A Feast for All
Holiday Foods You Can & Cannot Feed Your Pets

By Ashley Bradish

With the holidays around the corner, I want to share what you can and cannot feed your pets for the holidays. Every loving family wants to include their pets in the holiday celebration. But before you hand your little buddy those leftovers that fell on the floor, give this quick list a read!
First, let's talk about dogs. Most dogs will eat absolutely anything. They don't know what's best for them, so it is up to you to know.

Dogs can eat:

Turkey and Chicken
White meats free of any salt or seasoning are safe to give to your dog. But do not give them skins or bones!

Green Beans
Raw, steamed, or canned green beans are okay as long as they are plain and do not have any oil, spices, or seasonings. Other green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are also safe for dogs but can cause gas.

Back when I was little, our Samoyed LOVED carrots. They are a popular treat for dogs for their flavor and crunch. You can feed your dog carrots that are raw or cooked, and even the green tops are edible!

Your dog may not like the bitter taste but don't give them any sugary cranberry sauces or similar dishes.

Sweet Potatoes
Dogs can eat cooked and mashed sweet potatoes. But again, they cannot have any sugars, seasonings, or dairy products (milk, butter, etc.).

Many dogs love the flavor of pumpkin. When feeding your dog canned pumpkin, read the label. You want to avoid giving them a canned pumpkin pie mix, which contains sugar and spices they cannot have. So no pumpkin spice lattes either.

Dogs cannot eat:

Avocados are a popular choice for humans. But can trigger vomiting and diarrhea for dogs. Not to mention they can choke on the pit.

Raw potatoes
Raw potatoes contain solanine which is toxic to dogs. They can have cooked potatoes, though. Try to avoid giving them mashed potatoes. They are only safe when they do not have seasonings, milk, butter, garlic, etc. So if you ask me, it's better to keep it away from your dogs.

Grapes and Raisins
We don't know why, but they are so toxic to dogs that the results of eating them can be fatal.

Perhaps the most known food item to not feed dogs. Chocolate can cause tremors, seizures, internal bleeding, and heart attacks. These dangerous side effects are a result of the theobromine found in chocolates.

Walnuts, Pecans, Macadamia, and Pistachio nuts
It is unknown why some nuts are okay while others are not. These nuts can disrupt the digestive system and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even depression. No one wants a sad dog during the holidays!

This one is probably obvious, but let's go over it anyway. Dogs do not have the liver capacity to handle alcohol, making it poisonous very quickly. Be sure you and your guests don't leave drinks sitting on coffee tables or anywhere your dog can get to.

Garlic and onions
Tiny amounts of garlic and onion are in some pet foods for flavoring, which is okay. But large amounts can lead to anemia.

Blue cheese
Dogs love cheese! But to be safe, don't give them blue cheese. When over-ripe, blue cheese contains roquefortine, which is so toxic to dogs that it can kill them.

Bread dough
Just like how yeast expands in the heat, it will expand in your dog's stomach! This expansion can cause bloating, blockage, and an intestinal twist (a life-threatening injury).

Like raw potatoes, tomatoes contain solanine. It is especially present in green, unripe tomatoes.

Next is cats! I never had a cat, but I do love them! So here are some tips for feeding them, too:

Cats can eat:

Turkey is safe for your cats, but sauces, dressings, onions, skins, and herbs can be toxic. Instead, offer them a nutrient-filled slice of plain turkey. The same goes for Ham.

Potatoes have no nutritional value for cats. But if you really want to give your feline friend some mashed potatoes, you can. Just make sure they have no seasonings or herbs.

Cranberries and cranberry sauce are okay if they are not too high in sugar or artificial sweeteners. Cranberries can even get rid of harmful bacteria in the bladder.

Pumpkin can be good for your cat's digestive system because it is high in fiber. But you CANNOT give your cat pumpkin pie because it has too much sugar.

Tomatoes and Peas
Tomatoes and peas are natural sources of vitamins and fiber.

Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are very bad for a cat's kidneys. 

Cats cannot eat:

Animal fat
Meats like duck and goose are okay, but make sure your cats are not eating any parts that contain fat.

Just like with dogs, alcohol can be very toxic to cats. One teaspoon of grain alcohol is enough to cause alcohol toxicity in your cat! There are many alternatives like a small amount of catnip or cat wines.

Onions and Chives
These can lead to anemia. Eating too many onions or chives may cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and a high heart rate.

Caffeine has a long-named ingredient called methylxanthine.  Methylxanthine is a compound that can cause many digestive issues for cats.

I gathered my research from Chewy, Purina, Hills Pet Diet, etc., for the average dog and cat. Your pet could have different medical needs, a dietary restriction, or allergies. Because of this, it is best to consult a veterinarian who knows your pet before you feed them any human foods. You can check out my sources list below!

Happy holidays to all furry friends and their families!


Holiday cat safety: What cats shouldn't eat over the holidays. PDX PET DESIGN. (2019, November 13). Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://pdxpetdesign.com/cat-health/caring-for-cats-during-the-holiday-months-can-they-eat-that/ 

Holiday human foods dogs can & can't eat. Purina. (n.d.). Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.purina.com/articles/dog/nutrition/holiday-human-foods-dogs-can-and-cant-eat

Leeson, J. (2021, November 19). Human Foods Cats Can Eat: A Guide to the Holidays. Rover. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.rover.com/blog/human-foods-cats-can-eat-holidays/ 

Ollila, E. (2021, October 8). Holiday Foods to Avoid Giving Your Dog. Hill's Pet Nutrition. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/nutrition-feeding/holiday-foods-to-avoid-feeding-your-dog

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