During the holidays, it is natural to want to slip pets a taste of seasonal treats. All of the delicious aromas will surely have them in the kitchen with their noses to the air.
While it is OK to give them a tasty treat of human food every now and then, it is important to know which foods are approved for pets and which can be harmful.
Pet-friendly people foods include:
Turkey, a great lean protein to share with your pet. Be sure to remove any excess skin or fat, stick with white meat and make sure there are no bones.
Mashed potatoes, plain, please. Be aware of additional ingredients used to make mashed potatoes such as cheese, sour cream, butter, onions and gravies, which are not good for your pet’s system.
Carrots, raw or cooked
Sweet potato, cooked, cubed or mashed without butter or seasoning.
Pumpkin, a good source of fiber and vitamin A
Apples, without seeds or core. Apple seeds contain chemical compounds that are poisonous to animals.
Food should be cut up into small pieces to prevent choking, and only given in moderation and in small amounts at a time.
If you are unsure about a particular option, check with your vet before feeding your pet people food, as some foods are toxic to pets.
The following are some of the foods you want to avoid, as they can be very harmful to your pet:
Grapes and raisins, which contain chemical compounds that are toxic to dogs
Garlic, onions, leeks and scallions, which all have chemical properties that can be toxic, and even life-threatening, to dogs and cats
Mushrooms, particularly wild mushrooms
Fruits with pits, such as peaches, cherries and plums. In some cases the pit can be toxic, or can simply present a choking hazard.
Nuts, particularly macadamia nuts, which are toxic to pets
Xylitol. Anything made with this artificial sweetener is a no-no for pets.
No alcohol of any kind, cooked in anything (fruitcake, etc.)
While pets want to join in on the feast, make sure to give them pet-friendly options to avoid spending the holiday at the emergency vet’s office.
WINTER CAMP: The LA/SPCA Animal Celebration Winter Camp for children ages 7-10 will be open Dec. 29 and 30. The program is designed to teach young people about the LA/SPCA and animal care. Children will be introduced to services the shelter offers, safety with animals, pet handling and care, grooming skills and responsible pet ownership. Registration is $65 per day or $110 for both days. There’s a 12-camper maximum. To register, call (504) 368-5191, ext. 207, or email email@example.com.
KING CAKE BENEFIT: Sales of king cakes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, at Cottage Catering and Bakery, 1536 River Oaks Road West, Harahan, will benefit Animal Rescue New Orleans, Susan G. Komen New Orleans and the Parkinson’s Action Network. King cakes are $16.95 and will be medium traditional. Caluda’s King Cake Festival also will feature food, games, live music and adoptable ARNO dogs.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. In Jefferson Parish, email email@example.com and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animal email@example.com, www.animal rescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.