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Beware Of Holiday Food Hazards For Pets

Be careful about giving human food to dogs or cats, no matter how cute they look while gazing at you and your plate. But don't feel like a grinch -- here's a list of foods they CAN safely eat.

Although many pet owners consider their dogs and cat to be family and enjoy treating pets like people, there is one particular way in which a pet should be treated exactly like a pet, for their own health (and for the health of your wallet, since emergency vet visits can get pricey.)

Dogs and cats should not be given carte blanche when it comes to "people food," especially during the holidays when there's a bounty of delicious and seasonal dishes on hand.

The wrong foods can land your pet in the emergency room at worst and at best can leave you with a massive mess to clean up in your home when they get sick.

The following foods can easily make your dog ill or even poison them, so avoid giving these human treats if Fido or Fluffy begs for them:

Fat trimmings and bones

Macadamia nuts

Onions and chives

Alcohol

Raw eggs, meat and fish

Yeast dough

Chocolate

Grapes, nuts, raisins

Persimmons, peaches and plums

Milk or excessive amounts of dairy products

Candy, gum or baked goods containing xylitol

Be cautious with your cat's health and don't allow kitty to indulge in these:

Onions, garlic and chives

Alcohol

Caffienated drinks or food

Grapes and raisins

Liver in large amounts (a tiny bit is okay)

Milk or excessive dairy products

Candy, gum or baked goods containing xylitol

Dogs have around 1,700 taste buds (to a human's 9000) and cats have 473 and both have an excellent sense of smell. Human food can be of great interest to family pets and it's only natural to want to share.

Make your pet's holidays a happy and healthy one with special treats made especially for animals from your local pet store or by allowing the following, in moderation.

For dogs:

Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew (no rind and no exotic melon varieties)

Peanut butter

Small amounts of cheese

Bananas

Baby carrots

Green beans

Cooked chicken, rice, lamb (no spices or bones)

On the approved list for cats are:

Baked carrots

Steamed asparagus or broccoli

Cooked green beans, winter squash, or chopped greens

Small amounts of cottage cheese (if your cat tolerates it)

Small portions of cooked fish or poultry (no bones)

When in doubt, always consult your veterinarian.

In case your dog or cat does accidentally get hold of some food that can cause harm or your pet appears to be reacting badly to something they ate, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at  888-426-4435. Help is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. They charge a fee of $65 but your pet's good health and the chance to avert a disaster is worth it.

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