6 Holiday Food Dangers for Dogs

Gather round the holiday table and savor the delicious smells of home cooking wafting through the kitchen. As you indulge in comfort food classics, your faithful canine companion sits at your side, gazing up with those irresistible puppy dog eyes. How can you not share a little taste of the good life? While it may seem harmless to slip your furry best friend a few scraps from the table, holiday foods can pose serious dangers to pets. Before you cave in to those soulful stares and feed your dog leftovers, learn which dishes to steer well clear of. Some ingredients commonly found in holiday recipes can be toxic to animals and may land them in the emergency vet clinic. Save yourself the guilt and your pet the grief—keep these six hazardous holiday foods out of reach of curious canines.

The Dangers of Rich, Fatty Foods

The savory smells of roasts, casseroles, and appetizers wafting from the kitchen during the holidays are irresistible to our canine companions. However, fatty and rich human foods are terrible for your dog’s digestive system and long term health. Avoid feeding your furry friend leftovers like:

  • Turkey skin, drippings and bones: While lean turkey meat in moderation is fine, the skin, fat, and bones can cause pancreatitis in dogs. The bones are also a choking hazard and can splinter, puncturing the digestive tract.

  • Ham: Cured meats like ham, bacon, and sausage contain loads of salt, preservatives, and fat that dogs shouldn’t eat. High amounts of fat and sodium are hard for dogs to digest and can lead to upset stomach, diarrhea, and even salt toxicity.

  • Casseroles: Cheesy dishes, creamy soups, and buttery mashed potatoes may seem like a special treat but are packed with fats, dairy, and spices that don’t agree with a dog’s stomach. These rich ingredients can cause gastrointestinal upset, pain, and pancreatitis.

  • Sweets: Keep candies, cookies, pies and other sugary goodies well out of your dog’s reach. Ingesting too much sugar and artificial sweeteners can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes in dogs. Chocolate is especially toxic for dogs and should always be avoided.

While it’s hard to say no to those begging eyes, stick to giving your dog small amounts of lean proteins, veggies, and dog-approved treats. Your faithful companion depends on you to keep them safe, healthy and well-fed. Resist the temptation to share fatty table scraps and sweets, no matter how much they plead. Your dog will thank you for it!

Beware of Bones, Pits, and Skins

The holidays are filled with delicious food, but not all of it is safe for your furry friends. As tempting as it may be to share some leftovers with your pup, there are some major dangers to be aware of.

Beware of Bones, Pits, and Skins

Bones, pits, and skins from many holiday staples can cause damage or obstruction in a dog’s digestive tract. Chicken, turkey, and ham bones splinter easily and can puncture organs. Fruit pits from cherries or apricots contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs. Skins from potatoes, onions, or garlic are hard for dogs to digest and may cause an intestinal blockage.

It’s best to avoid giving your dog any of these items. No matter how much they beg, steer clear of slipping them scraps under the table. It’s not worth the risk of a trip to the emergency vet!

Stick with dog-safe treats like green beans, carrots, or broccoli to avoid digestive upset and keep them out of trouble. If your dog accidentally eats something dangerous, call your vet right away for advice. It’s always better to be safe in this type of situation.

The holidays only come once a year, so do your best to pup-proof your home and protect your four-legged family member. Keep food up and out of reach, take out the trash regularly, and avoid leaving leftovers unattended. Make sure any decorations, plants or candles are also kept safely away from curious pets.

By following some simple tips, you can enjoy a safe, happy holiday season with your faithful companion by your side. After all, the best gift you can give them is your love, time and keeping them in good health! Stay vigilant, ask guests for cooperation and keep an eye on the trash. With teamwork and care, you’ll get through the season without a scary trip to the vet.

Alcohol Poisoning Risks

The holiday season is filled with delicious food and drink, but unfortunately, some of these treats can be extremely dangerous for our canine companions. One of the biggest risks is alcohol poisoning from drinks left unattended.

Alcohol Poisoning Risks

As tempting as it may be to give your pup a taste of eggnog or wine, even small amounts of alcohol can be lethal for dogs. Their bodies metabolize alcohol much slower than humans, so they feel the effects more strongly. Just a few ounces of wine, beer or liquor can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, tremors, coma and even death in dogs.

