Health & Wellbeing

Holiday Foods For Your Dog: The Naughty & Nice Lists

Want to keep your favourite doggo safe and happy Christmas? You need our Naughty & Nice checklist of dog friendly foods for the holidays.

Copy: Sarah Dickerson

Photography: Jessica Trinh Photography, Chic Sprinkles Design & Photography, & Missy Moo Studios

Mmmmm… the holidays. There are so many fun parties and festive happenings that take place in the beautiful month of December. Besides spending time with loved ones, the one thing we look forward to the most is the food. Am I right? You know it’s true, and I am pretty sure dogs all over the world get pretty jazzed about it too.

Picture it, you’re surrounded by delicious aromas and beautifully garnished foods (and maybe even one of these, all families have at least one.). You look down to the right and see the pupster giving you those eyes. That look you cannot resist. You think, awwww but it’s Christmas, and lovingly share your food filled plate. Cut to an hour or two later, and you’re more than likely consoling fido, who isn’t feeling that great.

But how can you be sure which foods are okay to sneak a few bites, and which ones you should avoid giving your dog this holiday?

No need to worry – we have pulled together a naughty and a nice list guide just for you. Now you can take on the holidays with confidence, knowing both you and your dog will enjoy the festivities.

Happy eating!

Want to whip up some healthy and festive dog treat recipes for your pup? Check out these 5 Easy Christmas Dog Treat Recipes!


Helpful Tips

  • Keep an eye on your surrounding guests who might be sneaking bits of food to your pet. You may know what is on the naughty and nice list of foods, but others may not.
  • Before your big gathering, take your pet for a nice long walk, or play with them to burn up some energy. Dogs tend to beg less (and get into less trouble) when they are tired.
  • If you are still unsure if an ingredient is okay for your dog to eat, refrain from feeding it to them. It’s always better to play it safe!
  • Don’t over do it. Small amounts are best, and only as a special added bonus to their regular daily food, not a replacement. Always check with your vet about any major changes to your dogs diet.

The ultimate list of food safe for dogs at Christmas. Our naughty and nice list will have your dog enjoying the festivities safely!

The Naughty List

  • Sugar & Xylitol – We all know sugar is a no no for dogs, but also be on the lookout for Xylitol as well. It is often used as an alternative sweetener. It is highly poisonous to dogs if consumed, even in small amounts. More and more foods have hidden sugars, so keep a watchful eye!
  • Chocolate – Highly toxic to dogs due to the chemical found within, called theobromine. Chocolate has different levels of theobromine – pure cacao and dark chocolate having the most and lighter milk chocolates having the least.
  • Nutmeg – Lots of holiday foods contain nutmeg. This little ingredient can cause hallucinations and a number of neurological problems.
  • Sage – If digested in large amounts, the essential oils found in sage can pose problems on your pet’s nervous system as well as digestive system.
  • Baking Soda/Powder – Contains sodium bicarbonate and can be very painful on your pet’s tummy.
  • Butter – A little bit won’t hurt, but it’s not the best ingredient for dogs. Too much can cause an upset tummy and pancreas pain.
  • Alcohol – This one should be a no brainer. Giving your dog alcohol can be dangerous, even in small amounts.
  • Grapes & Raisins – Both of these foods are very toxic for dogs and can be severely damaging to their kidneys.
  • Fruit Seeds, Stems, Leaves & Pits – Contains cyanogenic glycosides which can be poisonous to dogs. Make sure all seeds, stems, leaves and pits are removed before feeding any fruit to your pet.
  • Fat Trimmings, Cooked Bones, Skin – Large amounts of fat and skin can be a dangerous choking hazard and can also cause problems to the pancreas. Cooked bones can splinter into sharp fragments and get lodged in your dog’s throat. Best to avoid all of them.
  • Onions – Onions contain a high amount of thiosulphate, which is highly toxic to dogs. Onions should be avoided completely.
  • Garlic – Garlic also contains thiosulphate, but not nearly as much as onions. Small amounts of garlic is considered safe, but refrain from giving your dog very much.
  • Gravy – Way too rich for dog’s sensitive tummies, best to avoid.

The ultimate list of food safe for dogs at Christmas. Our naughty and nice list will have your dog enjoying the festivities safely!

The Nice List

  • Cinnamon – Yum. With it’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, cinnamon is a wonderful ingredient for dogs. An added bonus? It can help regulate blood sugar and improve brain function. Boom.
  • Cranberries – Cranberries are not only super yummy, they are also rich in antioxidants, which can help boost the immune system. Remember though, fruit should always be given in small portions, unless you want a dog on a sugar high. Yep, thought so.
  • Sweet Potatoes – A crowd pleaser among people and pups! Sweet potatoes, minus the marshmallow topping, are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, beta carotene, and manganese.
  • Yams – Often served on the holidays, yams are a tasty fiber filled snack that your pup will enjoy. Just make sure it doesn’t have a lot of butter and seasoning!
  • Carrots – A classic dog treat. Carrots are loaded with vitamins and beta carotene. When raw, they can even help clean your dog’s teeth too. Win, win!
  • Apples – Packed with fiber and vitamin C, apples are a dog favorite. Don’t forget to remove the seeds and stem!
  • Extra Vigin Coconut Oil – I could write for hours on the benefits of this wonder oil. It’s the best cooking/baking oil to use, especially if you know your pet will be partaking in the festivities. Coconut oil is a superfood with numerous beneficial health properties for both dogs and people (it pretty much does it all). Our favorite being how it improves overall skin health. It also has a higher heat tolerance than most oils. That’s right, most oils turn rancid after being exposed to heat, and thats not good for you or fido. Unrefined extra virgin coconut oil is the best route!
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Dogs love the taste, its amazing for their skin, coat, brain, and immune system. A few of tips though: 1) Be sure to give in small doses. 2) Avoid heating above 300°F to prevent from turning rancid. 3) Look for EVOO that is packaged in dark bottles.
  • Natural Peanut/Almond Butter – Both peanut butter and almond butter are filled with healthy fats that support a healthy cardiovascular system, not to mention super tasty!
  • Skinless, Boneless White Meat Turkey – Cooked white meat turkey in small bite sized portions is a great option for a healthy snack during the holidays. Consider feeding raw turkey ONLY if your dogs is on a raw food diet already. A sudden switch could be hard on your pet’s tummy, it is best to do this gradually.
  • Skinless, Boneless Chicken – The same goes for chicken. Every dog LOVES chicken, just be sure to keep an eye out that no one is slipping them more meat than they should.
  • Quinoa – An excellent rice and grain substitute, packed with protein, making it a healthy treat for dogs.
  • Zucchini – Packed with vitamins, folate, and potassium, zucchini is an excellent veggie that dogs enjoy.
  • Broccoli – Filled with vitamins C, A, and B6, broccoli is an excellent veggie option for your dog.

Wishing you all a delightful, safe and doggo filled Christmas!


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Copy: Sarah Dickerson

Photography: Jessica Trinh Photography, Chic Sprinkles Design & Photography, & Missy Moo Studios

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3 responses to “Holiday Foods For Your Dog: The Naughty & Nice Lists”

  1. Ha ha – Rachel’s trifle/shepherds pie is the BEST! Great wrap up Sar! x

  2. This information is priceless! We have a dog boarding facility in SC and love to pass along this kind of info to your clients. Thanks for putting these lists together!

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