
Some holiday treats are OK in moderation, but they should never be an everyday thing. Each dog requires a unique diet. Younger dogs will need a calorie-rich diet with lots of protein. Bigger dogs will need nutrient-rich foods that will fill them up. Senior dogs don’t need as much protein, though.
Talk to your veterinarian. They may suggest brands you’ll have to research and test out. Or you can save time by going with our sponsor and Kim’s favorite brand Nature’s Blend.
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