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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tips for managing your pet's health and diet during the holidays

Humans aren't the only ones at risk of overeating during the holiday season. Passing an extra plate to your dog or cat can harm their health (just scroll down for yesterday's post on pet obesity). I recently received a news release with tips for managing a pet's health and diet during the holiday season, and I thought now while we're planning for the holidays might be a good time to pass along the advice. So read the news release below, and keep your pet's health and diet in mind when you're eating over the holidays.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

Though the holiday food is tempting, be mindful of what you feed your pet!
SEAACA provides fun and helpful tips to help you manage your pet's health and diet during the holiday season

The holidays are a time to share wonderful meals with family and friends. For pets, however, the risk of overfeeding and eating dangerous food items during the holiday season can pose significant health risks. From Thanksgiving to New Year's and beyond, the food keeps coming and the guests revel, but the pets can suffer. To help resolve this holiday dilemma, Southeast Area Animal Control Authority has created a list of tips to help pet owners enjoy their holiday meals while maintaining their pet’s health and welfare.

  • Don't supersize them. Please do not feed your pet human food. But, if you do, avoid giving large amounts of cooked turkey or ham during the holidays. Humans are much larger and heavier than dogs and cats and can handle bigger food servings; our pets cannot. During the holidays, it’s very easy to forget this and overfeed pets, thus upsetting their digestive system and compromising their health. Should you feed your pet human food, also avoid food that has been out of the refrigerator for a long period of time. Pets need to be protected against food that is undercooked or subject to spoilage because of lack of refrigeration.
  • Watch the richness. Holiday food can be filled with spices and seasonings, which can cause health problems in pets. Try to keep you pets on their regular schedule with their regular food.
  • Ain't to proud to beg. As pets become accustomed to human food, they can learn irritating begging habits that can be rude to family members and guests during mealtimes. Try to keep pet meals in a separate room with designated pet food rather than human leftovers.
  • No bones about it. Do not feed pets bones, particularly chicken, turkey and other poultry bones. Bones can break apart cause intestinal pain, and sometimes choking, in pets.
  • Sweet are not treats. Candy and highly sugary items can wreak havoc on a pet's diet. Also, candy wrappers can be eaten by dogs and cats and can result in choking or digestive pain.
  • Beware of non-edibles. During the hustle and bustle of holiday meals, it's easy to lose track of pets. Make sure you keep an eye on them so that they're not eating non-edible items, such as food packaging or gift wrap, that might have fallen to the floor or left somewhere in the home.
  • Treat dogs and cats as individuals. If you have both dogs and cats, remember that they might have different dietary preferences, and that they need different portion sizes. Use discretion and don’t hand out holiday leftovers blindly.

"Holidays meals are special family moments, but they can be a problem for pets," noted SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison. "If we remember to prevent overfeeding and to use discretion when giving pets meals during this festive season, everyone will benefit," he added.



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