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Holiday Treats and Stolen Turkeys

When the holidays arrive, you naturally want to share with your pets. In fact, many a Turkey or Ham has disappeared from the countertop when backs were turned if a Malamute was in the house! To keep his hunger pangs at bay before dinner, and to include him in the meal, you may want to put a few people treats in his dish (and put a guard in charge of watching the main dish). Dogs have eaten the same foods as humans for centuries, so other than the basic no-no's (chocolate, onion, grapes, etc.) your Malamute can share dinner with you. A really spoiled Malamute would love his own plate!

When holiday baking and roasting turns makes your dog drool...we recommend (with your vet's approval) giving him a taste ...after all he's part of the family too! It really is OK to occasionally give a bit of human food. It makes coats shine too. The only time it's bad is if he tends to gain too much weight or has special dietary needs. Even dogs on restricted diets can have a few things - Riggs is on a kidney health diet so his protein intake is restricted - but he can still enjoy occasional fruits, vegetables and starches and he LOVES them.

Lean Meat: Dogs love ANY kind of meat. Malamutes love Salmon and boneless fish. Turkey contains tryptophan, a natural sleep aid that works to calm excited dogs during holiday commotion and you can even give them the turkey neck raw. Lean meat without bones is almost always allowed. Avoid giving the ham bone however, it tends to be too rich for most dogs and upsets many stomachs. No cooked bones either, as they can splinter.

Giblets: Don't toss out the giblets when you roast your holiday bird. Tongue, heart, liver and gizzards have loads of vitamins and minerals. It's like giving a doggy vitamin to your Mal. You can feed them raw, or if that grosses you out too much, nuke them in the microwave covered (they tend to spit and sputter as you cook them).

Green veggies, fresh or cooked: Dogs are omnivores - that means they eat vegetables too. Most dogs love broccoli, asparagus, carrots, spinach and green beans before you add all the butter and too many seasonings.

Beets: Holistic veterinarians say raw beets are great for cleansing the liver. Small amounts of cooked beets make a great doggy treat during the holidays.

Stew: Chicken soup cooked with spinach, green beans, mushrooms and beets makes a great treat and top dressing for regular food.. Avoid garlic and onion however - it can cause anemia in some dogs.

Canned pumpkin: Pumpkin is also a natural remedy for either diarrhea or constipation. Offer the non flavored canned pumpkin before adding sugar and spices.

Sweet potatoes: The high fiber in sweet potatoes is soothing for upset tummies or diarrhea. Remove the whipped topping however. The sweetness of the potato is more than enough.

Ginger: Gingerbread and ginger snap cookies make great treats for dogs, especially if they suffer from car sickness when traveling. Ginger is a natural remedy that counters nausea. Get the low sugar variety if you plan on sharing with the dog and it will be better for you too. Just avoid sweets sweetened with Xylitol as it's a poison to dogs.

Yogurt: While many dogs have problems digesting milk and develop diarrhea, plain unflavored yogurt almost never causes problems. Yogurt also helps maintain the beneficial bacteria in the stomach that keeps digestion healthy.

Cranberries: Many dogs enjoy cranberries, oranges, apples and bananas. Cranberry promotes urinary tract health. Some dogs love cranberries and to others it's an acquired taste, but regardless it's good for your dog.

Gelatin: Unflavored gelatin sprinkled over your dog's food while you're making that Jello promotes good joint health and some use it to help puppy mercantile erect. Won't hurt him regardless and he might just like it.

Treats and cooked people-food typically shouldn't make up more than about 10 percent of your Malamute's total diet. Most will look at you with sad puppy eyes and try and get that percentage much higher, but it's best if you don't give in (unless it's a special occasion). Also, it's easy to put on the pounds if you treat from the table too much or upset tummies with rich gravies and too much fat. If you do share your holiday meal, reduce his regular ration of kibble. Go slow offering treats...with all the excitement and stress of the holidays your dog's stomach get be upset more easily. And always remember a tiny treat is just as appreciated as a big one - and will keep your Malamute's weight under control and help you appease those pleading eyes without ruining his diet too much!