6 Holiday Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Dog

Sunday, November 15, 2015 | Dog HealthPet Food


Around the holidays, food is everywhere. And from chowing down on leftover Christmas ham under the table to gobbling up spilled food, dogs enjoy holiday meals almost as much as we do. But be warned – some of it can cause serious health issues for your pooch. So if you want to keep your pet’s holidays merry and bright, make sure to keep them away from these foods:


Everyone has probably heard that chocolate is bad for dogs, but most people don’t know why. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can be fatal to dogs when ingested in high doses. Common symptoms of theobromine poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures and even death. So whether it’s leftover Halloween candy or a Christmas dessert, make sure your dog doesn’t get his or her paws on it. And be even more careful with baking chocolate and cocoa powder – these items contain much higher levels of theobromine and even small amounts may be toxic.


Don’t let those old cartoons fool you – beer is never a good thing for dogs to drink! Just like other foods on our list, alcohol can be detrimental to your dog’s health. While many people think only of wine, beer or spirits, alcohol can actually be found in many desserts and even in store-bought yeast dough. Alcohol in any of these forms can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and, in severe cases, death.

Garlic & Onions

Garlic is bad for vampires and for your dog! All members of the onion family, including chives, garlic and leeks, can damage your dog’s red blood cells. Although it is uncommon for dogs to ingest enough raw onions to be toxic, powdered or dehydrated onions and fried onions can be pretty appealing – and dangerous – for your pooch. Symptoms, which include lethargy, orange/red tinted urine and breathlessness, normally show up 4–5 days after the onions are ingested.

Remember to check all ingredient labels on human foods before letting your pets have a nibble – onions can show up in surprising places.

Grapes & Raisins

Grapes and raisins are a bit of a wild card for dog diets. Dogs’ reactions to grapes and raisins can vary, and some dogs may be completely fine if they get a hold of either. However some dogs that consume grapes or raisins can suffer from a variety of different symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure and possibly death. It’s unclear exactly why grapes and raisins are toxic for dogs, but most experts agree that they should be avoided.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts, a common ingredient in luxurious holiday desserts, are another no-go for your furbaby. The most common symptom after eating the nuts is paralysis or weakness in their back legs. Other symptoms include vomiting and muscle tremors, and although these symptoms generally disappear after 48 hours, in extreme cases, consumption can be fatal.


Your dog’s reaction to the artificial sweetener xylitol is not so sweet! This popular sweetener is found in all sorts of sugar-free treats, such as candy, chocolate, gum, pudding, peanut butter and gelatin desserts. While humans can enjoy xylitol, it can cause a severe blood pressure drop in dogs within 30 minutes. Other side effects of ingesting xylitol include seizures and liver failure.

Getting Help

Keep a close eye on your dogs this holiday season – especially during family mealtime – to ensure that they stay safe and healthy. If you think your dog has ingested any hazardous foods, you can call the free national poison control hotline at 888-222-1222. If your pet has any of the symptoms of serious illness (such as bloody vomit or diarrhea, foaming at the mouth, lethargy, excessive drooling, or they collapse), go to an emergency animal hospital immediately.

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