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Celebrating The Holidays With Pets

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

The holiday season has officially arrived! At Cape Pet Sitting, we believe that pets are an important part of the family and enjoy being included in the festivities. From baking, to decorating, gift giving and more, your local pet care professionals have you covered with tips for having the purr-fect paw-iday season.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Ahh, turkey day.... Who doesn't LOVE the aromas of Thanksgiving dinner. Your pets certainly do! Unfortunately, fatty scraps and bones from pork and poultry can be harmful or toxic to pets and have been linked to pancreatitis.

It's important to remember that any meat or sides containing garlic or onions are NOT safe for pets to sample, as they contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to pets but not to humans. Thiosulfate causes oxidative damage to red blood cells, resulting in hemolytic anemia in dogs and cats.

Unseasoned turkey meat, sweet potatoes, and pure pumpkin are all safe for your pet to taste. Set a small amount aside as a treat before seasoning or prepare separately for your pets.

Pro Tip: Pick up an extra sweet potato for your pet during your holiday grocery shopping! After peeling and boiling, serve cubed or mashed as a topping to your pet's normal meal. Your pet will be thrilled that you made a special dinner for them and you'll love that it's a healthy treat!

Another concerning holiday food for dogs is the macadamia nut. After ingestion, dogs experience severe weakness in their back legs, appearing paralyzed. This condition usually subsides within three days, but always seek guidance from your veterinarian.

Holiday Decorations

Candles are an important tradition for many winter holiday celebrations. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to candles is the quality of the wax and scent oils used to make them. Most store candles are made with paraffin wax, which is a by-product of petroleum. Paraffin wax releases highly toxic carcinogens, benzene and toluene, when burned. These chemicals are not only bad for pets, but can be detrimental to the health of humans too.

Candles that are made with high quality, natural ingredients such as soy or beeswax are MUCH safer for both you and your pets! As with all candles, basic safety needs must be observed. Never leave a candle unattended, especially those enticing holiday food scented ones. Realistic LED candles are another great option if you're looking to cut out the risk of open flame all together.

Christmas trees always pose the possibility of harm to your pets. Pine tree water and added preservatives can be poisonous, so it’s best to use an enclosed tree stand. If that’s not possible, be sure to cover open tree stand bases with a tree skirt. If you think your pet will get curious when you're not home, the tree should be secured to the wall with strong wire or twine. A toppling tree can cause serious injuries to dogs and cats along with damage to your home and furniture.

Tinsel entices canines and felines alike. Ornaments may look like shiny fetch balls. The electrical wiring of the twinkling lights and ornament hooks both pose significant danger to pets by ingestion or contact. When no one’s around to supervise, unplug lights and any electrical decorations your pet could have access to. Be sure to cover or tack down electrical cords. Some of our clients have constructed incredibly clever "Christmas tree barricades" to prevent their pets from getting near the tree. Get creative!

Gifts For Pet Lovers

Shop Local

Give thoughtful, pet safe gifts to your favorite pet parents this year and support local businesses!

If your searching for candles made with love and only the highest quality ingredients, Vintage Alchemy can't be beat. The creative scents at Vintage Alchemy are absolutely out of this world! This local artisan also makes the BEST soap and other unique, natural products. Trust me when I tell you that my hair and skin have never felt so good and my home always smells amazing!

Did you know that many of our local pet boutiques sell novelties for humans too? Salty Pets, Oliver & Twist and Furry Fur Ends are great places to find that one-of-a-kind gift for the pet parent who seems to "already have everything".

Looking to be more sustainable this year? Stop in the Thrift Shop at Cape May County Animal Welfare Society. Feel good about helping the earth by giving a secondhand gift and feel even better knowing that your purchase helps to feed and shelter homeless animals looking to be adopted in Cape May County.

Holiday Plants

If you give or receive any plants this holiday season, be sure to keep toxic plants out of reach of your pets. Holiday plants that are poisonous to pets include the berries of mistletoe, holly, hibiscus, Christmas roses and the poinsettia.

Some alternative holiday plants that are safe for pets include the Christmas cactus, roses, phalaenopsis orchid, boston fern, prayer plant (Calathea), swedish ivy, and the african violet.

Be aware that even if a plant is considered non-toxic, it could still cause vomiting or gastrointestinal upset for dogs and cats, but it should not be life-threatening. It is always best practice to keep plants out of reach if possible.

Photo Gifts

Almost every pet parent has an awesome picture of their fur baby posted on social media. Putting their favorite pet photo on a mug, blanket, canvas, ornament, socks, or even puzzle makes for a treasured memory for years to come! There are so many places online to shop for personalized photo gifts these days. Take advantage of the holiday sales before it's too late!

Gifts For Pets

Winter is the perfect time to keep your pets active indoors with enrichment toys. Every pet has a unique personality and interests. Check out the different brands and styles of these popular pet enrichment toys and pick the perfect gift for your four-legged best friend.

Indoor Dog Toys

  • Hidden treat puzzle boards

  • Lick mat

  • Treat dispensing balls

  • Snuffle mat

  • idig pad

Cat Toys

  • Automatic laser toy

  • Pop-up tunnel

  • Flying feather wand

  • Scratch pad

  • Hidden treat puzzle boards

Homemade Treat Recipes

Pets love homemade treats just as much as the rest of the family! Treats are also a go-to gift for your furry loved ones. Just as you would with humans, always ask a pet's owner about any dietary restrictions. Chicken and beef are common food allergens in dogs.

Before making any peanut butter treats, be sure that the peanut butter does not contain the sweetener xylitol. When dogs ingest xylitol, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream (10-60 minutes), resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This rapid release of insulin causes a profound drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This poisoning can be treated, but causes liver failure if not treated properly. If untreated, hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.

*Vet approved dog treat recipes: American Kennel Club

*Vet approved cat treat recipes: ASPCA

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