An Essential Guide To Holiday Dinners With Pets In Tow

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Holidays are a great reason to get the whole family together and reflect on what and who we’re thankful for this year.

But even while growing numbers of folks consider dogs and cats an indispensable part of their family, extended gatherings also include an element of risk for your four-legged brood.

Fortunately, The New York Times has created a handy seasonal guide that lays down the ground rules for inviting pets to the holiday party. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to throw a holiday dinner both pets and humans can enjoy!

1. The Food

Some people dream of holiday dinners – the turkey, the pies, and all of the trimmings – year-round, this writer included. However, it’s essential that your dog or cat doesn’t partake in the annual gorge fest, though it’s okay to share some plain potato, green beans or a spoonful of cranberry sauce.

Unfortunately, the rest of the feast remains strictly off-limits, because anything with chocolate, cheese, butter, sour cream, onions, grapes, raisins, gravy, bread, and booze will wreak havoc on your pet’s delicate digestive system. Raw dough also invites a particular risk for dogs, so be sure to keep them away from the trash and out of the kitchen.

2. The Tree

Evergreens are part and parcel with the holiday season, but this festive décor also offers hidden dangers to your pet. (And don’t even get us talking about the Christmas lights and tinsel, which are especially dangerous to cats).

The NYT also notes that thirsty pets can get upset tummies from drinking the Christmas tree water, eating evergreen needles and/or ingesting poinsettias, amaryllis, and lilies. If you’re a pet owner, make sure to decorate wisely.

3. The Guest List

It requires a collective front to say no to those puppy dog eyes, so inform all of your guests beforehand that Fluffy or Fido aren’t allowed to eat from the big person’s table. If you don’t think you or your guests can abide these simple rules, place a limited number of dog treats inside a jar for people to take turns sharing with your pet. This way, your guests don’t have to feel like a Scrooge for failing so sure and your four-legged family can avoid a holiday hangover.

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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