What Can My Dog Eat For Christmas Dinner?

Here are the safest Christmas foods for pets to eat 🐶🍽

black dog eating christmas dinner

One of the best parts about Christmas is all the yummy food you get to enjoy.

And while you’re already planning out your favorite Christmas dishes for this year’s menu, you might be wondering if your dog or cat is allowed to get in on the action.

To get some answers to this yummy question, we spoke to Dr. Lindsey E. Bullen, a board certified veterinary nutritionist at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Cary, North Carolina, for some expert advice on safe Christmas food for dogs and cats.

Can all pets eat Christmas dinner?

According to Dr. Bullen, some pets can handle certain human treats — but not all can.

“Please remember to always check with your veterinarian before feeding your pet any human foods,” Dr. Bullen advised. “Since every pet is unique, what is OK for one pet may not be OK for another.”

“Additionally, any pets with chronic illnesses or diseases should stay on their special/prescribed diet (if they are on one) as any deviation could result in illness,” Dr. Bullen said.

When in doubt, reach out to your vet or your local veterinary nutritionist for any holiday help!

What are safe Christmas foods for dogs and cats to eat?

While tolerance to human foods depends purely on the individual pet, these foods could be considered safe for healthy pets on Christmas, according to Dr. Bullen.

Which foods are unsafe for my pet to eat?

“While we want our pets to enjoy the holidays with us, we must be cautious when giving our furry companions certain foods, as some can actually be unsafe,” Dr. Bullen said.

According to Dr. Bullen, candies, cookies or pies containing grapes, coffee, chocolate (especially chocolate-covered espresso beans), macadamia nuts, walnuts or xylitol (a common sugar substitute used in many sugar-free candies and pastries) can be particularly dangerous if ingested by pets — so avoid them.

Other things to consider

Avoid garlic and onions

“Be sure all foods given to pets are prepared without garlic and/or onions, as these also pose potential dangers if ingested,” Dr. Bullen said.

Don’t feed your pets raw food while cooking

According to Dr. Bullen, sneaking your pet raw food can increase their risk of contracting a foodborne illness, such as E. coli, salmonella or listeria.

Consider homemade treats

You can also opt for homemade treats to include pets in the fun during family meals around the holidays. “When choosing a recipe with your pet’s favorite flavors, be mindful of toxic ingredients that could cause a medical emergency,” Dr. Bullen said. “To look just like Christmas cookies, decorate treats using peanut butter (check the ingredient list for xylitol), yogurt and shredded carrots!”

When in doubt, discuss potential "treats" with a veterinary professional

This helps ensure no harm will come to your beloved pets during the holiday season.