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ZOEY 3333aaMerry Christmas!

If you have family members, two and four-legged, joining your feast, it is important to know who can eat what. Human food and dogs do not get along that great, especially the flavorful, seasoned dishes served during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Diarrhea in dogs is extremely common as a result of overfeeding them rich foods. Too much of a good thing can result in pancreatitis, a painful inflammatory condition that is expensive to treat and can have lifelong effects on your pet.

It does not mean you have to exclude your pets from the festivities, but it does mean you need to watch what they eat – and what you (and other guests) feed them.  Whip up some Christmas-themed homemade dog treats to distract your dog from the main meal, or take him for a pre-dinner walk around the block to tire him out.

Certain Christmas foods are safe and even healthy for dogs! However, only the pure, raw, unseasoned forms of these foods are acceptable to give to pets. These Christmas foods are dog-friendly, but they should still be served only in moderation.

Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes

Typically served baked with marshmallows or in sweet potato pie, this seasonal superfood is a hit with dogs. Orange sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and many other much-needed nutrients.  Feed your pup raw or dried pieces of sweet potato, not the canned mix. Never give your dog marshmallows, which contain xylitol – an artificial sweetener dangerous to pets – as well as large amounts of sugar.



The main course, Christmas turkey, is a dog’s ultimate dream dish. Cooked turkey is safe for both cats and dogs, but it must be unseasoned. Turkey bones are also off-limits for dogs, as they can easily crunch and splinter, causing an intestinal obstruction or internal bleeding. The turkey’s skin is also out of bounds for dogs, as its rich flavor can cause gastrointestinal upset. Feeding too much fatty meat can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, an inflammatory disease of the pancreas.

Green Beans
green beans

Green beans are a Christmas dinner casserole staple for some families, but dogs prefer these snappy veggies raw. High in fiber and vitamins C and K, toss your pup a handful before you add Grandma’s secret seasoning. Mushrooms and onions – common casserole additions – are toxic to dogs, so avoid these vegetables.



Another orange-hued veggie, carrots, are also loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins and fiber. Raw carrots are a dog’s best friend thanks to their satisfying crunch, but cooked (unseasoned) carrots are also a tasty treat. This root vegetable is high in antioxidants too, beneficial for pets with cancer.



Fall is full of orange, including its signature gourd. Pumpkins are perfect for pets, raw or cooked, but always use fresh, pure pumpkin – not your leftover Jack-O-Lantern or canned pie filling! Full of fiber, pumpkin flesh and seeds add texture to homemade dog treats. Remember to avoid any sugar or spice when feeding pumpkin to pets.

Rolls and Bread

rolls and bread

Bread and rolls are another Christmas table staple. Chock full of carbs, there’s really no nutritional benefit to feeding your dog bread or rolls. A minute amount of fiber can be found in whole grain bread and dinner rolls, but who’s eating that on Christmas?! Raw dough can be deadly for dogs – never give your pet anything containing yeast, which “rises” in the heat of a dog’s stomach.


sliced golden apple

There’s nothing more American than apple pie, a Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition. Slip your pup some sliced apples before you sweeten the pie filling! For an easy apple dog treat recipe, freeze cubed apples and plain yogurt in an ice cube tray. Again, leave out the sugar or cinnamon when feeding your dog apples.

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Edited by:  Jan Mitchell