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Have a Happy & Safe Pawliday | A Holiday Guide to Keeping Your Pets Safe While Staying Festive

From Friendsgivng to opening gifts on Christmas morning and ringing in the new year, It's important to incorporate your pets into the fun and be mindful of keeping them safe.

Amidst all of the hustle and bustle of friends and family coming and going, we can forget how that chaos may affect our pets' stress levels. We may also fail to remind grandmom that her furry "grand dog or grand kitty "cannot have any of her leftover pumpkin pie or green bean casserole.

There are so many fun ways to make the holidays an enjoyable time for your furry family members, and include them in many of your holiday traditions.

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with your loved ones, give thanks, and count your blessings. I am sure every pet owner can agree, our pets bring us a lot of joy, and they are something we are thankful for in our lives. After all, they don't talk back, and they love us unconditionally. So, a fun way to show our thanks to them on Turkey Day is to make them a special Thanksgiving platter. Before you start getting creative with meal ideas, there are foods that dogs need to steer clear of that may surprise you.

We all know the minute the turkey comes out of the oven, your cat is hovering over you, watching your every move, and the dog is wagging their tail, hoping you will drop something.

John Lund/Blend Images, 2017

DO's and DONT's From The Kitchen to The Dinner Table

  • Turkey ( plain: no skin, no fatty pieces, no gravy, no bones)

  • Green Beans, not the casserole; you can rinse some off and set them aside before making your casserole.

  • Sweet Potato Casserole: Sweet Potatoes are excellent for dogs and cats, but not with all of the butter, marshmallows, and sugar, so if you are mashing sweet potatoes from scratch ( with no skins), then yes, you can share some pre gooey, sugary starches.

  • Corn is okay ( off the cob, no butter ), and a small amount.

  • Please keep the cranberry sauce and gravy on the table as much as they give you puppy eyes or purr in your ear!

  • Desserts are a big no-no; however, while prepping your apple and pumpkin pie, you can set aside some skin-free apple slices and maybe a few tablespoons to plain pumpkin pure; both of these are a yummy sweet treat for dogs. You can even sprinkle some cinnamon.

You can even make pet-friendly treats with those extra apple slices and leftover pumpkin pure if you have the spare time. All you need are oats, peanut butter, and water.


Pumpkin Apple Cookies:

Apple slices ( 3-6)

2 cups of oats

2 tbs peanut butter

2-3 tbs water

2-3 tbs Pumpkin Purée

**Banana and cinnamon optional **

  • Preheat your oven to 375

  • Remove apple skins and chop apple slices into small pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine apples, pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and water. ( add an optional mashed banana ). Blend until well combined.

  • Once combined, add oats and ( optional cinnamon) until well combined.

  • Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, form small balls on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use the back of a spoon to press down gently on the top of each cookie to flatten slightly.

  • Bake for 15-25 minutes ( check them at 15 minutes); if you want a firmer cookie, continue to bake.

  • ** you can opt to make these as muffins**

You can make a similar treat for the cats in the family: blend turkey, tuna, and flour with a small amount of water and roll the combined ingredients into small balls and sprinkle with catnip and bake at 375 in the oven for 15-25 minutes for a pawfect kitty treat.


Welcoming Your Guests & Keeping Your Pets Calm:

Now that the furry guest menu is complete let's talk guests. People will inevitably come and go during the holidays, even during a pandemic. Dogs and cats are very easily overwhelmed by crowds of people in their homes. This occurrence can cause a lot of anxiety and nervous energy. Here are five ways to keep your pets calm and happy during the holidays. Try out these tips when diving in the new year too. That night can be very stressful to animals due to loud noises, crowds, and commotion.

  1. Create a space that's just for them. If you have an unoccupied guest room, you could add some toys and a water dish in that room with some calming music that they can relax in while you play host.

  2. CBD oil and gummies for cats and dogs is a safe & effective way to keep them relaxed if there is no way of giving them their own space. Be sure to consult with your vet and do your research.

  3. Give your pet a few hours of undivided attention after everyone has left, and the house is back in order. They will love to snuggle up and know that things are back to their idea of normal once everyone has left.

  4. Hire a pet sitter for the day. Suppose you have a friend or family member who knows your pet well and is comfortable asking them to be part of the holiday but for the cat or dog. They could go for a car ride, a walk, or play outback to keep them happily distracted.

  5. An hour before everyone is set to arrive, tell Alexa to play calming holiday music and maybe sing along to your dog or dance to the music while holding your kitty. This sense of calm will let them know it's okay. When guests arrive, you can bring them in to say hello in a gentle way to your pet; this will signal that this person is my human friend and they are safe.


Holiday Festivities:

When it comes to Christmas, there is so much excitement! Families worldwide indulge in decorating the tree, making the cookies, and spending time with loved ones. These elements of the holiday can be so exciting for the pets in our home. However, it can also be stressful for us when the cat knocks off all of the ornaments, and the dog pees on the tree, or the dog eats the gingerbread cookies just as you were going to ice them.

A great way to avoid something like this is to include them. Is your cat known for demolishing your ornaments? Do they perhaps climb to the top of the tree to take a ride back down to the floor? Instead of getting mad, get creative. Try distracting your cat by purchasing a miniature fake tree with some plastic ornaments ( without the hooks) and lay them around the tree in a space for them to play with their very own tree. Homemade ornaments are another great way to include family pets. Many places sell kits to make handprint ornaments; you could make your pets paw prints too!

Safety Tip:

Remember when decorating your tree to be mindful of the ornament hooks. They can easily fall, and if not picked up, they are a hazardous choking hazard to cats and dogs.

