8 Holiday Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog

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During the holidays, the urge to spoil your dog is a constant struggle. If you could share every roast dinner with them, you would — and likely, you make up for the fact that you can't with leftovers and bonus cookies and treats. While it's definitely OK to give your pup a little bit of extra loving now and then, there are some holiday foods you should never feed your dog, no matter what. And even the foods that are safe, should be dolled out in moderation, as too much savory foods can actually be bad for their health.

Most dogs have eyes that are bigger than their stomachs, and no matter how full they are, they're probably still willing to eat anything available and edible. So that puts a lot of pressure on you to make sure that their access to food is controlled. During the holidays when you have guests in your home and feasts on the table, it can be extra hard to keep an eye on your dog. There have been many holidays where I've turned my back on my dog for one moment, only to find him on the table going ham on the ham. The holiday smells and excitement are just too much, and even the goodest dog might be tempted to chew on something they know they shouldn't. So it's important to know what foods are dangerous for dogs so that you can either opt to keep them out of your holiday feast all together, or know what to keep an extra keen eye on.

Note: to be safe, remind your guests not to feed your dog any food whatsoever, no matter how much they beg!

Nutmeg & Cinnamon

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Theses spices are aplenty during this time of year, and might smell enticing to a hungry pet, so don't underestimate the big dangers of these spices. Large portions of nutmeg can cause hallucinations, confusion, high blood pressure, and seizures in some cases and cinnamon can cause painful internal blisters and digestion complications.


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Chocolate is toxic to a dog's liver and causes fast and intense intestinal problems. A dog that gets into the chocolate is going to need to take a trip to the ER, so do not leave treats on low surfaces and clean up efficiently.

Garlic & Onions

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Garlic and onions can be found in so many foods, so you'll have to be extra diligent about keeping your dog away from those dishes. In addition to digestive issues, onions and garlic can damage red blood cells in dogs, making them highly dangerous.


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Xylitol is most commonly found in chewing gum, but it can also be found in many store-bought baked goods and other "sugar-free" groceries. If you see "sugar alcohol" on the back of a product, you should avoid letting your dog have any, as it can cause life threatening alterations to your dog's blood sugar.


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This might sound obvious, but keep the booze away from your dog. Though an average liquor or beer might not smell very appetizing for a dog, holiday drinks tend to smell sweeter and more interesting to a curious pup, so keep drinks on higher surfaces and don't leave them unattended. Even a few sips of alcohol can be life-threatening for a small dog.


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While a few sips of a virgin glass of eggnog might not be life-threatening, dairy is generally not safe for dogs. Dairy can cause indigestion and loose stool in dogs — and sugars can cause spikes in blood sugar, which is equally as detrimental.

Ham & Bacon

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While a tiny bit of ham or bacon might be OK, in excess it can cause pancreatitis in dogs, which can be life-threatening if un-treated. To be safe, it's always best to avoid these meats.

Turkey Bones

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Bird bones in general are a no-no for dogs. While the meat is OK served separately, the bones are soft, which means they can splinter in your dog's throat and digestive tract. So, if you're serving turkey this holiday season, clean up your guest's plates quickly and safely. Never leave a garbage bag that's filled with turkey scraps near your dog — bring it straight out to the trash to be safe.