Dangerous Foods for Dogs at Christmas

Christmas is great fun for the entire family, including your dog who will love getting involved with opening presents and being part of the family. It's tempting to indulge your dog when it comes to food over the festive period but it's important to know exactly which foods are safe to feed your dog at Christmas and which ones to avoid.

Most dog owners are aware of potentially poisonous foods to avoid feeding their dog, but there are some that most of us don't expect and they are abundant during the festive season. Some 'human food' can be toxic to dogs with symptoms ranging from a mild stomach upset to potentially life threatening food poisoning.

Here are some of the most common toxic foods for dogs that you will want to keep an eye out for:

Christmas Pudding and Minced Pies

These beloved Christmas treats contain raisins and sultanas which are variations of grapes which are poisonous to dogs. It's easy to for your dog to end up eating lots of these as they are packed into a small area so your dog is likely to ingest large amounts in one sitting before you even realise and get a chance to take the poisonous food away from him/her.


All of us are aware of the potential danger of your dog ingesting chocolate, and during the Christmas period there's even more of it around in easy to access places, like hanging from a tree or buried amongst a pile of presents. Don't forget that your dog has a keen sense of smell and will be able to sniff out any chocolates that are wrapped up and under your tree. It will take them seconds to tear open their prize and devour all of the chocolates inside.

Macademia Nuts

These are incredibly poisonous to dogs, symptoms include weakness, depression, vomiting, shaking and increased body temperature within the first 12 - 48 hours of ingesting the nuts. As you would with any potentially harmful food your dog may ingest, make a note of the quantity (if you know how much) and contact your vet as soon as possible.


Alcohol is toxic to dogs with similar symptoms to alcohol poisoning in humans. During the festive period there tends to be a lot more of it around and we use it in our cooking too.

How to avoid your dog eating poisonous foods

The best way to combat food poisoning in your dog is prevention, by keeping potentially harmful food and drinks off the floor and any low surfaces your dog might be able to reach. It's important to educate your guests on which foods will harm your dog to make sure they are not sneaking any tidbits to your dog under the table! Children especially need to be told not to feed your dog when they are visiting.

What to do if your dog has eaten a poisonous food

If you know exactly how much of the food your dog has eaten then take note and contact your vet. If the amount of toxic food they've eaten is low then the vet may advise you to keep a close eye on your dog over the next few days and contact them immediately if the situation changes of they begin to experience symptoms of dog food poisoning.

What are the symptoms of dog food poisoning?

Depending on the type of food your dog has ingested the symptoms may vary. Some of the symptoms might include:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Tremors or shaking

  • Increased temperature

  • Depression

  • Weakness

  • Seizures

  • Increased salivating

  • Loss of appetite

  • Blood in stools

These are just a handful of symptoms, so if you are ever worried that your dog may have food poisoning then please contact your vet or their out of hours emergency line. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

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