The Naughty List: 13 Holiday Foods Bad for Dogs

The Naughty List: 13 Holiday Foods Bad for Dogs

Holiday time is family time, and that includes our lovable furry family members! However, as pet parents, it's crucial to know which holiday foods are safe to share with our pets and which are a no-go.

Before spoiling your pup make sure you know what's healthy and what's bad for dogs to ensure they have the healthiest and happiest 'howlidays' ever.

Let's uncover 13 common, as well as 10 lesser known holiday foods that can be bad for dogs. ⚠

  1. Rich, Fatty Foods: Holiday meals often include rich and fatty foods; while delectable to humans, they could lead to pancreatitis in dogs if consumed in excess.
  2. Bones: Keep the bones from that holiday ham or turkey out of your pet's reach. Bones can splinter and cause blockages or tears in your dog's digestive tract when cooked.
  3. Onions and Garlic: Often foundational elements in our holiday recipes, onions, and garlic in all forms can cause anemia in dogs, damaging their red blood cells.
  4. Chocolate: Here's a familiar one, but did you know it’s the theobromine in chocolate that's harmful for dogs? This compound can lead to toxicity and, in high concentrations, prove fatal.
  5. Alcohol: Keep holiday spirits away from pets as even a small amount of alcohol can lead to serious health issues, including significant drops in blood pressure, body temperature, and blood sugar.
  6. Raisins and Grapes: Sugary sweet treats containing raisins or grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs.
  7. Nuts: Not all nuts are bad, but macadamia nuts can be particularly toxic to dogs, causing vomiting, muscle weakness, tremors, and hyperthermia.
  8. Avocados: While a popular item for humans, avocados contain a toxin called persin, which can upset your dog's stomach and lead to fluid accumulation in their chest and, in severe cases, breathing difficulties.
  9. Caffeine: Drinks and foods that contain caffeine, or even the substance by itself, can be life-threatening for dogs, leading to heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and rapid breathing.
  10. Sugar-free Treats: Sugar-free items often contain xylitol, which is safe for humans but extremely toxic for dogs. Xylitol ingestion has severe effects, including hypoglycemia and liver failure.
  11. Holiday Baked Goods: Though delicious to us, holiday baked goods like bread dough and fruitcakes are high in sugar and potentially dangerous fruits, like raisins, which are toxic to dogs.
  12. Dairy Products: Whether it's eggnog or ice cream, dairy products can cause digestive troubles in dogs, as many dogs are lactose intolerant and cannot efficiently metabolize lactose.
  13. Salty Snacks: Too much salt, like in potato chips and pretzels, can lead to excessive thirst and urination in dogs, and in severe cases, sodium ion poisoning, which can be fatal.


As conscientious pet parents, while we may already have a good understanding of the common foods to keep our pets off during feasts, some hidden culprits could still be harming our furry friends. These are some lesser known foods and ingredients that can turn your happy 'howlidays' into a doggie disaster.

  1. Cooking Dough and Batter: Uncooked bread dough can rise in your dog's stomach, causing severe discomfort, bloating, and even alcohol poisoning due to the yeast.
  2. Mushrooms: Certain types of mushrooms can be toxic to dogs, leading to vomiting, seizures, and even organ failure in severe cases.
  3. Citrus Fruits: While a small amount is usually harmless, large quantities of citrus fruits can upset a dog's stomach.
  4. Fruit Seeds and Pits: Apple seeds, cherry pits, and peach pits, amongst others, can cause intestinal blockage. Some also contain cyanide, harmful to your pet.
  5. Popcorn: Too much popcorn can lead to elevated sodium levels in dogs, especially if it's buttered or salted.
  6. Chives: Similar to onions and garlic, chives contain harmful substances that can damage your dog's red blood cells.
  7. Marinades and Sauces: These may contain multiple ingredients harmful to dogs, like garlic, onion, sugar, and spices.
  8. Mustard Seeds: These seeds, often found in barbecue sauces and marinades, can cause severe stomach upset in dogs.
  9. Cooked Bone Marrow: While dogs love bones, cooked bone marrow can lead to diarrhea and upset stomach.


While we're all eager for our fur babies to partake in the holiday cheer, it's essential to remember what's celebratory for us can be 'ruff' for our pups.

For pet parents seeking healthy, tasty alternatives, consider dog-friendly treats from trusted brands, like Lazy Dog Cookie, Co. Their Happy Howlidays Pup-PIE®, packed with pet-safe ingredients like oats, pureed pumpkin, peanut butter and aromatic cinnamon and ginger, ensures our pets can join in the feast healthily!

The bottom line is there are bountiful alternatives that tick all the boxes — they're fun, festive, and safe. So here's to happy, healthy 'howlidays' for the whole family, including our furry friends. When in doubt about what could be bad for dogs, always consult trusted resources or your vet for guidance. Stay safe, and let the festivities begin!

To all pet parents out there: Happy Pawlidays!

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