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Christmas foods you can safely share with your dog and the ones you shouldn’t

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for food! From peppermint everything to all kinds of mouthwatering seasonal recipes, there’s surely no shortage of delicious Christmas foods. Here’s where it gets complicated, though: these recipes aren’t necessarily safe for everyone in your family. Only some human foods are safe for dogs.

Since canines have their own dietary needs and preferences, there are many festive treats they should stay away from. A lot of these are commonly known no-no’s for dogs, but a few may surprise you. We’ll make sure to cover popular holiday snacks, main courses, and even a few sweet treats, though a quick online search will help you learn about any ingredients we might have missed. Good luck!

Can dogs eat Christmas foods?

Just like any food-centered holiday, Christmas is a tempting time to slip your pet something off the table. You should be careful though because there are many human foods that aren’t safe for your furry friend to enjoy – no matter how much they may want to.

If you find yourself asking questions like “Can dogs eat turkey?” you might want to do some quick research before tossing your beloved pet a snack. Lots of foods like turkey are safe for pups, but they need to be prepared in a specific way. Here are some of those foods:

A Basset Hound wearing a Christmas headband takes a treat while baking in the kitchen

Christmas foods your dog can eat

Luckily, there are several ingredients your pup can indulge on, so you don’t have to be human food-free this holiday season. Here are some of the holiday foods with the green light:

Turkey

As you may have found out over Thanksgiving, turkey can be both safe and delicious for dogs. In fact, you may even see it as a protein source in many dog foods, though you can treat it a bit differently when preparing it from home.

Make sure you don’t feed your pup any turkey that’s been cooked or coated with herbs, spices, garlic, or onion. Keep it plain, please!

Chestnuts

Roasting over an open fire, anyone? These nuts are totally safe for your furry friend to enjoy in small quantities, as they’re non-toxic to animals, according to the ASPCA. You should consider chopping up this snack before serving it to your pet, as its largest danger is choking.

Cranberries

This berry is stuffed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and even urinary support for both humans and dogs. Luckily, it’s safe for canines, too, as long as it’s not combined with sugar, artificial sweetener, or any spices. Even cranberry sauce may be OK – just look at the ingredients!

Boiled or baked potatoes

Potatoes are another ingredient that needs to be prepared correctly to be safe and healthy for dogs. Boiled or baked potatoes are just fine to share with your pup, but you may want to hold off on mashed potatoes. This yummy side dish is not toxic to dogs but can cause stomach upset with dairy products and other add-ins.

Vegetables

For the most part, plain veggies are a safe snack for your fur baby. They can be raw, cooked, or even chopped for easier eating, though you’ll want to ensure that they’re plain. As much as you like your vegetables with a little seasoning, your dog’s body will not.

A small dog wearing reindeer antlers takes a treat from someone's hand

Christmas foods your dog cannot eat

Although you can share a lot with your furry friend this holiday, there are also many foods you shouldn’t give to your pup, including:

Chocolate

This one may go without saying, as many pet parents already know about the dangers of chocolate, but this treat can be toxic or even deadly to canines. Purina notes that theobromine, a chemical found in chocolate, causes convulsions, tremors, or even heart problems in dogs.

Peppermint

This fresh-tasting herb may grace nearly every dessert during the holidays, but it should not be on your pup’s plate. The plant itself is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses – but that means more for you!

Gravy

Gravy might seem like something your dog would enjoy – and it probably is – but its excess fat, salt, and add-ins may upset their stomach or lead to negative health effects, according to Purina. Luckily, there are many gravy-flavored treats for dogs available at popular pet stores.

Stuffing

As delicious as it is, stuffing is full of many ingredients that dogs shouldn’t have, including onions, spices, and herbs. Besides, feeding your pup protein, like turkey, will be a healthier use of extra treats!

Macadamia nuts and walnuts

Although these nuts make excellent gifts around Christmas, they should not be given to your four-legged friend. Both macadamia nuts and walnuts contain a toxin that can cause vomiting, loss of coordination, hyperthermia, and even depression; though the American Kennel Club notes that scientists haven’t identified the exact toxin.

Fruitcake

Although this holiday treat gets a bad rap, your pup may still want a bite. However, the sugar, spices, and dried fruit in the cake can be extremely toxic. Remember – grapes, raisins, and currants are some of the top no-no’s for canines.

When in doubt, skip the table scraps

Deep breath! It may sound like a lot, but it just takes a watchful eye to keep your dog safe during the holidays. Keep your plates away from the edge of the table, and make sure everyone knows what they can and can’t feed your pup. And don’t forget to enjoy your Christmas!

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