The Dog’s Christmas Dinner – What your dog can and cannot eat during festivities

13th December 2017

Christmas is a time for fun, having people round and lots of festive treats.  However, it is also a time we have to be extra mindful of things that our dogs may get into which they wouldn’t usually have access to.  They might find the extra bits and pieces which can be left lying around like the selection box under the tree or the roast placed a little too closely to the kitchen counter’s ledge, super tasty but most Christmas food can be dangerous for dogs to ingest and might cause stomach upset, digestive problems, poisoning or even death. It is our responsibility to keep our dogs safe and healthy so below is a compiled list of things that are dangerous for dogs to eat.  That being said, that doesn’t mean our dogs can’t join in on some of the festivities and even enjoy a special treat too, which is why we have also included some pooch-safe Christmas treats.  Feel free to print off and enjoy!

Foods dangereous to your dog:

Mince pies, Christmas pudding and fruit cake
Apart from being full of dangerous fat, these festive treats contain dried fruits (such as raisins), spices and sometimes alcohol.

Stuffing and Gravy
A mixture of breadcrumbs with onions, spices, herbs and large quantities of salt and therefore best avoided as all these things can cause stomach upset.

This may seem an obvious, but a very important one on the list.  Chocolate poses a very dangerous risk to your dog.  You may feel confident in knowing this one but remember that among all the hustle and bustle, one or two things may slip past you unknowingly.  A tin of roses a guest has left down beside the couch or a selection box wrapped under the tree are all things to look out for!  Even in small amounts, chocolate can be a big danger to dogs so be sure to keep it out of their reach at all times.

Turkey skin, chicken skin and bird bones

While the skin is far too fatty for dogs and can cause digestive inflammation, bones can be just as risky as they can splinter and cause choking or other digestive problems.

Human deserts and sweets
These are way too sugary or if they are sugar-free they contain artificial sweeteners. The sweetener Xylitol is very dangerous to dogs and sugar is bad for your dog’s waistline and teeth.

Fruit pips and stones

While the flesh of some fruit can be okay for dogs, the pips and stones may cause intestinal blockage.

Some Nuts and Seeds

Same goes for macadamias and walnuts, however, small quantities of cashews and almonds are safe to be enjoyed.

Pigs in Blankets and other pork products

A sneaky one to watch for with guests.  These are far too salty and fatty and may cause intestinal discomfort.

Grapes, raisins, currants, sultanas
These are fatal to dogs, even in small amounts. Seek veterinary help immediately if your dog eats these foods. Some dogs can cope with eating a few but many cannot and you have no idea which way your dog may react so don’t risk it at all.

Onions, garlic and other bulb vegetables (e.g. chives, leeks, shallots)
Onions are a definite no as they are poisonous to dogs. This includes any variant such as onion powder. Also avoid feeding your dog other bulb vegetables e.g. chives, leeks and shallots. Garlic is a contentious issue and while a little bit of garlic is not toxic to your dog it can have a dangerous cumulative effect.

Other dog Christmas food tips

  • No booze or caffeine – clear cups and glasses away and put all coffee and alcohol out of reach of your dog.
  • Keep pets out of the busy kitchen to prevent accidents.
  • Don’t over feed your dog – with dog food/treats or with human food/treats.
  • Dispose carefully of wrappers, human food and especially bones.
  • Take the rubbish out and whether the rubbish bags are inside or out secure them so they can’t be broken into. Dispose of leftovers, especially the bird carcass, carefully.
  • Ask all visitors not to feed your pet anything. It is easier than trying to get everyone to follow the food rules above and if everyone gives your pet tit bits it will soon add up to a lot of extra food.

That being said, now onto the tasty and safe treats pets can enjoy with the family.  It’s safe to say dogs will love a bowl of their own Christmas dinner but it’s important to remember that moderation is key as any uncommon food can cause stomach upset so the following can be enjoyed by your dog in very small amounts – no one likes being bloated on Christmas day!

While sitting down to your Christmas lunch, make your dog a plate of his own with skinless boneless turkey meat, some mixed veg (carrots, peas, green beans, courgette, parsnip all cooked without salt) but no onions, leeks or bulb veg.  Other foods your dog can safely enjoy are some fruit like bananas or raw apple slices, eggs – scrambled is best and even natural cranberry sauce (small amount with no other sugars or other preservatives.)

Another tip is to check out the pet shops at this time of year as they will also have a range of safe doggy treats available to keep him busy chewing on while the presents are being opened Christmas morning!  If you like, you can even pick some up and drop them out to PAWS for our shelter dogs to enjoy on the big day.  Enjoy the festivities and Happy Christmas!




Disclaimer: PAWS assumes no liability or responsibility for the content or ingredients listed in this article, please seek vet advice if unsure of any of these items included or not included on this list.