Holiday Pet Watchouts

By Dr. Marisa Pasekoff, Managing Veterinarian

Winter is finally here, and the holiday spirit is in full swing. We excitedly prepare for the upcoming festivities – planning our menus, decorating our homes and finding the perfect gifts. Many tasks are on the to-do list, but one task often gets overlooked during this very busy time of year: ensuring the safety of our pets.

There tends to be an increase in pet emergencies this time of year; the most common culprits – feeding your pets table scraps and dietary indiscretion with regards to your holiday decor. Those table scraps can lead to many disorders that will have you at the emergency hospital instead of enjoying the holidays with your family. Foods that tend to be higher in fat content (i.e. gravy) can cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and anytime your pet eats something that is new, there is a risk of gastroenteritis (upset stomach and intestines). Both of these diseases may cause significant vomiting and diarrhea resulting in the need for hospitalization.

If you want to cook something special for your furry friend, use caution where you find your recipe. Below are some treats that should be safe, but you should always check with your veterinarian if you’re uncertain or if your pet has a pre-existing disease.

Regarding your decor, if your pet is going to think that your holiday trimmings are a new toy, it may be best to find a safe quiet place for her or him to be during the unsupervised times of the holiday.

If you believe your pet has ingested something harmful, please contact Animal Poison Control, or your local veterinarian immediately.

We wish everyone a Happy Holidays, and know that Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital is available 24/7 if you should need us.


Remember when it comes to treats, moderation is key. Treats should make up less than 5-10% of your pet’s caloric intake – talk to your vet about how many calories your pet should be consuming to stay trim given their breed, level of activity and life stage.



  • 6 cups minced vegetables (celery, carrots, zucchini, spinach, broccoli)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Pinch of kelp powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a nonstick mini-muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add veggies and kelp, and stir until blended.
  3. Evenly distribute mixture into the mini-muffin tin.
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Calories per treat: 11



  • 6 oz. lean ground turkey
  • 6 cups chopped carrots
  • 6 cups ground quinoa or oatmeal
  • Pinch of kelp powder


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Place turkey and carrots in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until mixed.
  3. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a non-stick cooking sheet.
  4. Bake 15 minutes.

Calories per meatball: 17



  • 6 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 6 cups plain non-fat yogurt


  1. Place pumpkin and yogurt in a blender and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Evenly pour mixture into 8 small paper cups.
  3. Freeze the leftovers!

Calories per smoothie: 13

*Recipes from Dr. Ernie Ward’s Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs are Getting Fatter – a Vet’s Plan to Save Their Lives (2010 HCI).

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