A Few of My Favorite Things:

Cats and dogs always seem to be amazed at the beauty that shines from all of the Christmas lights from the Christmas tree and the neighbor's strung lights. If you have a pet that won’t lose their Santa cookies in the car, pack them up with the family, put on some Christmas music, and drive around to look at the beautifully lit decorations. Everyone gets stockings at Christmas time. Why not make the family pet their own stocking? This is such a fun project for the kids to make for their furry best friends.

Holiday Baking

I think we can all agree that Santa is not the only one who deserves yummy Christmas cookies! The pets always seem to appear in the kitchen and get under your feet when they smell the fresh gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies exit the oven. If you want to spoil your kitties and puppies this holiday season, here are recipes to please them both.


Tuna Catnip Treats

One can tuna

1-2tbs catnip

3tbs water

1-2 cups flour

Combine tuna, water, and catnip in a mixing bowl. One combined add flour and combine. If the dough seems sticky, add small amounts of flour until the mold seems moldable. Make small 1/2 teaspoon-sized balls out of the dough and place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375 and bake for 15-18 minutes.


If You Give A Blonde A Kitchen, 2020

Dog Treats

4tbs Pumpkin Purée

3tbs peanut butter

1 Egg

1 Banana

3 cups flour

2tsp Cinnamon

Combine mashed bananas, peanut butter, pumpkin purée, and egg until mixed well. Slowly add flour and cinnamon until the dough is moldable. Use a wooden spoon to mix flour and avoid clumping in a whisk or mixer. Roll out dough and cue any cookie cutter to make your cookies. Preheat the oven to 375 and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.


The Balcome Family; Brittany, Stuart, Lucy

Family Traditions

On the night before Christmas, many families have traditions. Traditions such as watching a Christmas movie night in matching PJ’s or opening one present are just two examples of traditions that include the family pet. Some stores sell family holiday pj’s with one for the family dog too. Cats and dogs also love opening small easy to maneuver packages.


Dear Santa:

Sit, stay, say cheese! The holiday’s wouldn’t be complete without a photo with Santa.


Cherry Hill Mall; Cherry Hill NJ


Santa will be visiting the Cherry Hill Mall now through December 24th

Cumberland Mall; Vineland NJ


Pet photos with Santa will be available every Monday from November 29 to December 20. Please call for more details.

Deptford Mall; Deptofrd NJ


Santa is so excited to meet his furry friends at the ”Pet Night with Santa” event at the Deptford Mall, located on the lower level in the center court. The photo sessions are available Monday November 29. December 6, & 13 from 4pm -8pm. General admission and reservations are available on the website.

Bass Pro Shops; Atlantic City, NJ


Get a photo with Santa and get a free 4x6 photo and a free digital photo greeting card to share electronically with family & friends. You may call to make a reservation. Photos are available from November 7 - December 24.

South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter; Vineland, NJ

856 -691-1500

South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter; 2021

The prices, dates, and times vary. Prices include the choice of one backdrop. A photo passport is available for $20 and will include ALL photos from your session. Due to the Covid 19 situation it is asked that all humans wear a mask. If you have any questions or want to schedule your session please visit the website or call the shelter.

All Star Pet Resort; Egg Harbor City

169 S. Cologne Ave

Come visit Santa at the All Star Pet Resort on Saturday December 11 from 11am to 3pm. The event will include a hot coco bar, donuts, face paining ( for the humans) , giveaways no much more!

Kelly Green Brewing Co; Pitman NJ

101 West Jersey Ave

Come get your pet photos taken and support Kizzy’s Place Animal Rescue. The event will take place December 12 from 1pm to 5pm. Donations are welcome and appreciated.

Four On The Floor & 609 Ju Jitsu School; EHT, NJ

Text Heidi; 609–377-6208 to book you sitting

Come out to support the kids of the Atlantic City Rescue Mission by giving a $20 donation for your pets photo with Santa. Your session will include one digital photo print to take home. All proceeds benefit the children and families at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

Paw Dazzle Pet Bakery & Boutique; Smithville NJ


Humane Scociety of Ocean City; Ocean City,NJ


Bring your furbaby to visit Santa in Ocean City NJ on Saturday December 4 from 10am to 2pm. For just $10 you can get their picture with Santa and all donations benefit the Humane Society. Please not humans must wear a mask.


Pawsome Holiday Shopping Gift Ideas:

We’re sure your pets are on Santa’s “good list,” which means they will have filled stockings and some fun wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree, right? Do you need some great ideas to make their Christmas morning exciting? Sit, stay, then go shop for these great finds.

Safety tip:

Make sure on Christmas morning when the kids are opening their gifts in tornado mode that the bows, cards, and gift wrap don’t make it into the pets' mouths who can get sick or choke. If the cat(s) want to make a bed from the open boxes or play floor hockey with the bows, but make sure they don’t get too carried away!

While Amazon and shopping stores like Home Goods, Target, and more have dog and cat items available, below are some online sites that have unique and top-quality items. Some websites even have Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals.

Visit Chewy to find some great toys, beds, treats, and more! They are having an awesome Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sale !


2021 has been another challenging year, but I am sure many of you will agree that having our pets by our side to love us unconditionally has been more comforting than they will ever know. We hope you and your entire family gobble till‘ you wobble and are on Santa’s ”good list.” If you have questions about food safety or other edible items, be sure to consult your vet first. If you have any questions about any of the featured products or highlighted events, please call the stores or visit the company websites for more information.

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