Foods to Avoid Giving Your Pet During the Holidays

It’s a holiday dinner and your furriest family member is looking up at you from beneath the table with those big puppy dog eyes. It’s hard to say no to a face like that! But before you slide some table scraps into your pup’s bowl, make sure they’re dog-friendly foods. There are a lot of ingredients that are common in human-food recipes that can be dangerous for dogs. We’re listing a few of those foods so you can keep your pup happy and healthy during the holidays!


Onions are a staple ingredient in many delicious festive recipes like stuffing and green bean casserole. This holiday season, make sure to leave the onions on the table! Onion in any form is harmful for dogs, including raw onion, cooked onion, and onion powder. When a pup eats onion, they can develop anemia within 2-3 days, which causes breathing problems, and weakness. If you suspect your dog may have eaten a significant amount of onion and they’re experiencing those signs, take them to the vet as soon as possible.  


Feel free to roast chestnuts by the fire with your dog - but if you’re a walnut fan, resist the temptation to share. Some types of walnuts, namely Japanese, Black and English walnuts pose a risk to dogs in that they can cause stomach and intestinal upset or obstruction. They are also prone to containing tremogenic mycotoxins. These are toxins that are produced from molds and can result in tremors, seizures or other neurologic signs. 

A furry-friend alternative to walnuts are peanuts. If your pup is a peanut fan, our grain-free peanut butter treats are a must-have!


When it comes to human food, garlic makes everything better. Unfortunately, it’s the opposite for dogs. Like onions, garlic contains n-propyl disulfide, which attacks red blood cells, causing anemia. Garlic is five times more toxic than onions. A few of the signs of severe garlic-poisoning are diarrhea, discolored urine, and loss of coordination. Unfortunately, the most common cause of garlic poisoning in dogs is table scraps, which can be easily avoided. 


While whiskey eggnog and cranberry cocktails may make holiday parties more fun for humans, you should keep your dogs away from the bar cart. Alcohol produces the same harmful effects in dogs that it does in humans but amplified. A small amount of alcohol can cause a loss of coordination, diarrhea, vomiting, and, in severe cases, death. Any kind of alcohol, including beer and wine, are off limits for dogs.


Your furry friends should skip any holiday goodies that contain grapes or raisins. Like a lot of the foods on this list, grapes can cause kidney damage (and even failure) in dogs. Just a few grapes or raisins can cause vomiting and sluggishness. Grape poisoning is very serious and can lead to kidney failure in less than seventy two hours. Keep any grapes you’re serving this holiday season far away from wandering paws (and mouths).   


The ultimate holiday celebration isn’t complete without some kind of chocolate dessert. But if you’re hosting a holiday party for your pups this year, chocolate shouldn’t be on the menu. Consuming any kind of chocolate (including white chocolate) is harmful for dogs. 

Still want to spoil your dog with some sweet treats? Try our pumpkin chews! We make them with all-natural ingredients like cinnamon, chickpeas, and real pumpkin that are good for canine health.  

Fat Trimmings

Fat trimmings are one of the most common food items that regularly go from the dining room table to the dog’s bowl. Some owners assume that because fat trimmings are technically meat, they’re good for dogs. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In dogs, eating an excess of fat can cause pancreatitis, which can be fatal. 

If you like to include meat in your dog’s diet, stick to lean meats. Chicken and steak are great sources of protein for dogs but make sure to always cut them up beforehand (to avoid choking) and remove any fatty parts. Also keep in mind, especially in sensitive dogs, anytime there is a quick change in the diet, it can result in an upset stomach. Extra goodies should make up less than 10% of your dog’s daily calories which helps to keep the diet balanced.

Information in this blog post is confirmed by BSM Partners Nutrition and their team of veterinary nutritionists.