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ASPCA Offers Tips On Keeping Your Pet Safe Over The Holidays

By Susan Richard

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's that time of year when friends, relatives and our four-legged family members all gather to celebrate the holidays. But while we humans have a tendency to overdo it food-wise, is it OK to indulge our pets?

The ASPCA says, no.

"What you don't want to do is to give your pet an upset stomach in the name of love," ASPCA Vice President Dr. Louise Murray told 1010 WINS. "It's OK to give either a dog or cat a piece of cooked turkey with no skin or bones, but you should stop there.  There's enough chaos in the household, strangers coming and going, all kinds of excitement and even that alone can cause GI upset. If you add on lots of different foods they're not accustomed to, foods that are rich or greasy, you're really making a recipe for an upset stomach."

Dr. Murray didn't mince words.

"Think of it this way," she went onto say. "You don't want to have to clean up diarrhea or vomit on top of all your other holiday tasks."

No-No Foods And Other Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Specific no-no's for pets include chocolate, grapes, raisins and any products that contain xylitol.  Those are all toxic and can be fatal.

Dr. Murray says turkey skin and other fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, which can land your pet in ICU.  There's also the issue of pet obesity, which she says affects many animals across the country and can lead to medical conditions including diabetes, arthritis, breathing problems and fur mats from not being able to groom themselves.

As for giving your pet a bone, Dr. Murray says don't. Ever. "There are different kinds of bones", she told 1010 WINS.  "There are bones that pets can chew up and break, and those are dangerous because they can splinter and become lodged in the gastrointestinal tract and pierce it.  And then there are the bones their teeth can't break, and guess what?  Those bones, will break their teeth."

Dr. Murray also suggests keeping cats in a secure room away from guests and allowing only the most social of dogs to interact with company. Also, avoid flowers or other holiday arrangements that include holly or lilies, which are poisonous to cats.

As for whether it's advisable to give a pet as a holiday gift, she says only if the recipient wants and is aware of the gift and if the place where they live allows animals. She adds that bringing a pet into the home at holiday time can be a wonderful experience, especially if you've adopted a rescued animal.

If you think your pet has ingested something they shouldn't have, call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435.

If your pet appears to have something stuck in its throat or has other symptoms including vomiting or diarrhea, see a veterinarian right away.

In Manhattan, both the Animal Medical Center (510 East 62nd Street) and Bluepearl Veterinary Partners (410 West 55th Street) are open 24/7.

Get more safety tips with 1010 WINS' Susan Richard in this episode of her web show, All For Animals TV:

All For Animals #31: ASPCA Holiday Pet Safety Tips by allforanimalstv on YouTube

For a complete list of foods, plants and other items that are poisonous to pets, click HERE.

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All For Animals is a production of New Day Media and appears on as a courtesy.  For inquiries, visit

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