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Under the table: Tips for feeding your pets during holiday dinners

You stopped feeding your dog under the table in grade school, right? Okay, honestly most of us can’t resist sharing scraps with our pets when they beg – they’re family, after all!

But we all know human food isn’t always the best nutritional choice for a dog, and that sometimes it can even make your pet sick. That’s why it’s so important during a season filled with family dinners and parties to keep your dog from indulging in all of the holiday treats. The following is a list of tips to help you know when you can safely treat your dog and when to watch his or her diet instead.

Feed only approved foods: Consult with your vet about what your pet should and shouldn’t eat. Turkey, other lean meats, bread and rolls, loose corn, and veggies without sauces are usually safe. Remember to remove any bones from meats.

These are foods to absolutely avoid: Sweets – including all the pies and cranberry sauce – starchy potatoes and stuffing, and creamy sauces like turkey gravy. Fatty foods and sweets can upset your dog’s stomach, which you really don’t want to do with a houseful of guests.

Consider bringing out your dog’s bowl and placing it near the table. That way, you can mix a few treats in and your four-legged friend can dine with the family. This is also a great practice for communicating to your guests – especially young children – how you want to feed your pet and that it’s not appropriate to give food under the table.

If you’re a guest in someone else’s home, never feed their pets without asking. Your dog may be fine with something, but you never know what the dietary restrictions are for someone’s dog (or cat) unless you ask.

Consider getting your pet some special dog biscuits.  Provide your pet with a favorite treat during your meal, followed by a new toy for “dessert.”

Still have questions? Review and then bookmark this great list in the article, “The top Thanksgiving foods…are they safe for pets?” It provides a detailed explanation of which traditional holiday foods are safe, what amounts are tolerable, and when to pass. (The list may be Thanksgiving specific, but it can also be used as a set of general guidelines for any holiday dinner.) Happy holidays!