The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reminding furry friend owners of some of the best ways to keep their pets healthy and safe this holiday season.

Pets cannot enjoy all the same foods and treats their human owners can. Fatty foods such as turkey or turkey skin, meat fat and gravy can cause pancreatitis – even when consumed in small amounts. Be aware of certain foods around the holiday season can contain xylitol which can be poisonous to pets. Chocolate, grapes and raisins, in addition to onions should also be avoided. Foods like cheese and unseasoned vegetables like pumpkin, green beans and sweet potatoes can be given in limited amounts for special treats.

Keep your trash away from your pets. Discarded bones, cooking strings, bags and other food-related packaging can be problematic for your pets tummies if they eat them. Once disposed make sure your trash bags are placed in a safe place away from your furry companions.

Festive centerpieces, candles and lights can create a beautiful holiday display but may also catch the eyes of your pets. If consumed these can cause intestinal blockages or other injuries. Make sure these items are kept out of reach.

With all of the holiday activity pets may be able to sneak outside and get lost. Make sure your pets have their proper identification tags and their microchips are up to date with current contact information.

Lively activities can be overly stimulating for pets. It is important to have a quiet safe space set aside for your pet to be alone. Make sure to keep it stocked with their food, water, litterpan, or anything else they may need if they would like to be separated from the festivities.

If you are traveling with your pets this holiday season talk to your veterinarian to determine steps, documents, or preventative care you may need to ensure your pet is ready to go. Different states, countries, commercial carriers, and different lodging facilities may have different requirements for your pets to accompany you.

For more information on keeping your pets safe and healthy this holiday season, visit: Animal Health