Eat, Drink, and Bark Happy: Holiday Meal Tips for Your Dog

Just as we enjoy holiday gatherings with family and friends, our dogs also sense the excitement. Whether they are lying next to the oven for hours inhaling the smell of a roasting turkey or gathering under the table waiting for special morsels to fall, dogs join in our celebrations and are a part of the holiday magic. Simple food tips can keep them healthy while making the day special.

Talking Turkey   The holiday turkey meat removed from the bone and served without skin, is a delectable treat for most dogs. Turkey skin, while tasty, contains fats that are hard for dogs to digest and can trigger stomach upsets, even in small amounts. A slice of lean white meat along with a small portion of veggies such as plain sweet potato, is tempting and easy on a dog’s system.  For those who want to get more creative, Rachel Ray’s Thanksgiving Hash is a good option.  The recipe is a creative combination of holiday leftovers and is available at

Christmas means stocking stuffers like Kong toys that can be filled with healthy treats to keep dogs busy and happy. At, visitors can access a variety of recipes for stuffers that can be made ahead of time and frozen.

During the holidays, watch your dog’s food intake and don’t let him overindulge. Like people, dogs can overeat to the point of illness. If you are feeding holiday table scraps, balance food intake by feeding smaller portions of his regular food.

Keep garbage containers closed.  With all the hustle and bustle during the holidays, it’s easy to forget that dogs are ruled by smell and can be tempted to raid the garbage. If you can’t keep a close watch, make sure the containers are tightly closed, and take out the garbage when full to lessen any temptation.

Forbidden holiday foods  While we want to our dogs to enjoy the festivities, certain foods should be strictly off limits. Bones may look tempting, but they can easily splinter or lodge in a dog’s throat and pose a choking hazard. Chocolate is potently toxic and should never be given to a dog. The yeast in dough can cause harmful bloating and gas. Avoid any food that contains onion, and never feed grapes or raisins.

There are many pet-friendly restaurants and inns that offer a special menu for dogs during the holiday season. The BarkHappy app makes them easy to find and can help you plan a special gathering that the whole family can enjoy. Tag your holiday photos with #BarkHappy and share them on Facebook and Instagram to make the day extra special.