CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Animal experts at Oodle Life are warning pet owners about the dangers of treating your pet like a human over the holiday season.

“As much as we love them, it’s important to remember that they’re not actually human, and they shouldn’t be treated as such,” said Chris Allen, founder and CEO of Oodle Life. 

According to a survey of 3,000 pet owners conducted by Oodle Life, “80% of pet owning households in West Virginia admit to giving their pet special treatment (such as giving them leftover food, and dressing them up) over Christmas.”

However, this special treatment can actually have a negative affect. Here are a few examples of what these practices can do to a pet, according to Oodle Life:

  • Christmas sweaters can impede a pet’s ability to regulate its own temperature. However, if the temperature drops to the mid-40s Fahrenheit, it may be time to put on the appropriate attire, though a human Christmas sweater still isn’t a good idea.
  • Holding or carrying them like a baby for prolonged periods can cause obesity, inflammation of the joints and hinder their ability to cope with their environment, leading to anxiety.
  • Hugging a pet could also be seen as ignoring the animal’s preferences and may cause anxiety.
  • Giving them human Christmas food can cause conditions such as obesity or malnutrition.

“So just remember that while a pet is for life, and not just for Christmas, they are also animals, not people, and it’s important to treat them as such. That way, both humans and pets can equally enjoy the holidays,” Allen said.