Be mindful of what you feed your pets during the holidays

Published: Nov. 29, 2013 at 4:36 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2013 at 3:00 PM EST
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(RNN) - When it comes to what you really want to spoil your pet with during the holiday season, you may think of extravagant gifts, but others want to include them in family feasts.

Luciano Aguilar with America Now said though it may be tempting to slide your pet a piece of turkey or pie, take a close look at the ingredients, because they actually are the biggest warning signs.

"This holiday season is going to be packed with lots of food. Some of these foods can be dangerous - not because of the food, but because of the ingredients. Onions and garlic come in almost every meal we make. They contain sulfites - these sulfites attack the red blood cells in dogs and it can make them anemic. And that's not good. So be careful what you feed your pets this holiday season," he said.

Other items that can also be of danger to our pets are grapes, raisins, chocolate, avocados, and foods made with artificial sweetener.

Not only does the stress of cooking in the kitchen add up, but so do the crowds gathering around. It can cause a lot of stress on pets, especially if you allow friends and family to bring along their four-legged friends.

"This holiday season, you're going to have friends and family over, and it's going to be a little bit hectic with all these people running around and you making sure that your guests are well taken care of. If your friends bring their pets over, that's just going to add to the stress and to the commotion because those dogs don't understand the rules and the boundaries of your house," Aguilar said.

His recommendations are that they should leave their pets in the safety of their home, and to keep your own pets in the safety of the home they're used to. This way there's no added stress for your pet.

Everyone always seems to talk about the stress the holiday season can cause, but Aguilar said pets can also feed off the energy of the others around them.

He recommends when you need a breath of fresh air, to let your pet outside as well.

"One of the things I love to tell people is that emotions travel up and down leash. This holiday season it's going to get hectic - which means stress," he said. "Your stress is going to travel down to your dog which may cause them to act out a little bit, so set aside some time for playtime with your dog. This way, there's not that much change and it will also help out with your stress."

Aguilar said ultimately when it comes to feeding your pets during the holidays, don't do anything you normally wouldn't do. If table scraps and treats are not your norm - don't do it.

"It wouldn't matter so much about putting a safe meal together for your pet. Your pet doesn't understand that it's Thanksgiving, or it's Christmas, or any other holiday. It's a nice gesture, but you really don't have to do that," he said.

TV station KOLD said there are a few other things you could look for when it involves pets and the holidays. Poinsettias may be a staple holiday plant, but they can pose a great risk to your pet.

The plant itself may not be lethal to dogs and cats, but it can cause irritation and vomiting. A general good idea is to keep all house plants, including Christmas trees, in places where pets cannot get to them.

If your pet does get sick and you can't take them to a vet right away, Dr. Roger Dieguez with Rocky Ridge Animal Clinic told WBRC you can give them a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and it will force them to throw up what they ate.

He said to allow them to drink water but don't feed them for at least 24 hours.

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