One of the best things about Christmas is the feasting on festive food. There is just so much great food and drink to enjoy. Many pet owners love to spoil and share with their fur babies but it can actually be bad for them. There are some common Christmas foods that could make your pets very poorly. Let’s take a look at a few of the foods you shouldn’t share with your pets this Christmas.

Cooked bones

If you’re cooking a turkey or any other roast meat, it seems like common sense to allow your pets to enjoy the leftovers, often straight from the bone. However, unless it’s just the meat, it’s actually not a good idea.

When bones are cooked, they become very brittle. This means they can splinter when your pet ingests them and can cause serious, sometimes even fatal, internal injuries.

If you do want to give them a little of the Christmas main, be sure to remove all bones first.


Most humans like chocolate and there’s a lot of it around at Christmas. However, it can be very dangerous for dogs, cats, and birds. The caffeine in chocolate and another ingredient, theobromine, can’t be digested by our pets.

Both these elements can cause all sorts of horrible symptoms for our animal chums, including vomiting, tremors, irregular heartbeats, hyperventilation, and diarrhoea.

The toxicity risk can depend on the pet’s weight, the type of chocolate, and the amount they ingest. It’s important to not coax your pets to eat chocolate and even more important, ensure that you store it safely so they can’t get to it.


Something else that can often be easy to access around Christmastime is alcohol. It’s important not to give your pets alcohol and definitely important to ensure they can’t get to any if you don’t have eyes on them.

Alcohol can easily become lethal to our pets so we shouldn’t ever be tempted to share a beer with them. Alcohol can also be present in raw bread dough and syrup so be cautious and learn the signs of alcohol poisoning.

There are special drinks you can buy to treat your animal friends that won’t cause any health problems.

Garlic and onions

These staples of British cooking can be toxic to dogs and cats. Containing thiosulphate, when ingested onions and garlic causes damage to the red blood cells for our pets. This can then go on to cause anaemia, organ damage, and can even be fatal.


Not only do nuts represent a choking hazard for our pets but there are toxins within that can be especially dangerous for dogs.

Both walnuts and pecans are very high in fat and can be difficult for dogs to digest. Small amounts of these tasty snacks can cause tummy trouble, not fun to deal with when all the family’s round.

There is also a dangerous toxin in macadamia nuts that can cause big problems for our canine chums. Their digestive systems can quickly be affected as well as their muscle and nervous systems. It can cause breathlessness, swollen legs, and general weakness.

Grapes and raisins

You might have grapes as a healthy snack, or on your cheeseboard; raisins might be in your fruit ‘n’ nut mix but are also an ingredient in mince pies, fruit cake, and Christmas pudding. Grapes, and therefore raisins, are bad for your pets.

Your pet might lose their appetite, appear lethargic or weak, appear to have abdominal pain, dehydration, excess or reduced urine production, vomiting, and possibly diarrhoea too. All of this can be signs of kidney damage.

It’s best to stick to pet produced foods, rather than sharing from your plate. There are many different types of pet treats available to ensure your pets doesn’t miss out on the festivities, often there will be seasonal flavours they can enjoy too. Be sure to stock up ready so the puppy eyes don’t persuade you to share your human food with them.

If you think you pet might have snaffled any of these foods, or is showing signs of not being quite themselves, you can contact the Animal Poison Line on 01202 509000 to discuss your concerns or contact your local vet.

Featured photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels

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