Holiday Food Safety: Pet-safe Foods and Alternatives

Nov 8th 2019

(Not a substitute for professional veterinary help)

As we prepare for the Holiday season, many of us can expect a house full of guests coming together around the dinner table. It may be tempting to offer your pet the same delicious food you are enjoying. While there are plenty of foods that your pet can enjoy safely, many can cause stomach issues. To keep you pet happy and healthy during the festivities, make sure the food is pet-friendly or offer pet-friendly alternatives.


You may want to share some of the main meat dish with your pet. Unseasoned lean meats are great for pets, however it is important to remove any excess fat, skin, and especially the bones. These trimmings can cause stomach distress for your pet.


Why are bones bad? Turkey bones and other cooked bones can splinter and cause chocking or internal damage. Go ahead and give your dog a raw bone that is large enough not to splinter or break. Always watch your dog when feeding bones.


Mashed Potatoes

In small amounts, plain mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes are a great filling vegetable for your pet. Both are a great source of vitamins and dietary fiber. Just make sure there are no added ingredients such as salt, garlic, onions, sugar and butter.

We’re, well…crazy pet people…so we like to add broth to our potatoes as a gravy-alternative.

Green Beans

Another great holiday treat for your pet is green beans! If you plan to make a green bean casserole, put some cooked, unseasoned beans aside to add to your pets bowl. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals and are rich in protein and fiber.


Pies and cakes, although delicious, are filled with lots of sugars, both natural and artificial. These sugars can cause an upset stomach for our pets. Raw pumpkin, however, is great for cats and dogs.

Avoid: Grapes and Nuts

Protein packed and deliciously salty, assorted nuts may seem like an easy snack to toss your pet. Many of us may not know that nuts are toxic to both cats and dogs. The fats, oils and excess salt present in nuts can cause serious health problems for your pet.

There are many fruits and vegetables that your pets can enjoy, but grapes are not one of them. Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs particularly, but cats too. It is not known what causes them to be so toxic to cats and dogs, but ingesting even a few can lead to kidney failure.


Various types of alcohol are almost always present at holiday gatherings. Dogs, especially, lovethe taste of beer. Be sure to place you unattended drinks where your pets cannot get to them. Alcohol is highly dangerous for all pets, even in very limited amounts.

Instead, serve your dog good old fashioned water, goat’s milk or bone broth.

The Takeaway

Offering pet-friendly food and treats (in moderation, of course) can help keep your pet happy, and healthy, during the holiday season.

Have a happy and healthy Holiday!