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Protecting family pets during the holiday season begins with healthy meals

As we celebrate the holidays you'll want to make sure everyone, including the family pet, is eating healthy.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The holiday season is just about here, and with it comes family visits and those big holiday dinners, but as we celebrate we'll want to ensure everyone, including the family pet, is taken care of.

Veterinarians say a healthy diet means a healthy dog, and research from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention shows what you feed your pet could mean ensuring they live a long and healthy life.

Veteran food editor Stacie Billis says this is the time of year we need to be extra mindful of what we feed them.

"There are some ingredients that are healthy for us but not so great for our dogs. People have heard of grapes and raisins and things like that."

"So as you gather for those holiday dinners you should avoid feeding them some of those festive foods like stuffing, ham, garlic and onions, and especially turkey bones, skin and fat since it can actually lead to diseases like pancreatitis, which requires veterinarian intervention."

Alex Van Nest with Toledo Humane Society says it's not uncommon for us to slip a treat into their dishes during a meal but if you do, you should avoid one staple of thanksgiving dessert: apples.

"They actually have seeds that are really dangerous to dogs if they ingest it," Van Nest said. "So if you have your apple pie make sure you're taking the seeds out."  

One really good thing you can share is pumpkin. Not only is it good for weight management but it's a healthy and delicious treat for dogs and filled with potassium, and fiber, and vitamin C. It's also high in water content while being nutrient-dense, which is great for dogs' digestion.

Van Nest says you should just avoid canned pumpkin because can have other ingredients in it.

Frozen yogurt, fruits and vegetables treats are also good since they're superfoods with nutrient-dense ingredients. along with green beans and lean white turkey meat.

"You want your dog to feel full but it's not got too many calories either so it helps keep them nice and skinny but makes them feel happy and good," Van Nest said.