Most of us just love the special foods and decorations that seem to be everywhere during the holiday season, but they pose some challenges if our pets enjoy them, too.

Make your holidays happy by keeping turkey bones away from Fluffy and Fido. Don’t let them sample anything containing:

chocolate, currants/raisins, or onions, and keep them far away from: mistletoe, holly, lilies, and poinsettias!

For a complete list of toxic holiday goodies, visit this helpful pet safety hotline!

…Now, back to Fluffy and Fido!

FLUFFY: Fido, my friend, how’s your holiday season going?

FIDO:  Hey, Fluff! I’m just passing the time learning some little-known facts about cats and dogs.

FLUFFY: (reading over Fido’s shoulder):

Hey, these really are interesting. Let’s get Pearl and Meryl to share them with everyone!

…And so they did, to send along their wishes for a Happy (and Healthy!) Holidays to all!!

Here’s a surprise!

As we roll into winter, more of us will catch colds, the flu and other viruses, and e coli is alive and contagious at any time of year. Although it doesn’t happen often, there have been cases of e coli, swine flu and superbug MRSA passed between pets and their humans. If you thought you and your pets couldn’t pass germs back and forth, this news may surprise you. So as a rule, it’s best to skip those smooches to the mouth, and if any one of you at home isn’t feeling well, double up on the hand washing until the bug has been vanquished.



Second-hand smoke: most dangerous for cats!

It’s true. It’s not just people who are subject to the effects of second hand smoke. Studies have shown that exposure

to cigarette smoke also increases the incidence of lymphoma and oral cancers in both cats and dogs. Then cats get a double whammy: not only do they breathe in the smoke, but they ingest it when they groom the residue off their coats as well.

Save your babies: if you still smoke, please do it outside. And when you ask your holiday guests to step outside for their smoke break, make sure they are extra careful not to let your babies out by mistake!

ID Help: Animals have “fingerprints” too!

Cats and dogs have unique noses, and they can function just like fingerprints.

It’s becoming more and more common totake a dog’s nose print to help with identification if he gets lost or stolen. If you don’t like the idea of having your pet micro-chipped, ask your vet about nose printing.




Who has sweet teeth?

Your cat’s taste buds can’t detect sugar, so she can’t taste sweet things. If she seems to like a sweet holiday treat, it’s probably something else about the treat that appeals to her–

the texture, consistency, crunchiness or the feel of the treat in her mouth. Dogs, on the other hand, do have a genuine sweet tooth. Either way, their teeth (30 for cats, 42 for dogs!) do need regular care, so don’t forget those dental check ups.

Other dietary concerns: year-round

A dog is a “scavenging carnivore” and can survive without meat for extended periods of time. But, while you don’t have to cook him a steak, Fido is still better off with at least a little meat in his diet. (Remember, surviving isn’t the same as thriving.)

Cats, on the other hand, are “obligatory carnivores,” meaning they must have meat diets from kittenhood, or they will be small, sickly, and possibly will die.

Cats of any age should not be fed vegetarian diets.

We hope these tips will add to a very Happy and Healthy Holiday season, from Meryl, Pearl, & the team! 
We love hearing from you, so please send your questions, comments and ideas to


Meryl Schwarz, M.A., M.Ed., is an animal lover and Certified Professional Coach specializing in grief support for people grieving their beloved animals. Whether you’re grieving a terminal diagnosis, the normal aging process, a disappearance or a death, Meryl offers compassionate and caring support with the wisdom of experience. Visit her website at to schedule an appointment by Skype or phone.