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During the festive season, our pets often beg for a bite of our holiday meals. In fact, veterinarians see a spike in emergency visits during the holidays because of food-related illnesses in pets.

Our blog will guide you on why sharing your feast with Fido or Fluffy can be harmful, and how to keep them safe and healthy while you celebrate. Keep reading to protect your furry friend!

The Dangers of Feeding Your Pet Table Scraps

Feeding your pet table scraps during the holidays can increase their risk of toxicity, potential digestive issues, and pancreatitis. It’s important to be aware of the dangers associated with sharing human food with your pets.

Increased risk of toxicity

Many holiday foods contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets. Chocolate, for example, can cause severe health problems and even be fatal to dogs due to a compound called theobromine.

Even small amounts of this sweet treat can lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid heart rate in your furry friend. Other common toxic items include grapes and raisins which may seem harmless but can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Sharing your festive meal could unknowingly put your pet at risk for toxicity. Certain foods we enjoy without issue are hazardous for our four-legged companions—their bodies simply cannot process them safely.

Remembering what’s safe and what’s toxic is crucial during the holidays; ensure you keep harmful food out of their reach. Next up, let’s discuss potential digestive issues that these scraps could provoke in your beloved pet.

Potential for digestive issues

Feeding table scraps to your pet during the holidays can lead to potential digestive issues. Foods high in fat, like turkey skin or gravy, and rich dishes can cause upset stomachs, vomiting, and diarrhea in pets.

Additionally, some holiday foods may contain ingredients that are difficult for pets to digest, such as onions and garlic. It’s essential to be mindful of what you’re feeding your pet as digestive issues can lead to discomfort and health problems.

Moreover, giving your pet table scraps increases their risk of developing pancreatitis — a painful inflammation of the pancreas that can arise from consuming fatty foods not typical in their regular diet.

Increased risk of pancreatitis

Feeding your pet table scraps during the holidays can lead to an increased risk of pancreatitis. Fatty foods like turkey skin, gravy, and butter-laden side dishes may trigger inflammation of the pancreas in dogs, causing pain, vomiting, and potentially life-threatening complications.

It’s essential to stick to your pet’s regular diet and avoid sharing rich holiday treats to keep them healthy and happy throughout the festive season.

Avoiding high-fat table scraps is vital for preventing pancreatitis in pets. Instead, offer them safe holiday foods such as lean meats or vegetables approved by a veterinarian.

Foods to Avoid Giving Your Pet

Feeding your pet certain foods can be dangerous during the holidays, including grapes and raisins, chocolate, xylitol, onions, and bones. These items can cause toxicity or digestive issues in pets.

Grapes and raisins

Grapes and raisins are extremely toxic to dogs, causing kidney failure even in small amounts. Pet owners should be aware that these fruits can be hidden in various dishes during the holidays, such as fruitcakes or salads.

Therefore, it’s crucial to keep all grape and raisin-containing foods away from pets at all times to prevent any accidental ingestion and potential harm.

If a pet ingests grapes or raisins, immediate veterinary attention is necessary to minimize the risk of kidney damage. Symptoms of toxicity may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased urination.


As harmful as grapes and raisins are for pets, chocolate can be equally dangerous. This sweet treat contains theobromine, a stimulant that dogs metabolize more slowly than humans do.

This means that even a small amount of chocolate can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and potentially fatal complications in dogs.

Most pet owners are aware of the dangers posed by feeding their furry friends table scraps during the holidays; however, many may not realize just how toxic this common holiday ingredient can be for pets.


Xylitol, a sugar substitute often found in candies, gum, and baked goods, can be extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested, it can cause a rapid release of insulin in your pet’s body, leading to a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels.

This condition known as hypoglycemia can result in symptoms like vomiting, weakness, seizures, and even liver failure. Always be vigilant about keeping xylitol-containing products out of reach from your furry friends to prevent any accidental ingestion that could lead to severe health complications.


Onions are extremely toxic to pets, including dogs and cats. They contain compounds that can cause damage to your pet’s red blood cells, leading to a life-threatening condition known as hemolytic anemia.

