Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
We’re in the final stretch of that terrible trifecta of weight gain: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. The 39 days in between these holidays offer a multitude of meals for your family to gorge upon. The trouble is that we also share these food celebrations with our pets, resulting in the accumulation of unwanted poundsfor all of us.
By the time the last bit of confetti has fallen, many of us are in desperate need of a fresh start — and a diet. So what's an animal lover to do? How can we share the holidays with our pets in a more healthful manner?
The good news is that, with a little planning, we can party with our pets without feeding them unhealthy and fattening foods. Here are some cardinal tips for keeping your pets in fightingshape this holiday season.
Let's get one thing clear: I know the majority of you are going to feed your pets from the table. Guess what? Me, too. Perhaps the biggest myth hoisted upon pet owners is that “people food” is bad for pets.
With very few exceptions — grapes, raisins, some nuts and chocolate come to mind — if you're eating healthy fare, chances are that you can share some of it with your pet. My no-no’s: anything fried, breaded, glazed or enhanced with extra fat and goodness, as well as bread, fatty meats and decadent sweets that tend to populate party plates.
Just bear in mind that any sudden change in a pet's diet can cause gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Fatty and rich foods can also lead to pancreatitis.
You don’t need to beat yourself up if you slip Scooter a sliver of salmon. In fact, for the most part, I encourage it. But notice that I said "sliver." This is my second bit of advice: portion control.
Our pets are often one-third to one-tenth our size, so treat accordingly. A one-ounce piece of meat for a 20-pound dog is the same as your entire 10-ounce steak. Sure, that tiny terrier could devour everything on your table, but you'd end up spending your holiday in the animal emergency room. Your choice.
Rule No. 3 is to choose foods carefully. Skip the butters and sauces. I'd prefer if you indulged your mutt with a mélange of crunchy vegetables, like broccoli, celery, carrots, asparagus and cauliflower.
When it comes to meat, salmon is preferred by most cats and dogs; tuna comes in a close second. Or select lean cuts of ideally free-range or organic beef, turkey and poultry.
And remember to keep the portions small. I often tell clients that, for every 20 pounds of dog, offer thumb-size bites of fish and meat. For cats, a few flakes of fish or half a thumb of meat is plenty. The bottom line: It's not the amount of holiday goodies you give that counts; our pets just want to be part of the fun.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.