With lots of holiday parties and open drinks around, be extremely vigilant. Never leave alcoholic drinks where your dog can reach them. Make sure all empty glasses are promptly cleared as even the leftover residue or dregs can be dangerous if consumed. If your dog shows symptoms of alcohol poisoning like excessive vomiting, lack of coordination, pale gums or unconsciousness, contact your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately.

The safest option is to not give your dog any table scraps or tastes of human food over the holidays. If you do wish to treat them, stick to dog-friendly snacks like:

•Carrots – Carrots are crunchy, low in calories and high in vitamins.

•Green beans – Green beans provide fiber and various minerals. Cook them and avoid adding any spices.

•Pumpkin – Canned pumpkin (not pie filling) can help settle a dog’s stomach. Make sure it’s unsweetened and unspiced.

• Meat – Plain chicken, turkey or fish in moderation. Avoid fatty meats, bones, skin and spices.

Keeping alcoholic drinks out of reach and table scraps to a minimum will help ensure your dog stays safe, healthy and able to celebrate many more holidays with you. The best treat you can give them is your time, love, belly rubs and maybe a fun new toy. Your faithful companion deserves nothing less.

Chocolate and Other Sweets Are Toxic

Chocolate and other sweets are toxic to dogs and can make them very sick. You’ll want to keep chocolate, candy, cookies, and other sugary treats well out of your pup’s reach this holiday season.

Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant which dogs metabolize much slower than humans. Ingesting too much chocolate can lead to chocolate poisoning in dogs which causes nausea, diarrhea, a very fast heart rate, tremors, and even death. Dark and semi-sweet chocolate are the most dangerous as they have the highest theobromine content.

Sugar-free candies and gum often contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener highly toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver damage, and blood clotting disorders in dogs. With their keen sense of smell, keeping candy and gum secured away from curious canines can be challenging. It’s best not to have these items around pets at all.

Cookies, cupcakes and other baked goods pose a double threat. Not only do they contain chocolate and sugar, but they often include ingredients like raisins, macadamia nuts, coffee, and nutmeg—all of which can be hazardous for hounds.

When ingested, the effects of these toxins usually appear within 6-12 hours. If your dog eats any of these sweets or you suspect they have, contact your vet or animal poison control immediately for advice. It’s always better to be safe in these situations.

The holidays should be an enjoyable time for all. Keeping dangerous food items secured and out of reach of pets will help ensure your four-legged friends stay happy and healthy this season so you can all celebrate together.

Nuts, Grapes, and Raisins Can Cause Kidney Failure

Nuts, grapes, and raisins may seem like tasty treats to share with your dog, but these foods can actually cause severe kidney failure in some animals.


Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pistachios in particular, contain harmful toxins that can poison your pup. Ingesting even a small amount of these nuts may lead to tremors, hyperthermia, weakness and depression in your dog. Seek veterinary care immediately if nut poisoning is suspected.

Grapes and Raisins

While the exact toxin in grapes and raisins is unknown, they can be deadly to some dogs, damaging their kidneys within 24 hours of consumption. Not all dogs are affected, but there is no way to know how your pet will react. It’s best to avoid feeding your faithful companion any amount of grapes or raisins. If eaten, induce vomiting immediately and rush your dog to an emergency vet.

Toxicosis from any of these foods can be frightening and even life-threatening. As a caring pet owner, take necessary precautions to avoid potential hazards. Your fur baby depends on you to keep them safe and healthy. This holiday season, give your pup an extra belly rub or fun toy instead of table scraps. Their unconditional love and companionship are the greatest gifts of all.


That’s the lowdown on some common holiday foods that are dangerous for your fur babies. While the temptation to share a bite of your favorite dishes with those sad puppy dog eyes staring up at you may feel irresistible, it’s just not worth the risk. Stick to treats specifically made for dogs to show them some extra love this season. Their health and safety should be top of mind. Keep people food in the people zone and pet food in the pet zone. It may require some extra effort to keep them separated, especially with so many delicious smells wafting through the house, but you’ll rest easier knowing you protected your faithful companions. This season, steer clear of the scary stuff and keep your pets safe, happy and healthy!


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