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24 November 2021


Holiday Food Safe for Dogs

Holiday foods are meant to be shared with loved ones, and that includes your dog. Spread cheer with these safe table foods for dogs.

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As the weather turns chilly, and the leaves start to fall, family, friends, and dogs gather around tables filled with food. As plates are passed and gratitude is shared, your pup may stare longingly into your eyes, begging for a taste of all the fall flavors. Fortunately, many safe autumn-inspired table foods for dogs are available. Learn about nine drool-worthy and impressively healthy holiday foods that are safe for dogs and tips on how to prepare and serve these delicacies to your precious pup.

Fall-Themed Table Foods Your Dog Can Enjoy


1. Apples

This sweet treat is packed with fiber to help your pup feel full, which may lead to less begging! You can confidently share an apple with your pup, even if they need to lose a little weight, because apples are low in calories. However, avoid sharing apple seeds or cores, as these can be dangerous for dogs.

Healthy Thanksgiving Dog Treats for Your Pup 

2. Sweet potatoes

Baked or roasted sweet potatoes are another nutritious and delicious table food for dogs. However, your pup will have to pass on the casserole version, which is likely loaded with nuts, sugar, and marshmallows. While a little honey or maple syrup is OK in moderation, serving your dog’s sweet potatoes plain is the best for their health. However, if you don’t have time to roast a special sweet potato for your pup, check out Ollie’s Fresh Beef With Sweet Potatoes recipe!

3. Turkey

As you gather around the Thanksgiving table, you can safely serve your pup some turkey. However, as with most holiday foods for dogs, keep your pup’s portion plain and simple. Avoid sharing gravy, turkey skin, and dressing, as these can be too rich and may contain toxic garlic, onions, and spices. If everything on your holiday menu includes ingredients that are harmful to dogs, or you simply prefer to let your pup sup on a complete and balanced meal, feed them Ollie’s Fresh Turkey With Blueberries recipe, which your dog is sure to gobble up.

Is Turkey Good for Dogs?

4. Cranberries

Cranberries are good for dogs, but your dog may not appreciate the fruit’s tart flavor. If fresh berries make your pup pucker, you can safely share dried cranberries, just ensure they aren’t mixed with raisins or sweetened with grape juice. In addition, steer clear of serving your pup cranberry sauce, because this dish usually includes a hearty helping of sugar.

5. Pumpkin

Dogs may love pumpkin for its flavor, but you love how this fruit supports your dog’s healthy digestion. Whether your dog is having diarrhea or suffering from constipation, pumpkin can help them get back on track. Of course, your dog doesn’t have to be under the weather to enjoy this hearty squash. We add pumpkin to Ollie’s turkey recipe for its health benefits and high fiber content.

6. Duck

While duck is not a common dog food protein, this meat is a suitable protein source for dogs. Duck is also rich in iron, a beneficial mineral that helps improve blood oxygenation. If you’ll be enjoying duck breast this holiday season, you can safely share some slices with your pup. As with turkey, avoid sharing the fatty bits and any sauces or gravy.

The Best Proteins for Dogs

7. Oatmeal

Cool weather often inspires cravings for warm, hearty breakfast foods. Fortunately, your dog can enjoy some oatmeal with you. Keep your pup’s portion plain or add some fresh berries for extra fiber. Avoid syrups or mix-ins containing extra sugar.

8. Carrots

If you’re preparing a holiday dish that includes carrots, feel free to share bites with your dog. Roasted carrots, carrots poached in bone broth, or carrots cooked with a bit of honey or maple syrup glaze are fine to share—in moderation, of course—with your pup. Many dogs  appreciate a raw carrot’s satisfying crunch, so feel free to offer your pup a carrot stick as you prep the traditional holiday veggie and dip tray.

9. Popped corn

Plain air-popped popcorn is a great low-calorie, high-fiber treat for dogs. If you’re having a family movie night, invite your pup to partake. If you eat your popcorn with salt, butter, or seasoning, keep your dog’s portion separate, and serve them the unseasoned version. 

Because your pup can’t tell the difference between food and decorations, keep popcorn garland out of their reach. If your dog eats these fun string decorations, they may choke or experience an intestinal blockage.

