Holiday treats to avoid for your pets

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UNDATED (NBC) -- The holiday treats you buy your dog could be deadly. One veterinarian says if you're not careful, those treats could lead to illness and even death.

Nearly all dogs love treats. And at Christmastime, many pet owners are looking for the best way to spoil their furry friend.

"People like to buy their pets all these nice, cute little toys and treats," veterinarian Jessica Hodes said. "Some of these treats are not so good for them."

Treats like festive rawhides can fracture teeth and contain unsafe dyes and chemicals.

"Rawhides we used to recommend years ago for dental hygiene," Hodes said. "Now, we've discovered that not only are a lot of these products depending on where they're manufactured and shipped from, can sometimes have harmful chemicals on them from pesticides to other treatments. There were reports of formaldehyde on some."
Hodes has seen pets come in after having these types of treats, some causing choking hazards and others leading to death.

"The owners were trying to include them in the festivities and, unfortunately, these were very toxic treats and it caused a very severe gastroenteritis and pancreatitis in this pet," she said.
Petland owner Rebecca Hertle pays close attention to the types of treats and chews her store offers. She says to focus on the nutrition label.

"The first thing I always look for is, is it made in the USA?" Hertle said. "Because then I know they have to follow the FDA regulations to do that. The next thing I look for is are there any added ingredients? Is the first named ingredient a meat product? In this case, it's salmon, then it uses potato, pea, flour."

But the best way to keep your pet safe is avoiding these altogether.

"Avoid rawhides, avoid chicken jerkies, the sweet potato and yam treats big time, just all of them, avoid, period," Hodes said.

Vets want to remind pet owners to avoid feeding their dogs certain treats this holiday season. Grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts are on the naughty list. And never give your dog any desserts that contain xylitol as a sugar substitute.

All may be good for us but are certainly harmful to your pet.