A must-read for pet owners and pet lovers.

Even if you consider yourself a pet pro, you may not have known that there are things that could put your pet's life on the line when it comes to your holiday meals.

Best Friends Animal Society reminds us all of these special precautions to protect our pets:

-- Even if your pet is begging or giving you those adorable looks just wishing they could have the delicious-smelling food you're eating, too much rich, fatty food OR new, unfamiliar foods could not only upset their stomach but could cause pancreatitis. And that could be life-threatening.

-- Turkey, ham, and chicken bones can splinter or break inside your pet's stomach and be deadly, so don't throw your pet a bone to gnaw on. In fact, bones should be taken out immediately and placed in an outside trash can to prevent your pet from digging for it after you go to sleep (they have strong sniffers and can find it even if you bury it in your kitchen can!!)

-- Food-flavored things like plastic wrap, the string that helped tie the turkey together while baking it, the pop-up timer that was in the turkey, and any mesh used to hold the bird together will all smell wonderful, tempting your pet to dig those out of the trash or steal them off the counter and ingest them, but could cause great harm to their stomachs.

-- There are several ingredients commonly found in your holiday meal that are very often poisonous to an animal. Did you know that onions, raisins and grapes could be deadly to your pet?!

-- And let's not forget about dessert. We can't remind you too many times that chocolate, especially the kind used for baking, is toxic for dogs.

-- Also important to remember is that if you are creating a festive table or centerpiece for your holiday meal that includes decorative plants and flowers, those, too, can be toxic for curious cats and dogs, so make sure you know before you buy them which ones can be deadly to pets. These include: amaryllis, baby’s breath, sweet William, some ferns, and hydrangeas. But there are plenty of others that you should watch out for.

So now you know. But the rest of the people dining around your table or helping you in the kitchen may not. So make sure you inform them and ask everyone to please not feed your pet. And keep an eye on that one person who still insists that a few scraps never hurt anyone and tries to slip their hand under the table with some 'goodies' while you're not looking to look like a hero to your adorable pet.

Maybe when you're running to the store for those last-minute ingredients, you can pick up sometoys or extra-special treats specifically made for your pets and hand a few to everyone sitting around the table. This way they can give a safe, animal-approved treat or toy to your pet when they are getting the puppy-dog eyes.

Or, if you really want to go the extra mile while you're cooking your feast, include a recipe for pet treats that you can whip up yourself. For some ideas, CLICK HERE for dog treat recipes and CLICK HERE for cat treat recipes.

You may also be surprised to know that one of the busiest evenings for emergency vet visits at animal hospitals is Thanksgiving. So be vigilant. Especially during these pandemic times when there are extra covid restrictions at vet clinics. Besides, think about your vets...let them enjoy their Thanksgiving instead of having to run in to help your animal.

And if you have room for one more, may I recommend finding out from your local shelter if you can take an animal home to foster over the holidays to give that dog or cat some much-needed relief from shelter life? Some local shelters will even allow you to take home a dog for an overnight or weekend visit, which sure would be nice for them over the long holiday weekend. Especially if you're not gathering with family due to covid and the house feels a little emptier.

Best Friends Animal Society is always so good about sharing important pet info. This organization is dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in shelters throughout the US. Partnering with shelters to run lifesaving programs, Best Friends continues to spearhead the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters nationwide. Unfortunately, there are still about 1,700 dogs and cats killed every day in shelters, simply because they don’t have safe places to call home. The Best Friends mission is to bring our country to no-kill status by the year 2025 by working collaboratively with shelters, rescue groups, other organizations... and you.

So help end the killing and save all animals. To check out the Best Friends community lifesaving dashboard and for more information, CLICK HERE.

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