Holiday Foods to Feed Your Dog (And The Ones to Avoid)

dogs wearing christmas decor

During the holidays, families and friends gather together for celebrations and meals and we often include our beloved dogs in the festivities. 

However, many common holiday foods can be dangerous to dogs. Some holiday foods, like chocolates, candy, and cooked bones, can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even organ damage in pets. 

Dog owners should therefore know which holiday foods are harmful to dogs and warn their guests not to feed these table scraps to their fur babies.

List of Holiday Foods HARMFUL to Dogs


Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which are toxic to dogs. In extreme cases, the combination of these two ingredients can result in death, – especially in small dogs. In larger dogs, chocolate can trigger bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, and, in the worst cases, organ failure.

  • Depending on how much chocolate your dog ate, take it to the emergency vet right away.
  • Mention your dog’s weight (approximate figure) and the quantity of chocolate it ate.
  • If it was a small piece of chocolate chip cookie or a chocolate glazed donut, expect a bit of diarrhea or vomiting.
  • If the amount of chocolate was anything approaching one ounce per pound of your dog’s weight, try to induce vomiting immediately. Spray some hydrogen peroxide on your dog’s gums and that should do the trick.

Even if you are able to get your dog to vomit successfully, take it to the emergency vet for follow-up treatment.


Very little is known about raisin or grape toxicity in dogs, which is why the experts at Pet Poison Helpline urge dog owners to take it extremely seriously.

 Most pets start vomiting after having even a single raisin. This could last for 24 to 48 hours and the dog might seem to get better. However, its organs could still be failing. Therefore, if you suspect your dog ate even a single raisin, it is best not to risk it and take your dog to the emergency vet immediately.

Signs of raisin poisoning in dogs include diarrhea, decreased urination, bad breath, lethargy, weakness, vomiting, weakness, and weight loss.

Garlic and Onions

In small quantities, garlic is okay for dogs and should not cause any major health issues. However, in large quantities (50 cloves or more), it could be extremely toxic to them.

Signs of garlic/onion toxicity in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, discolored urine, and abdominal pain. Some dogs suffer from severe anemia as well.

It is best to keep garlic and garlic-based foods out of your dog’s reach.

Cooked Bones

It can be tempting to feed cooked turkey bones to your fur-buddy. But bones, especially the cooked ones, could shatter, resulting in intestinal perforation or blockages. Therefore, you must avoid feeding cooked turkey bones to dogs and discard them safely. Provide your guests with containers or sealed trash bags to dispose of bones in a safe manner.

Dairy (Milk, Cream, and Cheese)

A small piece of cheese is okay to feed your dog but it can result in weight gain if eaten in excess. Similarly, dairy-based foods like milk and cream can cause diarrhea and other digestive upsets in dogs so it is best to avoid feeding them.


Do not feed that boozy rum cake to your dog. Alcohol can result in tremors, vomiting, and breathing issues in dogs. In excess, alcohol can also cause organ failure in small dogs.


Candy contains xylitol and other artificial sweeteners, which, in excess, can result in liver failure in dogs. So, please keep all kinds of candy away from your pets.


Classic eggnog contains raw eggs, which could result in salmonella infection in dogs and humans. Moreover, traditional eggnog recipes also contain alcohol, sugar, and milk, all of which are harmful to dogs. 

Now let us take a look at some safe foods dogs can eat in moderation during the holidays.

List of Holiday Foods SAFE For Dogs

Lean Turkey Meat

Most dogs can digest lean turkey easily (unless they are allergic to poultry meats) and it is a healthy addition to their diet. Packed with tons of protein, cooked turkey pieces make an excellent holiday treat for your pets. Make sure to remove the skin and bones first, and avoid adding any seasoning or spices to it.

Pumpkin Puree

We don’t recommend feeding pumpkin pie to dogs due to the high sugar content but plain pumpkin puree is healthy for dogs. 

Pumpkin keeps your dog regular and can prevent diarrhea and constipation. The fiber in pumpkin also keeps your pet full longer, aiding in appetite suppression and weight management.

According to experts, you can add up to one to four teaspoons of plain pumpkin puree to your pet’s meals.


Carrots are excellent after-meal treats for dogs as they help clean their teeth. Naturally, we don’t recommend feeding carrot cake to your pet due to the sugar content. 

You can safely feed 2-3 small (unseasoned) carrot sticks to an average-sized dog. Chop them up into pieces to prevent choking.

Bananas and Apples

These holiday fruits make great desserts for humans and they are also excellent treats for dogs. Chop them into small pieces and make a colorful and flavorful addition to your pet’s meals. 

Happy holidays!

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