Toxic Christmas food for pets – a guide

Here at Tailster, we love including our four-legged friends in the festive fun, but there are some parts of Christmas that we’re better off keeping to ourselves! Read on to find out all about toxic Christmas food for pets, as well as the safer options to fill your buddy’s Christmas plate with this year.

Toxic Christmas food for pets

Toxic Christmas food for pets

Turkey/chicken bones

If you happen to have any leftover turkey and wish to treat your dog, take care to remove any bones. Whilst they are a popular treat for dogs if served cooked you could end up with a nasty trip to the vet over Christmas! Not only does the cooking process remove any nutritional benefit from the bones, but it also increases the risk of splintering and injuring your dog’s mouth, throat, or intestines. Try asking your butcher for beef knuckles or marrowbone instead so your dog can enjoy a treat over the Christmas season.


Christmas dinner should be deemed incomplete without the gravy, but sharing is not caring when it comes to your pet. Gravy is far too rich and salty for dogs and can cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea. Many gravy recipes also contain either onion or garlic granules which are highly toxic to dogs.


Onions, garlic, and leeks are all common ingredients in stuffing and sauces. Unfortunately, they can cause anaemia which can result in organ damage, failure, or even death. Symptoms to look out for include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fatigue or a lack of interest in their food. Whilst it’s unlikely you’d feed your pup an entire onion or a bulb of raw garlic, it’s often used in your Christmas cooking such as stuffing or gravy, so just be aware of what leftovers they might get their paws on when thinking about toxic Christmas food for pets!

Pigs in blankets 

Though this festive canapé would likely reach the top of the list for your dog, it’s far too salty and fatty for your dog. Keep in mind that if you don’t usually feed your pooch much other than their regular food, their stomachs may be in for shock with the sudden influx of leftovers.


Everybody knows that chocolate is toxic for dogs, but still, we see chocolates being used to decorate the tree or even boxes being wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree. It’s the theobromine found in chocolate that can cause your dog problems. If you notice your dog is suddenly more hyper than usual, do not hesitate in getting your dog to the vet. Even a small amount of chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle tremors, seizures, irregular heartbeat or even a heart attack.

Mince pies, Christmas pudding and fruit cake 

Raisins (and grapes) contain a toxin that can damage your dog’s kidneys. Consumption of even a small amount of the dried fruit could cause severe kidney damage leading to kidney failure. If you notice a sudden lack of urine (or too much), it’s possible your dog’s got into the mince pies, Christmas pudding or even the grapes off the cheeseboard. It’s crucial you get your dog to the vet immediately.


Macadamia nuts contain a toxin that affects your dog’s digestive, muscle and nervous system. This can cause swollen legs, muscle tremors, vomiting, fever and extreme fatigue. Black walnuts can cause gastric intestinal upset or an obstruction. Almonds and Brazil nuts are difficult for dogs to digest which can cause stomach issues and hickory nuts contain a toxin that can cause seizures or other neurological problems.


Just like humans, dogs will feel drunk if they consume alcohol but the results can be a lot more sinister than a headache and some regret the next morning. Dog’s kidneys are not meant to break down alcohol so the chances of alcohol poisoning are far higher. Due to the fact dogs tend to be smaller than their owners, the amount of alcohol that could cause your dog to fall ill is much smaller. Best to keep your dog away from your beer this Christmas!

Toxic Christmas food for pets

Now you know which toxic Christmas food for pets you should be skipping from your dog’s Christmas dinner bowl, here are some ideas for a lovely festive plate for your pup to enjoy…

Turkey meat

Winner winner, turkey dinner… A small amount of lean turkey meat with zero bones in sight is a guaranteed winner in your dog’s eyes!


Raw potatoes are highly toxic to dogs which often leads to the misconception that dogs can’t eat them at all. Whilst you should avoid mash potato due to the dairy and roast potatoes if cooked in butter and oil, a plain boiled or baked potato will go down a treat with your pup!


Brussel sprouts, carrots and broccoli are all healthy treats to give your dog around Christmas. Sprouts are full of nutrients and antioxidants, carrots are great for your dog’s teeth and broccoli is fine in moderation though contains isothiocyanate, which can cause gastric irritation in some dogs.

Festive dog treats

There is a huge array of Christmassy treats specifically made with your dogs’ health and safety in mind, or you could even have a go at making your own. Be sure to give any rawhide treats a miss as they can cause choking and blockages.

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Now that we’ve covered toxic Christmas food for pets, have you got big plans on New Year’s and looking for pet care? Perhaps Tailster can help! We have a range of vetted carers across the UK, available to care for your pet as and when you require. For more information, click here.

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