SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Do you treat your pet like a little human? If so, you could be harming your pet, experts say. 

Oodle Life surveyed 3,000 pet owners, and 63% of pet-owning households in Utah admitted to giving their animals special treatment during the holidays, such as giving the pet leftovers or dressing them up. 

While it may seem natural to treat the pet as a human in the family, it can cause severe issues in the animal, said Chris Allen, Founder & CEO of Oodle Life.

Experts strongly discourage practices like spraying your pet with cologne, giving them breath-freshening products, and putting your pets in strollers, among others, in a joint report by researchers at the University of Pisa and the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City.

“They’re always on your side, they keep you company when you’re feeling sad or lonely, and they bring endless joy with their loyalty and adorable behavior,” Allen said. “However, 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.”

Dressing your pet up

While it may seem tempting to dress your animal up, clothing can cause a mixture of problems for the creature. For instance, if the fabric covers the eyes, it could lead to anxiety or the material could lead to overheating or just being uncomfortable, which is another source of anxiety for your pet. 

Sharing your snacks 

Festive food tends to be high in fat and sugar, and there are many common holiday foods that are even toxic to your pet, like mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, roast beef, and more. Foods that are not toxic can lead to malnutrition and obesity. It’s best to leave human food for humans and the animal’s food for them. 

Overfeeding your pet

In a similar vein to sharing snacks, giving your pet too much food can cause tremendous problems as well, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even a reduced lifespan. Experts said it’s important to regulate your pet’s eating habits. 

“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. 

Oodle Life has created an interactive slideshow to best treat your pets over the holiday season.