Ah, the holidays. That time of year when we go all out to treat ourselves, our friends, and family. Doting pet parents – prone to indulging beloved cats and dogs at all times – can really go overboard during this treat-centric season. Unfortunately, while we’re trying to be nice, we’re really being quite naughty. And if you wind up at the animal emergency clinic, it won’t be a joyful celebration for anyone.
In the spirit of the season, then, we suggest you make a list (and check it twice) of nice holiday treats you can give your pets. Here are some suggestions.
But it tastes so good!
We might as well get the bad news out of the way first. The rich holiday foods and sweets we love for the holidays are full of nutritional no-no’s for cats and dogs. Yes, your furry companions can have a few tidbits of tasty seasonal favorites such as:
- Veggies such as carrots, pumpkin, broccoli, and green beans
- Apples and cranberries
But only “plain.” Sugar and fat are as bad for pets as they are for people, and for the same reasons. Worse, many of the spices and supporting ingredients we love to incorporate into our foods are toxic to cats and dogs. They can cause problems from mildly upset stomach or diarrhea to organ failure and even death. Among the worst:
- All types of grapes and raisins
- Xylitol (a common artificial sweetener)
- Walnuts and macadamia nuts
No treats there! As a side note, begging at the table invites problems in addition to irritating guests. So when it’s time for your human guests to sit down to dinner, serve up a favorite chew toy or catnip mouse off to the side, to keep your Fido and Fluffy away from the table.
Besides, your pets won’t really mind that people foods are off the table as treats, because there are so many other deluxe holiday goodies just purrfect for cats and dogs.
Is that a C-O-O-K-I-E?
Holiday baking is a long-standing tradition with most families. The more varieties, and the fancier they are, the better. And what canine doesn’t appreciate a crunchy cookie? Instead of cutting Fido out of the baking fun, use some of these recipes to make nutritious, pup-friendly Christmas cookies this year.
And, let’s not forget that your finicky feline expects some holiday treats, too, no matter how naughty she has been this year. While she’s far too composed to start twirling and woofing the moment you mention the c-word, indulging her with some of these healthy feline treats and snacks will earn you plenty of holiday purrs.
Baking cookies – for people or pets – is a great way to get kids involved in the holiday spirit of creating and giving. Be sure to stock up on pet-themed cookie cutters such as bone, paw, and mouse shapes to make it even more fun.
Make a plentiful supply of pet treats, too. Pack them in pretty bags or tins, to give as gifts to pet-loving friends and family members. Offer them as hostess gifts, and you’ll be the Most Popular Holiday Guest with every pet parent you know.
Treats don’t have to be edible
While tasty treats are always popular, there’s more than one way to your furry beloved’s heart. Fill her holiday stocking with any of these goodies and watch her pounce with joy:
- Puzzle toys that make cats and dogs work their minds and bodies to earn their treat
- Fancy collars (and, for dogs, entire wardrobes)
- A plush new bed – heated would be nice
- A fancy new multi-tier kitty gym/scratching ensemble
- Toys, toys, and more toys – for indoors and outside
- A personalized subscription to BarkBox or a similar monthly treat service for cats
Headed out of town?
If you’re planning to travel with your pets for the holidays, pack some of their favorite treats and toys to keep them calm, occupied, and safe in unfamiliar surroundings.
Whether you’re on the go or staying around home, the holidays are virtually upon us. With the suggestions here, you’ll be able to find (or make) plenty of holiday treats just right for the pets you love.