What to Feed Your Dog for Holiday Meals and What to Avoid: Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year

man in white dress shirt sitting on chair feeding a dog

Thanksgiving and Christmas are almost here, which means loads of dinners and delicious food. While feasting on your overloaded dinner menus, you may find your dog sniffing or trying to get a handful of the heavenly holiday food you are eating. And you may want to offer a nibble, so here are what foods you can feed to your pup and what to avoid.

Foods You Can Feed to Your Dog

Your dog deserves a serving of delicious food on Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year. However, you must be aware of what you can feed your dog, as some human foods are toxic for dogs. Always consult your veterinarian when giving human food to your dog. Following are the foods you can give to your dog. 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a safe and healthy option for your dogs to feast on as they are rich in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and iron. It also contains fiber in high quantities, which helps in digestion. When you offer your pup sweet potatoes, ensure they don’t have added ingredients, such as marshmallows, brown sugar, or maple syrup. Better! You can give it as a dehydrated sweet potato chew.  

Turkey Meat

If you are worried about offering turkey to your dog, here is the good news! You can give turkey meat to your dog for holiday meals. However, make sure it is properly cooked and not seasoned. You must avoid turkey bones, skin, and added oils or fats because they can cause pancreatitis, vomiting, and diarrhea. Bite-sized pieces of plain turkey are safe for your dog to consume if they don’t eat it often. 


Apples are also a healthy holiday treat as they are a great source of vitamins A and C and fiber. While giving raw or baked apples to your dog, cut them into small pieces without stems, core, or seeds because these can be toxic. Also, make sure you offer apples on their own and not as apple pie or in salads.

Green Beans 

Green beans can be a great Thanksgiving/Christmas treat for the dog as it is loaded with plant fiber, vitamins C and K, and manganese. If you offer your pup green beans this holiday season, remember to serve them plain without added ingredients, such as butter or salt. 

Plain Peas

You can give plain peas to your dog as a Thanksgiving/ Christmas treat but in moderate quantity. Like creamy mashed potatoes, creamed peas are also hazardous for your pup. Fatty foods or casseroles in a dog’s diet may increase the chances of pancreatitis or other digestive problems.


Pumpkin is a healthy treat for dogs because it is rich in fiber and helps with mild constipation and diarrhea. For this reason, veterinarians also recommend adding pumpkin to your dog’s diet, but in moderation.


You can give corn to your pup in small amounts. It is a healthy treat rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. When offering corn to your dog, ensure it is unseasoned, cooked, and pulled out of the cob (to keep your pup safe from choking hazards). Unsalted canned corn is also safe for your dog.

Foods to Avoid

Dogs typically love to feast just as much as we do, and they may want to get a nibble of some of the delicious foods this holiday season. You will have to be vigilant of what your dog can have for their meals. To keep your pup safe and save yourself an emergency visit to the veterinarian, avoid offering your dog the following foods.  

Turkey Bones, Skin, and Gravy

When offering turkey meat to your pup, you must avoid turkey bones, skins, and gravy because they are toxic to dogs. Bones can be a choking hazard, whereas skins and gravy are full of fats. Foods higher in fat content can cause diarrhea and pancreatitis in dogs. 

Mashed Potatoes

You can offer your pup cooked potato without oil, butter, or seasoning. However, mashed potatoes, delicious for you, are toxic to your dog because it consists of butter and spices. 


Stuffing, full of herbs, butter, onions, garlic, and spices makes for a problematic food for your dog’s digestive system. You must avoid offering stuffing as a holiday treat to your pup. 


Alcohol in any form is a no-no for your dog. You may not offer a glass of wine, however, other things may contain alcohol. Alcohol is highly toxic for your dog and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, difficulty breathing, seizures, coma, and even death. 

Raisins and Grapes

Raisins and grapes are toxic for your dog as they can cause kidney failure and can even be fatal. And so, avoid giving grapes and raisins to your dog as a Thanksgiving/Christmas treat. 

Onion and Garlic

Dogs should not have seasoned foods because they have onion and garlic, which are allium species of vegetables and can be toxic to dogs. Consuming them can cause liver damage and hemolytic anemia (a breakdown of the red blood cells). If your dog ingests any of them or both, you may see diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, and discolored urine. 

Yeast Dough

You can offer fully baked bread to dogs, but yeast dough can cause massive amounts of gas in the intestinal tract. While this is painful for your dog in some cases, it can lead to a fatal condition called gastric bloat and torsion. 

Chocolate and Caffeine

Chocolate, coffee, and anything that contains caffeine is highly toxic to your dog as these products have substances known as methylxanthines. They can cause vomiting, hyperactivity, diarrhea, cardiac changes, seizures, tremors, and even death. 

It has been suggested that the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is for your pup. You must avoid giving them anything with caffeine in it at all costs. 


Nutmeg is a common spice used for holiday dinners; though delicious for you, it is toxic for your canine friend. It is yet to find what makes it toxic and how much of it is poisonous for pups. However, it is hallucinogenic and may cause vomiting, tremors, seizures, and even death. Remember to keep nutmeg far away from your dog.


Xylitol is a sugar substitute, typically used in candies, chewing gums, and mints to make them flavorful for humans. However, xylitol in dogs can drastically decrease their blood sugar and cause acute liver failure. 

Even a small amount of xylitol is toxic for dogs. The signs can be seen in about 15 minutes, which include seizures, not being able to stand, or going into a coma. 


Sharing your holiday meals with your pup can be a great way to show them love. However, it is essential to understand that not all human foods are safe for dogs. Also, consult your veterinarian before giving any food to your pup. 


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