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Holiday Foods that are Dangerous for Dogs

As you make your list and check it twice, be sure to keep an eye out for these foods that present a hazard to your dog.


December 10, 2019

Let’s face it, the holiday season is an easy time for any of us to overindulge in our favorite goodies.  Like us, our pets often have sensitivities or negative reaction to certain foods. With deliveries of treats, holiday parties and big meals all on the rise in the coming weeks, it’s important to make sure you watch what your dog is consuming.

Holiday Food Hazards   

As you make your list and check it twice, be sure to keep an eye out for these foods that present a hazard to your dog.


  • Chocolate any time of the year is never a good idea for your dog. But there tends to be an abundance of it at the holidays, so this is a top priority to avoid for your dog. Beyond chocolate itself being poisonous, some of the added ingredients can also lead to the trouble. For example, the caffeine in chocolate-covered espresso beans can contain a potentially fatal amount of caffeine. Raisins, in chocolate or on their own even, can lead to kidney failure.

  • Think keeping your chocolate treats wrapped tight will keep your dog from danger? Think again. Dogs have an outstanding sense of smell. Pair that with sharp teeth and the shiny, crinkly paper chocolate may be wrapped in and that’s a temptation too for a puppy of any age to resist. Best to keep chocolate of any sort on a shelf out of your dog’s.

Baked goods, sugared treats and candy

  • If you’re planning to bake bread, keep Spot out of the kitchen. Ingesting unbaked bread dough can result in bloating, gastric-dilatation volvulus (GVD) and even secondary alcohol poisoning. All that from unbaked bread dough? Yes – the yeast in unbaked dough interacts with the warm, moist environment of your dog’s stomach making the yeast rise – hence the bloating; and metabolizes the sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol – causing alcohol poisoning.

  • Another potential source of alcohol poisoning comes from rum-soaked cakes such as fruit or pound cakes. Nibbling these tasty treats might be fun for us humans, but the alcohol can cause a severe drop in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature for your dog (or even your cat!). And these drops may potentially lead to seizures or respiratory failure.

  • For those of you trying to avoid sugar this holiday season – good luck – and be sure your dog does too. Sugarless gum, candy and desserts can sometimes contain a natural sweetener called Xylitol. Xylitol can cause a spike in insulin when ingested by your pup, which can possibly lead to severe low blood sugar (also known as hypoglycemia) and potential liver failure.

Fatty, rich food

  • Rich food is synonymous with the holidays. Avoid feeding your dog from the table – a good rule of thumb throughout the year – or anywhere else he or she comes begging for a nibble. Fattening, rich meats like turkey, ham and roast can result in pancreatitis – an inflammation of the pancreas – causing severe vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Happy and Safe Holiday Wishes

As always, we encourage you to contact your veterinarian or animal poison control center right away if you think your dog has consumed food that could be dangerous to his or her health.

Keeping your pets happy and safe during the holidays can be an extra challenge. Check back for our next post when we cover dog obedience at holiday parties. And visit us anytime at