Even in small amounts, onions can have severe effects on your pet’s health. Symptoms of onion toxicity include weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and trouble breathing. It is crucial to ensure that your pet does not have access to any food containing onions or onion powder.

Moving on from the dangers of onions, it’s important for pet owners to be aware of other foods that pose similar risks to their furry friends’ well-being. Let’s take a closer look at “Bones” as another potential hazard when sharing human food with pets.


When it comes to bones, pet owners should be aware that giving them to your pets can pose serious risks. Bones can splinter and cause choking or damage to the digestive system of your pet.

Additionally, bones can also lead to broken teeth in dogs. It’s vital for pet owners to understand that certain types of bones, especially cooked ones, can easily splinter into sharp pieces that could cause severe harm to their pets’ intestines.

Feeding bones to your pets is not recommended as it may result in serious health complications. Pet owners should remain cautious about providing any type of bone as a treat or snack, particularly during the holiday season when there are more opportunities for table scraps and leftover food items within reach of their pets.

Safe Holiday Foods for Your Pet

Give your pet a special treat by offering them some safe holiday foods such as turkey, cranberries, pumpkin, green beans, sweet potatoes, and carrots. These options are not only delicious but also healthy for your furry friends to enjoy during the festive season.


When preparing turkey for your holiday festivities, it’s crucial to resist the urge to share this delicious meat with your pets. While turkey itself is safe for dogs in moderation, it’s important to only give them cooked, boneless, and unseasoned turkey.

Avoid feeding them any skin or fatty parts of the meat, as these can cause digestive issues and potentially lead to pancreatitis. Additionally, be sure to remove all bones before sharing any turkey with your furry friend.

Now let’s explore another pet-friendly holiday food option – cranberries!


Cranberries are a safe and healthy holiday food option for your pet. These tart berries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that can benefit your furry friend’s overall health.

Additionally, cranberries have been shown to support urinary tract health in pets, helping to prevent urinary infections and promoting a well-functioning bladder. You can offer fresh or dried cranberries as an occasional treat, but be sure to avoid sugary cranberry sauce or any products containing artificial sweeteners.

Cranberries are a nutritious addition to your pet’s diet, offering potential health benefits while adding variety to their meals. Introduce small amounts of cranberries into their diet gradually, watching for any signs of digestive upset or allergies.


When it comes to safe holiday foods for your pet, pumpkin is a great choice. Not only is it delicious and nutritious, but it also offers health benefits for your furry friend. Pumpkin is rich in fiber and can help with digestive issues in pets.

It also contains vitamins A, C, and E, as well as potassium, which are all essential for a healthy pet diet.

Including pumpkin in your pet’s holiday meals can be a great way to add some variety while keeping their digestion on track. You can serve them plain cooked or canned pumpkin (not pie filling), or even mix it into their regular food to give them an extra nutritional boost.

Green beans

Green beans are a safe and healthy option for your pet during the holidays. They are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a great addition to your pet’s diet. Green beans also provide essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K, as well as manganese.

These nutrients can support your pet’s overall health and digestion while keeping their weight in check.

Feeding your pet small amounts of plain green beans can be an excellent way to sneak in some extra nutrition without overloading them with rich holiday foods. Just make sure to avoid adding any seasonings or sauces that could upset their stomach.

To ensure the safety of green bean consumption for pets, it is best to serve them steamed or boiled without any added salt or butter.

Sweet potatoes

While green beans are a great choice for your pet during the holidays, sweet potatoes are another safe and healthy option. Rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, sweet potatoes can be a nutritious addition to your pet’s diet.

Whether boiled, baked, or mashed, plain sweet potatoes make a delicious treat that is gentle on your pet’s digestive system and offers essential nutrients.

Furthermore, opting for sweet potatoes over other table scraps reduces the risk of exposing your pet to harmful ingredients commonly found in human food. Adding small amounts of cooked sweet potato to your pet’s meals can provide them with extra nutrition without the risk of toxic effects associated with many other holiday foods.


