Holiday Foods and Our Pets

It’s clear I can no longer deny Christmas is around the corner what with all the decorations so lovingly hung and tasty looking foodables in magazines and on blogs everywhere. And because I will begin the annual destruction of the kitchen baking and preparation of treats this week while imaging sugarplum fairies, it prompted me to think about all the sweet treats in particular that will be consumed by the bucket load this month and which ingredients are good and which are not so good for our pups.

But like most things, nothing is totally black and white and some ingredients are grey with controversy. Take for example, garlic. In the past, some vets recommended small amounts for flea control however many others consider it toxic. Like onions, chives and leeks, garlic contains a toxin that could damage a dog’s red blood cells. Cow’s milk can be problematic for the same reason it causes issues for us humans-that being lactose intolerant and could lead to intestinal upset, gas, diarrhea and vomiting. Whether I’m making treats for Sam and Elsa or for the new 4-legged neighbors, all my handmade dog treat recipes are scrutinized for potential naughty and nice ingredients and any of those that fall in the “when in doubt, leave it out” category are removed from my recipe book or suitably modified to remove iffy ingredients.


We all know chocolate and Xylitol (the artificial sweetener in chewing gum and candy)  are at the top of any list unsuitable for dogs and cats. This graphic shows a number of others that we might not realize as we over indulge in seasonal menus. Those on the “no” list  should never be included in your pet’s diet as they are toxic. Note however, this is just a small list that we need to make sure our fur-kids don’t get their paws on but if you have any questions, consult the Pet Poison Helpline for information. For a small fee, they can provide pet owners and veterinary professionals with assistance in treating a potentially poisoned pet and an extensive searchable list of potential poisons. The Pet Poison Helpline is a 24-hour animal poison control service available throughout the US, Canada, and the Caribbean and is not limited to dogs and cats, providing assistance with birds, small mammals and exotic species as well.

So, are you planning on making treats for your 4-legged buddies for Christmas? You might want to keep an eye out for nosey pets scamming for easy pickings around the tree this holiday and keep a copy of this handy graphic along with the poison center phone number (just in case) close by. After all, we want to be able to safely enjoy the holidays, right? Now pass me that tin full of Grandma’s Mac Nut Old Fashioned Fudge, will ya? Oh and if you’re like me, you’ll bury the scales in the back of the closet until after the New Year. No need torturing yourself if your tastebuds are enjoying the seasonal fare.

Live, love, bark! <3

55 thoughts on “Holiday Foods and Our Pets

  1. Thank you for posting this! I think more people need to be educated on animal nutrition. It’s super important to spread information like this 🙂

      1. You’re very welcome! Stop by my page as well! And if you’re on Instagram, my fur babies have their own page…look up nici_and_nala 🙂

  2. Tippy’s favorites are carrots, peanut butter, and pumpkin. I do have a compost pile that she gets into sometimes. I have found that she loves button mushrooms and seems to have no problem with them. Fortunately, I don’t have to throw any out very often, because I love them too.

  3. It’s kinda sad that alcohol even has to be included on the NO list. But I’m sure there are people who offer their dogs (or cats) booze because they’re stupid…

  4. Thanks for the tips and reminders Monika. We don’t “cook” much for the pups but we are beginning to introduce more veggies and fruits into their diets mostly as snacks. Whenever they hear the chopping board – whether it’s veggies and fruit for them or for our dinner – they sit at attention.

  5. Lucky for me, my pack mostly just ignores all people food…except for Arty and yogurt, he REALLY loves yogurt 🙂

  6. Cheese seems to be a pet crowd pleaser…I do give them morsels now and then. I also give them a spoonful of yogurt (the real thing, not those sugar laden things that pass for yogurt) whenever they have an upset intestinal tract. It seems to help. But no holiday treats for them. Just gifts under the tree!

  7. Thank you for this timely post. I keep most of this list from our RSPCA close at hand. However, I do * confess * that I feed Benji small amounts of Cheddar Cheese. He likes it and it does not seem to cause any harm. And yes !! the Sad eyes do get to you…

    1. Same here. My poodle loves cheese and I cannot resist those sad eyes as he patiently sits at attention waiting for a piece of cheese. I’ll share a small bit of a mozzarella cheese stick with him on most days. Thanks for the info. Happy baking….Happy Holidays. 🎄

      1. He doesn’t get a lot but every few days I will have a cheese sandwich and I’ll share it with him. Sometimes I am never quite sure whose lunch this is – his or mine :o)

  8. My Mom has TWO good and bad lists on that big box where she keeps the cheese ‘n stuff. I don’t really like them, because sometimes it means she won’t share even teeny bits of stuff. She also Googles “can dogs eat” for things that aren’t on the list.

    She make home-made sweet potato treats for me — from real live sweet potatoes like the ones that she eats. There is also a brand new company where we live that makes the same thing – sweet potato and nothing else, which are the best kind. They have them at Petey’s, the pet store where the treats that taste good are kept. They’ll even mail them, if you live too far away.

    But her friend sent her a really pretty pot full of dirt with some lumps in it for her birthday. She just moved it to a whole other window when she read this – where I can’t even SNIFF it!
    Woof! Tink

              1. So glad to have met you. Mom did some therapy with the ASPCA and a bunch of friends she rounded up when she lived in that huge city in New York.

                She says maybe when I’m older, because right now she has to work a bunch to pay some bills and stuff.

                I’m glad she works at home so I can keep her company and make sure she takes snuggle breaks. I have a special bed on a special chair right next to our computer (I’m little so I can’t see what she’s doing from the floor).
                xx, Tink

  9. Good exhaustive list, Monika. And remember that poinsettias are poisonous to dogs also. (Not that they are ever purposely fed to them…)

    1. That’s right, Amy. There’s a whole slew of howliday plants that are toxic including holly, lilies, mistletoe, azaleas, English Ivy, Amaryllis, cyclamen, and yew, just to name some of them. Yikes!

  10. Great advice! I use the ASPCA’s lists as a quick reference ( I learned my lesson nine years ago … I got an azalea as a housewarming present … it was literally on my front porch when the moving truck (and I) pulled up. With all the literal moving, I totally forgot about it … until the next morning, when all that was left was the pot and a pile of dirt on the floor. I didn’t realize until a couple years later that they are toxic for cats … and we got lucky because Bear didn’t get sick. I imagine the holidays are another time when things just move too quickly and we might be less than vigilant about what comes in the house.

    1. Plants this time of year can be very problematic for both cats and dogs. And I’m not just talking about poinsiettas…Amaryllis, lilies, mistletoe and holly are super toxic! You’re right, the ASPCA is a great resource for info-thanks for sharing! Glad your Bear Cat suffered no ill effects. Azaleas can be deadly for both cats and dogs!

  11. Good info there Monika. I would like to stress that peanut butter (the love of so many dogs) is now also getting the Xylitol treatment so be very careful. The only peanut butter we have found suitable for Ray is an organic product. Not surprisingly it is priced a little higher… but he’s worth it!

      1. I got a bit of flack from people when I posted a picture of my dogs licking a peanut butter jar until I mentioned that I only use natural stuff. On a side note: Costco. That’s all I’m going to say (heehee)

Feel free to bark your thoughts...but no growling please.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.