Everybody loves Tofurky—including your dog! But there are some holiday treats that it’s best not to share with your four-legged friend. Before the holiday festivities begin, check this list (twice!) to make sure nothing that could send you running to the emergency vet in the middle of A Christmas Story ever crosses your dog’s lips.
1. Ham and bacon
Of course, you’re not going to be eating any ham or bacon this holiday season, but if anybody in your household tries to sneak a scrap to your dog, stop them in their tracks. Dishes that contain animal products can be high in fat, and an O.D. of fat can cause pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening disease, in dogs. Ham and bacon are also high in sodium, and excessive salt isn’t good for dogs (or you!), either.
This beverage is a quintuple whammy—it’s loaded with fat (see above), sugar (bad for your dog’s teeth, among other things), milk (dogs have trouble digesting lactose), raw eggs (which can cause food poisoning), and alcohol, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, tremors, coma, and even death in dogs. Neither you nor your dog should touch the stuff.
Sure, onions add extra flavor to cornbread stuffing and green bean casserole, but in large enough doses they can cause dogs (and cats) to suffer from anemia. Just to be on the safe side, keep leftovers that contain onions (and their close relative, garlic) away from your pooch.
4. Macadamia nuts
These yummy, exotic nuts are not your dog’s best friend. They can cause vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in canines. The effects may last for up to two days.
Chocolate—especially dark and baking chocolate—and coffee both contain theobromine and caffeine, which are toxic to dogs (the smaller the dog, the greater the chance of an overdose and even death). Unfortunately, like us, dogs think chocolate tastes great, so be sure to store your chocolate candy in a safe (dog-proof) place.
Seven-layer dip is the perfect holiday party food, but the avocados in this tasty appetizer are apt to give your dog a tummyache. Avocadoes contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
7. Bread dough
The yeast in bread dough can cause gasses to form in your dog’s digestive tract, resulting in extreme discomfort and even ruptured organs in severe cases, so be sure to set dough out to rise in an area unreachable by canine counter-surfers.
Let’s be honest: Fruitcake is an acquired taste, but that doesn’t stop people from freely giving these brick-like confections out during the holidays. If you’re thinking that you can unload an unwanted fruitcake on your pup, think again. Fruitcake contains both grapes and raisins, which can cause kidney failure in dogs, so you might just have to “regift” it to an unwitting friend or relative.
So what holiday foods ARE good for dogs? Cooked sweet potatoes (minus any additional ingredients), baked potatoes, pumpkin purée, cucumbers, carrots (steamed or raw), steamed green beans or greens, unsweetened cranberries, bananas, and apples are all good choices—and not just during the holidays. They are highly nutritious and will allow your dog to participate in the feast while remaining happy and healthy!
Don’t forget to veganize your holiday dinner with these delicious vegan main dishes.