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A Dog’s Dinner – The Dangers of Christmas Foods

06 December 2018

With our pets patiently looking up at us with their puppy dog eyes, it’s very tempting to share our Christmas dinner with our faithful companions. After all, we just want to make them feel included in the festive fun too!

But while giving your pet a nibble of some turkey is perfectly okay, there are some festive treats that we feast upon over the Christmas period that really aren’t a good idea to dish up for our pets. 

Pets at Home has shared a list of Christmas foods that are definitely not okay to give your pets:


All kinds of chocolate should be kept away from pets as it contains a stimulant called theobromine. Dr Maeve Moorcroft who is the Head of Pets at Pets At Home, states: “Theobromine is toxic to dogs and cats” and warns that it can cause a racing heartbeat, dehydration, digestive upsets, seizures and in severe cases death. The darker the chocolate, the more harmful it is. 

Mince pies 

Raisins, currants, and sultanas can all be fatal to dogs. They are highly toxic even when cooked. “Dried fruit poisoning can cause diarrhoea and vomiting and, in very serious cases, could lead to kidney failure,” says Dr Moorcroft.

Gravy and Stuffing 

Gravy is too fatty and salty while stuffing is best avoided as onions can be very poisonous.  Symptoms of onion toxicity can cause breathlessness, lethargy, diarrhoea and vomiting. Your pet also could lose interest in food as a result of this type of poisoning. It may take up to two to four days after your pet eats the onion for symptoms to appear.

Turkey skin and bones 

Skin is too fatty, and bones can easily splinter, making them a choking hazard.


Some nuts are toxic for pets, so it’s best to avoid them all together with Macadamia nuts being one of the worst kinds It can cause sickness, a high temperature, tremors and heart palpitations. The effects of macadamia nut poisoning can happen very quickly, so keep all nuts well out of reach.


Often cats and dogs struggle to digest lactose and too much cheese can cause a tummy upset. It is wise to keep cheeseboards away from hungry pets. 

Adults will know some of the above dangers however it’s an adults’ responsibly to make sure kids know this too.

It is also worth noting to keep wrapping paper and sweet wrappers away from pets, as we all know some dogs will eat anything and they can be at risk of tearing their oesophagus or intestines. Clean up as best and frequently as you can when sweets are being unwrapped.