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Blog category: Pets

Holiday Table Scraps for Dogs: Safe & Not Safe

5 min read

Gathering with loved ones to share your table’s bounty is one of the best things about the holidays. Of course, some of the traditional holiday fare is also great for sharing with your dog, but certain items can be dangerous. While some family favorites only contain unnecessary calories or fat, some are actively toxic and can quickly turn the day from heart-warming to gut-wrenching.

So, skip the emergency trip to the vet, and take note of the safe table scraps for dogs — and which must be avoided. Then the entire family can enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season.

Avoid These Table Scraps for Dogs

What can dogs have on Thanksgiving, and at other holiday meals? It can be difficult to remember exactly. For example, can dogs eat stuffing without getting sick? It’s always fun to include your pets in family activities — but do so wisely. Some foods you might assume to be safe can pose serious risks to pets.

Turkey Skin, Bones, and Fat

Some holiday table scraps for dogs are tasty and nutritious. But that doesn’t include turkey skin, bones, or fat as these can pose serious risks of gastrointestinal blockages and injuries. The bones are exceptionally brittle and likely to splinter into sharp shards that can cause intestinal damage.


Mom’s stuffing makes for wonderful leftovers and tasty sandwiches for days. But when it includes onions, garlic, or grapes, it becomes toxic to dogs. If you’re wondering whether dogs can eat stuffing, the answer is no. Typically, stuffing contains onions and garlic, which can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Mashed potatoes swimming in butter and rich gravy is yummy comfort food for many people. But the heavy fat and sodium are a recipe for gastrointestinal upset in dogs, including vomiting, diarrhea, and possible pancreatitis.

Casseroles and Spreads

Both green beans and sweet potatoes make healthy snacks for dogs, but you should pass on the holiday casseroles that feature them. Many casseroles are loaded with cream, butter, oils, and salt and may contain onions or garlic. Including these ingredients in table scraps for dogs risks stomach upset and worse.


Why can’t dogs have ham? Ham is a processed meat typically loaded with sodium, sugar, fat, and many preservatives. While a small bite of ham probably won’t hurt your dog, it certainly won’t help. And more can lead to digestive problems and pancreatic inflammation.

Ham bones aren’t good table scraps for dogs either as they’re too likely to splinter into sharp pieces that can do serious internal damage. It just isn’t worth the risk.


It’s hard to imagine a nut-free holiday spread. Nuts are a tasty part of many holiday meals, whether used for snacks, in the stuffing, mixed into festive breads, or baked atop pies. But it’s important to keep nuts away from dogs. Typically high in fat, nuts are often heavily salted, and can pose a choking hazard for your dog.

Other Holiday Foods Dogs Shouldn’t Eat

Additional items commonly found in holiday meals that you should avoid giving to your dog:

  • Candy
  • Grapes or raisins
  • Stone fruit
  • Onions and garlic
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Salty foods
  • Sugary desserts
  • Butter, fats, and oils
  • Any item containing xylitol

Holiday Table Scraps for Dogs: Safe to Give

While many holiday foods are unhealthy for your four-legged friend, you can still find many tasty and healthy treats among traditional holiday fare. You can offer the following table scraps for dogs with confidence:


Turkey meat is a terrific treat for your dog, if you avoid the skin, bones, and fat. The meat is an excellent source of lean protein if it’s baked and not fried or brined. The classic white meat or dark conundrum stands for your furry family members, too. While dark meat contains more fat than white, it also has more vitamins and minerals.


Fresh, dried, and even jellied cranberries are packed with antioxidants and support urinary tract health for humans and dogs alike. With care and in moderation, cranberries can be healthy for dogs. However, raw cranberries can be difficult for some dogs to digest. And if you’re offering prepared cranberry jelly, check the ingredients for the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs.


Raw or baked pumpkin makes a healthy and nutritious snack for dogs. A rich source of vitamins and dietary fiber, pumpkin can help settle your dog’s stomach and benefit their digestive tract. However, don’t feed them pumpkin pie or pie filling. The added cream, sugar, and spices can make your dog sick. Canned pumpkin works fine to give to your pup.

Green Beans

While your dog will be better off if you skip the green bean casserole, the beans are an excellent snack for dogs. Low in calories and high in iron, fiber, and essential vitamins, fresh, canned, and frozen green beans are perfectly safe as long as they’re not slathered in butter, salt, or cream.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes (minus the marshmallows) make for safe and healthy scraps for dogs. Loaded with vitamins and fiber, many dogs love the flavor of sweet potatoes. Cube up the root and offer them to Fido raw, baked, steamed, mashed, boiled, or broiled.


Fresh, raw carrots make a healthy, crunchy treat for your dog. But those with sensitive stomachs may prefer cooked carrots. They pack a punch of vitamins and fiber that make the snack as nutritious as it is tasty. If they don’t contain a lot of added sugar or salt, canned and frozen carrots are a great choice, too.

Even when you stick to safe and healthy table scraps for dogs, it may not go well. Like people, different dogs have different food sensitivities and preferences. If you ever believe your dog has eaten something dangerous — don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian. Prompt action can save your pet from pain and illness. And pet insurance from a trusted Wawanesa partner can keep your vet bills from becoming a nasty surprise. Please call 888-740-9975 for a quote.

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