Foods that are bad for dogs

The holidays always bring up a question that I find extremely important. Clients ask “Please tell me the foods that are bad for dogs.” It’s critical for dog owners to know the foods that are bad for dogs because it’s very easy to accidentally make your dog sick during the holiday season!

Most dog owners know at least some of the foods that are bad for dogs. Almost everyone is aware that chocolate can be fatal for dogs. But did you know salt is one of the foods that are bad for dogs? Probably not!


These are some common holiday foods that are bad for dogs.

Chocolate - Both milk and dark chocolate contain ingredients known as theobromine and theophylline. Both of which can be fatal for dogs.

Alcohol – Sometimes people like to “indulge” their dogs with a little holiday “spirits” but liver failure is a common cause of death for dogs around the holidays. Their smaller size means that even a little alcohol can be fatal.

Nuts – Pancreatitis is an extremely painful and often fatal condition. The high fat content of nuts can cause this in your dog. Keep nuts safely out of reach.

Grapes and Raisins – Sudden kidney failure in dogs is thought to be the result of the dog ingesting grapes and raisins. Although the exact toxin is unknown the link seems very evident. Keep these fruits away from your dog!

Nutmeg – A very small amount of this spice is unlikely to be a problem. But his delicious (to us) can cause seizures, tremors and a variety of complications related to the central nervous system. While plain pumpkin and sweet potatoes are beneficial for dogs do not allow your dog to partake of items flavored with nutmeg!

Poultry bits

Whether you enjoy turkey,duck or some other poultry at the holidays it must be remembered that most of these delicious birds are foods that are bad for dogs!

Poultry Bones – Cooked bones are dehydrated bones. They are brittle and can splinter. The sharp splinters and pierce the throat, stomach, and intestines of the dog. Infections and even peritonitis can result from these punctures. This could lead to major veterinary expenses for surgery or even the death of your beloved pet. Among the foods that are bad for dogs I consider cooked bones to be one of the worst! Keep the bones from your holiday turkey (chicken and duck, too) far away from the dog.

Poultry skin is another delicacy your dog should not eat. The fat content is quite high. Consequently, fatty foods can cause kidney problems over time.

Kitchen twine is another thing that is bad for dogs. Although certainly not food the twine has the flavors and fats from the poultry. In addition to the risks of those things, the twine can also be swallowed and cause choking or internal issues.



Cinnamon - Like nutmeg, a small amount of cinnamon in food is extremely unlikely to cause problems, but cinnamon essential oil, which is a common ingredient in holiday items like candles, soaps, wreaths and ornaments can be an issue. Although technically not among the foods that are bad for dogs cinnamon oil is a really bad substance. Cinnamon oil can cause blisters in the mouth, vomiting, and diarrhea. Dog owners should be careful with cinnamon powder as well. “Dogs can inhale the spice if they chew into a container of it. The powder is very irritating to the lungs and can cause breathing problems. Avoid decorations infused with cinnamon essential oil and keep cinnamon containers out of reach.


Dogs lack the lack of the enzyme, lactase, which is the enzyme used by the body to break down lactose. That’s why dairy products have the tendency to cause diarrhea and other digestive issues in dogs. Dairy products are not toxic to dogs but should be restricted or limited to reduce complications.


Onions and garlic are among the aromatics found in a great many holiday savory dishes. Certainly small amounts are unlikely to cause problems but a dog ingesting an entire clove of garlic or an onion is bad. Be sure to keep onions and garlic locker away from the dog’s reach when not in use and do not allow dogs near these items while you’re cooking.


Salt – Everyday table salt can be very dangerous to dogs. Again it’s a matter of quantity but simple table salt can be dangerous to dogs. If a dog ingest large amounts of salt, salt water or dough made from salt it can develop dangerous electrolyte abnormalities.

Xylitol - Xylitol is a sugar substitute that’s used in sugar-free products such as chewing gum, candy, peanut butter, energy bars and other foods. It can be present in baked goods and diabetics often use it. It’s high on my list of foods that are bad for dogs because it’s particularly toxic substance for dogs. It can cause low blood sugar and liver toxicity. Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning include weakness, seizures and vomiting. To prevent your dog from being poisoned you must inspect the labels of all foods. Some peanut butters now contain this highly toxic (to dogs) substance. Never assume a product is safe!

Food is an important part of our celebrations,especially during the holidays. It's not difficult to keep your dog safe from foods that are bad for dogs. And it's definitely worth the effort!

Some toys and treats can be bad

In additions to foods from our tables that are bad for dogs, there are some treats and toys you should avoid.

We have a guide to some of the toys and treats you should not give your dog.

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