How to Pup-Proof Your Holiday Menu

Avoid Giving These Festive Table Foods to Your Pup 

While you may want to share the holiday feast with your pup, keep their safety in mind if you do so. Many fall foods that you enjoy include ingredients that are unsafe for dogs, and they can cause health issues, some of which are mildly irritating, but others can be life-threatening. Learn which holiday foods are dangerous to dogs so you know how to respond appropriately if your dog does something naughty such as stealing a turkey leg off the kitchen counter.


Onions and other vegetables in the allium family, including garlic and chives, should never be shared with dogs, as they can make your pup extremely sick. If you think or know your dog has eaten a food containing onions, call your vet’s office or Animal Poison Control ASAP. They’ll likely ask you the amount you think your pup ate and when, and tell you if you should continue to monitor them or seek immediate care.


Veterinary experts don’t understand why raisins make some dogs extremely sick, but eating one raisin can send some dogs to the hospital for life-threatening toxicosis (i.e., poisoning). If you’re cooking with raisins, keep them far away from the counter’s edge and immediately pick up any you drop on the floor.

Caramel or chocolate

While these sweet treats are seemingly everywhere during the holidays, never share them with your dog. The sugar alone is enough to sicken a dog. You should also avoid giving your dog any chocolate, as their body cannot safely metabolize chocolate’s stimulant-like ingredients, theobromine and caffeine.

Top Toxins to Avoid for Dogs

Turkey skin or gravy

While turkey meat is safe to share with your dog, avoid offering them turkey skin or gravy, which are extremely high in fat and can cause vomiting or pancreatitis. In addition, never give your dog turkey bones, as these can cause choking, lacerations, or intestinal blockages.

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie is off-limits to your dog, as this dessert is often loaded with sugar and spices that can make your dog sick. If you want to share a pumpkin-based dessert with your dog, many pet-friendly recipes are available that your pup will love.

Macadamia nuts

While your dog can safely eat a few chopped peanuts or slivered almonds, macadamia nuts are toxic. If you have some of your aunt’s beloved white chocolate macadamia cookies or a bowl of mixed nuts on the buffet, closely monitor your dog, and ensure your guests know not to share!

Sharing food with your dog can be a lot of fun, but if you’re concerned about their weight or excessive begging, proceed with caution. You might want to avoid offering your dog food directly from the table or your plate and only serve food for your dog in their dish. In addition, remember to feed your pup only small portions of special treats that make up no more than 10% of their daily overall calorie intake.

How to Teach Dogs Good Table Manners

Teach your dog good manners before the holiday season begins. Unfortunately, poor table manners and general mischief can get a greedy pup in a sleigh full of trouble. This year, avoid inviting disaster to your holiday dinner by dedicating a few minutes each day to training your dog. To help improve your pup’s table manners, follow these strategies:

  • Feeding and exercising your dog before dinner — Satisfied dogs are good dogs. Meeting your pup’s needs before you sit down to holiday dinner is a positive way to curb begging and turkey stealing. 
  • Teaching your dog to station or go to place — Stationing and place training teaches dogs to rest on a designated platform or mat by building value for the position through treats and praise. Although similar to a stay behavior, the mat or platform is easier for dogs to understand because they have a visual boundary. Once your dog understands the behavior, simply move the station or platform to a corner of your dining room, so you can eat in peace.
  • Training your dog to love their crate — Crate training helps dogs learn how to enjoy confinement and safely stay out of trouble. When your dog uses their crate appropriately, give them lots of tasty treats, long-lasting chews, or food puzzles, and gradually increase their crate time. We recommend positioning your dog’s crate near the table—but safely out of the way—so your pup can feel like part of the family.
  • Coaching your dog to ignore unoffered food (i.e., leave it) — Dogs are opportunistic by nature, so they’ll usually dive on a dropped green bean or chase a runaway roll. Consider working with a trainer to teach your dog to take food only when offered.
  • Rewarding good behavior — This seems simple, but rewarding or praising your dog for their good choices (e.g., sitting politely, laying at your feet, not putting their paws on the table) can be a fun and positive way to show them that being good can be tasty!

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