Try to stick to normal food for your pet friends this holiday, no matter how tempting it is, or how many pleading puppy dog eyes you get.

One of the best rules to follow is sticking to a routine and regular pet food and treats.

We spoke to Dr. Jodi Viste from the Strathmore Animal Care Centre who explained,

“We have seen over the holidays so much from just a change in routine. From as much as anxiety, because there's a bunch of people coming over to your house, to issues with them eating things that they don't normally do.”

The ASPCA explains that some Christmas decorations while they may look beautiful on the Christmas tree, can be detrimental to pets, like tinsel and cats.

Cats love the sparkle of tinsel, but swallowing tinsel can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration, and possible surgery.

“Definitely, we've seen that and had to do surgery so it’s just anything that is the change in routine for a pet can be very detrimental as COVID has really pointed out to everybody right now,” said Viste.

The local vet says to keep your routine as much as possible. “Don't introduce any new foods or new treats to them, especially if they're prone to sensitive stomachs. Monitor what they're being fed by other people, guests in the house. If there are any dietary restrictions your pets have, make sure everybody who comes to the house is aware of that when they arrive and then just be, we've also seen cats burn their tongues by chewing on electric cables.”

The ASPCA reminds people over the holiday season to be careful of plants and decorations.

Christmas trees should be securely anchored so they don’t tip or fall.

In terms of food, pet owners should avoid feeding their pets chocolate or anything sweetened with xylitol. Keep pets away from the table and unattended plates of food. Some leftovers that are fatty, or spicy food, or bones are a no-no for pets. If you want a Christmas treat for your pet, try a chew toy that can be stuffed with healthy food or treats, for cats try a ball that is too big to swallow or a catnip stuffed toy.

“We usually see a lot of vomiting and diarrhea and anxiety issues right after the holiday season,” said Viste. She spoke of a personal experience as a pet owner getting a present and placing it under the tree.

“I put it under the tree to open on Christmas Day, and I came home one day to that box being opened with nothing in it and my dog looking really happy with herself.” The gift ended up being shortbread.

“So just be careful when you're giving gifts to people. If they're food items, let them know if you know that they are pet owners just so that they don't inadvertently have the same problem where they have a gift under the tree that is a really enticing meal for the pet,” said Viste.