Christmas Dinner Do’s and Don’ts for Pets

It’s the meal we humans look forward to all year round, and you’d be forgiven for wanting to share some of your Christmas dinner morsels with your pooch – it is the season of giving after all!

However, much like many other pet Christmas hazards, we need to be careful when it comes to festive food, as disregarding the rules on some of the delicious titbits and treats you share could be doing your four-legged friend more harm than good. 

Here’s a list of what your dog can and can’t eat this Christmas… 


Food Do’s – What your dog can eat 


Christmas turkey


The pièce de résistance of every Christmas dinner, your furry friend can enjoy small quantities of your turkey as long as all pieces are boneless, skinless and free from gravy or other marinades which can upset your pet’s stomach.




A super tasty side dish, again only feed your pet potatoes in small quantities – as they are starchy – and ensure they are plain with nothing else added, such as butter and salt.


Winter vegetables


Carrots, parsnips, green beans, courgettes, brussels sprouts, broccoli, peas, spinach and cauliflower not only make yummy Christmas dinner trimmings but all great for your pet. Make sure you rinse off any excess butter or oil before giving to your furry friend and always feed in small quantities.


Food Don’ts – What your dog can’t eat 


Chocolate and sweets


Notoriously dangerous for pets, chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine that if ingested in large quantities can be fatal. Be especially vigilant with your advent calendar as cats and dogs can easily open the doors and gobble the sweet treats inside.


Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas


Extremely toxic to both cats and dogs, even very small amounts of these fruits can cause pets to experience vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases kidney failures. Mince pies, Christmas pudding, fruit cake and stollen all contain one or more of these dried fruits as well as alcohol – another huge no-go – so be sure to keep them away from your pets and covered if left on a table or work service.


Cooked bones


As well as being a general choking hazard, once animal bones have been cooked they become extremely brittle and can splinter causing damage to your pet’s throat, stomach and intestines. Ensure there are none left in the meat you feed your cat or dog.



Bulb vegetables


Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives are all dangerous to cats and dogs due to a substance that can damage your pet’s red blood cells and cause anaemia. Stuffing contains both onion and garlic so avoid slipping this into your pet’s dinner bowl too. Rhubarb is also very poisonous to pets.




Despite being a classic Christmas time nibble, macadamia nuts and walnuts are toxic to pets and can seriously affect their digestive, muscle and nervous systems. Keep small bowls and treats with nuts in them – such as fruit cake – well out of reach!


Herbs & spices


Although great for adding some flavour to your Christmas dinner, herbs, spices and gravy on titbits can upset your furry friend’s stomach. Nutmeg in particular is very poisonous for dogs and if too much is consumed can damage their nervous system.





Feeding your pet dairy products is open for debate – some pets are lactose intolerant however an active bacteria in yoghurt can act as a probiotic and help your pet’s digestive system. Like all human foods, just feed your pet in small quantities.


Fruits with pips & stones


All the pips and stones of apples, cherries, peaches, pears, plums and apricots contain cyanide which is poisonous pets. There is also always a danger of intestinal blockage with pips and stones, especially large ones in fruits such as avocado.


Pigs in blankets


Arguably one of the most delicious sides at Christmas dinner, pigs in blankets are (unsurprisingly) very fatty, salty and too rich for our pet’s stomachs. Too much fat can cause pancreatitis in pets and lead to long term problems.



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