You prepared for house guests, the dinner menu is complete, desserts are covering the counter, and the gifts are all wrapped, right? With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, some important things can be accidentally overlooked, forgotten until someone brings up the fact that you are completely out of toilet paper or worse, wine! But, if you are a dog owner, there’s something else that needs to be at the forefront of your mind during this time — holiday table scraps and dog safety.

As a dog parent, you probably want to include your little guys in the holiday celebrations, like Christmas dinner and New Year’s dinner. It’s great to do this, but you must take measures to ensure your dog’s health and safety when it comes to making him his own dinner plate or feeding him those table scrap leftovers. So, which common holiday foods are no-nos and which are good-to-gos for doggie consumption?

The first thing you want to NOT do is feed the dog directly from the table as you are having dinner with your family. Don’t allow him to wander around the dining room to stick his nose in the food and do not allow dogs to freely sit under the table. A dog under the table can be a nuisance to guests or he could get stepped on and injured, or eat dropped or given foods that are not safe for dogs. Keep dogs in a designated area during dinnertime and feed safe scraps as a treat after dinner is over.

Something to remember: regardless if you are serving a vegan Christmas dinner, there may be dishes brought by dinner guests made with meat and other animal products. Therefore, you should know the all around good and the bad when it comes to dog-safe people foods.

Possible harmful table scraps:

  • Chocolate (made with milk products and sugar) is one of those holiday treats that will inevitably be on the table for dessert. As good as it may taste to humans, chocolate contains theobromine which is potentially toxic to dogs. Keep chocolatey goodies out of the reach of pets!
  • There are many delicious holiday mains and sides that call for raisins like salads and rice dishes that can add flavor to foods and look great for presentation. However, dogs should not eat raisins or grapes as they can become very sick.
  • Onions are a commonly used flavorful ingredient in stuffing, soups, casseroles, and chopped into bean salads. While onions add taste to food, large amouns can cause stomach upset and anemia in dogs. Stay on the cautious side and consider not feeding your dog anything that contained onions, even if you dig them out and remove it.
  • Undercooked meats, eggs, and cooked bones should not be fed to dogs. Like when humans consume raw or undercooked meat, E. Coli and other bacterial dangers become a possibility when ingested by dogs. And it may seem that dogs chewing on animal bones is a natural act, but giving dogs cooked bones is unsafe because bones may splinter into sharp pieces causing damage to the mouth, throat, and intestines.

These are just a few possible harmful foods, so jump on the Internet and search any other foods you may be questioning. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is a good source for such questions. While you are hosting Christmas dinner, it is not the time to test out whether your dog can eat a new food without vomiting. Avoid food items that you already know will upset your dog’s tummy.

It can be okay to feed your dog these:

  • If you have meat-eaters over, there may be some leftover meat from their dishes. A small amount of deboned and shredded, fat removed and skinless turkey or chicken can be safe for dogs.
  • All sorts of raw or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables are dog safe: green beans, cooked sweet potatoes, kale, carrots, celery, pumpkin, apples, and bananas.