Carrots are a safe and healthy option for your pet during the holidays. They can be served either raw or cooked, providing a crunchy texture that can help keep your pet’s teeth clean.

Carrots are low in calories and high in fiber, making them an excellent snack to promote good digestion and prevent obesity in pets. Additionally, carrots contain beta-carotene, which is beneficial for your pet’s vision and immune system.

When feeding carrots to your pet, make sure they are cut into small, bite-sized pieces to prevent choking hazards.

Including carrots in your pet’s holiday diet offers nutritional benefits without the risks associated with many human foods. Feeding carrot slices as treats can also encourage positive behavior when training your furry friend.

Pet-Friendly Holiday Decorating Tips

Keep harmful items out of reach, use pet-safe alternatives, and avoid toxic decorations to ensure a safe and happy holiday season for your furry friends. Read on to learn more about keeping your pets healthy during the holidays!

Avoiding toxic decorations

Ensure your holiday decorations are pet-friendly by avoiding toxic items that could harm your furry friend. Opt for artificial plants instead of mistletoe and holly, as these can be poisonous to pets if ingested.

Be mindful of where you place candles and potpourri to prevent accidental ingestion or burns. Choose pet-safe ornaments and decorations, steering clear of small items that could pose a choking hazard for your pet.

By taking these precautions, you can create a festive and safe environment for your beloved companion throughout the holiday season.

Keeping harmful items out of reach

Pet-proofing your home during the holidays is essential for keeping harmful items out of reach from your furry friends. Secure cabinets and use childproof latches to prevent access to toxic foods like chocolate, grapes, onions, and xylitol-containing products.

Keep trash cans sealed and dispose of bones properly to avoid any potential choking hazards or digestive issues for your pets.

It’s also important to store holiday decorations and plants safely; many traditional festive items such as mistletoe, holly berries, poinsettias, and tinsel can be toxic if ingested by pets.

Consider using pet-friendly alternatives when decorating so that your furry companions stay safe while enjoying the holiday season with you.

Using pet-safe alternatives.

Keep your holiday decorations pet-friendly by choosing alternatives that are safe for your furry friends. Opt for non-toxic plants, like spider plants or Boston ferns, instead of mistletoe or holly.

You can also use battery-operated candles to avoid the risk of burns or fires from traditional candles. When it comes to ornaments, steer clear of tinsel and fragile glass decorations; instead, consider using sturdy, pet-safe options made of wood or plastic.

Consider these pet-safe alternatives not only during the holidays but all year round to keep your furry companions healthy and happy.


Feeding your pet table scraps during the holidays poses serious health risks. Toxicity, digestive issues, and pancreatitis are just a few of the dangers. However, by avoiding harmful foods and sticking to safe holiday options for pets, you can ensure your furry friend stays happy and healthy throughout the festive season.

Remember to also take precautions with holiday decorations to keep your pets safe from potential hazards.


1. What are the risks of giving my pet table scraps during holidays?

Feeding your pet table scraps can lead to obesity, pancreatitis, and other digestion problems due to harmful human foods that pets shouldn’t eat.

2. Can holiday foods be toxic for dogs?

Yes, many holiday foods contain ingredients like chocolate and garlic that are toxic to dogs and can cause serious health hazards.

3. Why is it dangerous for pets to eat fatty table scraps?

Fatty table scraps can trigger pancreatitis in dogs – a painful condition that inflames their pancreas, creating major health risks.

4. Are there any safe holiday foods I can share with my pet?

Most vets recommend sticking to regular pet nutrition because even seemingly safe human food might have hidden dangers for your pet’s digestive system.

5. How does feeding my dog table scraps affect their health long term?

Regularly giving dogs human food increases the likelihood of obesity and chronic diseases related to poor nutrition and harmful effects from inappropriate diets.

6. What should I do if my pet eats something they shouldn't over the holidays?

If your pet eats dangerous food or shows signs of distress after consuming table scraps, contact a vet immediately for advice on potential risks and safety concerns.

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