Which Foods are Safe for a Dog Christmas Dinner?

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There are plenty of delicious foods and drinks around at Christmas and they can be just as tempting for our dogs as they are for us. While some parts of your Christmas dinner can be ok for dogs, there are some Christmas foods dogs can’t eat. No matter how much your pet might want to share in these festive treats, it is important that you resist! You might think that you are making your pet happy, but you could actually be doing them more harm than good. In this blog, we’ll look at which Christmas foods dogs can’t eat, and which foods make a good dog Christmas dinner.

Christmas Food Dogs Can’t Eat

Here are the main foods that you’ll come across over the festive period that should be kept well away from your pet. These Christmas foods are delicious for us, but could make your pet very unwell.

Christmas Pudding, Fruit Cake and Mince Pies

These traditional festive desserts contain raisins, sultanas and currants. Derived from vine fruits such as grapes, these foods contain a toxin that can damage your dog’s kidneys.

If your pet ingests grapes or raisins, they may show any of the following symptoms: loss of appetite, lethargy or weakness, abdominal pain, dehydration, increased thirst, increased or decreased urine production, vomiting, or diarrhoea.

Gravy and Stuffing

Gravy usually contains onions and sometimes garlic too. Members of the onion family, which also include shallots, leeks and chives, are toxic to dogs and cats.

Onions and garlic are staple ingredients in other Christmas foods too, such as stuffing. They are the kinds of base ingredients that you might forget are in a food, so be aware.

The onion family contains a substance called tiosulphate, delivering a toxic compound that damages the oxygen-carrying substance found in red blood cells called haemoglobin. The toxins damage the red blood cells causing anaemia, and in very severe cases, this can lead to organ failure.


These popular festive snacks can be very dangerous for dogs. Firstly, they can be a serious choking hazard. Even if your dog chews them, the shells can get stuck in their throat.

Some nuts also contain toxins that can be dangerous for dogs. Macadamia nuts, for example, contain a toxin that can affect the functioning of your dog’s digestive, muscle and nervous systems. This can result in weakness, breathlessness and swollen legs.

Pecans and walnuts are a favourite snack at Christmas too, but not only are they very high in fat, they are also large and difficult for dogs to digest. They can cause an upset stomach, even in small quantities, and are best kept out of your dog’s reach.


Many of us enjoy a festive tipple at Christmas, whether it’s a glass of eggnog, Bailey’s or mulled wine. While it’s unlikely that you would give your pet alcohol intentionally, it’s a good idea to keep your drink well away from your dog to avoid any accidental ingestion. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause your pet to become disorientated, have difficulty breathing, and in severe cases, it can be fatal.

However, if you would like your pet to join in with the festivities, there are pet-safe novelty beverages that you can give them – in moderation of course.

Turkey Bones and Skin

You might think that cooked turkey bones make for the perfect dog Christmas dinner. However, turkey bones are hollow and therefore break easily. Not only does this mean your pet might choke, but a splintered bone might also cut your pet’s intestines or stomach.

Turkey skin is another Christmas food dogs can’t eat. This is due to the very high fat content which can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.

However, turkey meat (without skin or bone) is fine for dogs in moderation.

Pigs in Blankets

While your dog’s mouth will probably water at just the smell of these popular festive foods, you shouldn’t give them any. Sausage meat and bacon are extremely high in salt and fat, which can have dangerous consequences for dogs. These include pancreatitis, and an upset digestive system.

Candy Canes and Other Sweets

Many of the popular sweets we enjoy at Christmas, such as candy canes, contain xylitol. This is an artificial sweetener that is very poisonous to dogs. It causes a dramatic drop in blood sugar levels, and even very small amounts can be fatal.


It wouldn’t be Chritmas without a selection box or two on the go! However, be sure not to leave them lying out on coffee tables, as chocolate is another Christmas food dogs can’t eat.

If consumed in large amounts, chocolate can be life threatening to dogs. The toxicity of chocolate depends on the type of chocolate, the dog’s weight, and the amount the dog digests.

Chocolate contains the ingredient theobromine, which is easy for humans to digest, but not for our furry friends. In large amounts, chocolate poisoning can produce various reactions, such as muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhoea and rapid breathing.

Which Parts of a Christmas Dinner are Safe for Dogs?

While the above foods should be strictly avoided, there are some festive foods that are fine to give your pet as part of their own dog Christmas dinner. Of course, these should only be given in moderation, and you should be aware of any possible allergies your dog might have too. These dog-safe Christmas dinner foods include:

  • turkey meat (no skin or bones)
  • lamb meat (no bones)
  • lean beef
  • lean pork
  • salmon fillets (cooked in spring water)
  • potatoes (cooked, but not roasted in oil, fat or seasoning)
  • sweet potatoes mash potato (ideally without added butter)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • parsnips
  • carrot
  • peas
  • swede

The Perfect Dog Christmas Dinner

Remember, new foods should be introduced very slowly to ensure your dog doesn’t get an upset tummy. If your pet hasn’t tried any of the foods above before, don’t give them lots all at once. Nobody wants a poorly pup, especially over Christmas!

To be on the safe side, why not give your pooch their very own dog Christmas dinner? This way, everybody gets to enjoy something extra special on the big day, without the risk of tummy trouble. This chicken and vegetable Sunday Lunch would make a very tasty dog Christmas dinner. Or keep it traditional and give your pooch a juicy (and grain-free!) turkey and gravy meal. Don’t forget to add a couple of dog-friendly pigs in blankets on the side!

We also have lots of festive treats for your pup over at Animed Direct, such as this mouthwatering dog charcuterie board, or these tasty turkey and bacon Christmas Crinkles.

Wrapping Up

It is important to consider that, even if you don’t actively give these foods to your pet, they may be able to get them in other ways. Be sure to clear plates and put wrappers and boxes into a bin out of their reach. Even the smallest trace of some of these festive food products can make your pet unwell. Buying your pet their own dog Christmas treats can be a good way to distract them from wanting your own food.

If you suspect that your pet has accidentally eaten any of these foods over the Christmas period or at any other point in the year, seek advice from your vet immediately.