The Christmas tree is up. Presents are scattered on the floor and you are in the kitchen making final preparations before the guests arrive. With the dining room table set, the aromas of roasted chicken and apple pies fill the air.
The holidays are in full swing. Both dogs are well aware.
And, while the temptation to drop crumbs to our begging pets is an unavoidable one, it is important to think twice before the table scraps hit the floor. Adorable as our pets are, is it really such a good idea to succumb to their wet-nosed requests? Is that what’s really best for them?
Unfortunately, many pet owners do not realise that a dog’s digestive system simply cannot handle the heavy food that we humans consume. Also, the holidays are the time of year when us people are most gluttonous ourselves – which means we have even more food in the house. For these reasons, pets and holiday entertaining can make for a dangerous combination. If pet parents are not careful, at least.
So, because we figure your dogs are as much a part of your family as our dogs are of ours, we wanted to provide a few precautions for you to help ensure that your own furry friends are protected this holiday season.
Here are some specific things you can do to lower the chances that your pet eats his or her way into a bad tummy day.
1. No people food! The rich holiday foods that we serve could trigger serious health problems for dogs, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, or even pancreatitis.
2. Hide the food garbage. Pets are attracted to the aromas found in the trash – especially, after the preparation of big meals. Cooked turkey bones may splinter inside the oesophagus or intestines, should a dog eat them. Remember the string we use to hold the roast together? By the time that string hits the trash can, it is laced with little pieces of meat and soaked in juices that look and smell like food in the canine brain. Simba won’t take the time to remove those bits and pieces of meat and juice from the string. But that string could become wrapped around the animal’s intestines, requiring major surgery. A previously well-trained dog may suddenly forget its manners when faced with such goodies. Do not take the chance! Keep the lid securely fastened on the rubbish bin.
3. Remove pets from the kitchen when you cook. Just like children, remove pets from the kitchen and keep them in a secure room or in their crates during the festivities, for their safety and yours.
4. Provide suitable treats for your dog. If the thought of those pleading eyes bothers you, have some baby carrots or canned green beans handy for treats.
5. Clear the counters before you sit down to dinner. Those enticing aromas will encourage even the best-behaved pup to counter-surf.
6. Be sure you and your guests know which people foods are toxic to dogs. Caffeine, garlic, onion, grapes, tomato and chocolate are no-no’s. You can find complete lists in a number of places – including over at www.petschannel.com
7. Your pets should wear identification tags. With guests coming in and out, someone might forget to properly latch a gate, and a nervous or excited dog could easily run out. Make the holidays a positive experience for everyone, including the pets. Just these few simple precautions could be the difference between a delightful dinner party and doggy disaster.