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09th Nov 2022

Christmas foods that are dangerous for dogs

by Burns Team Writer

The Christmas period is a fun chance to get together and enjoy delicious food as a family – dogs included. But, some foods are more popular to eat at Christmas, which can be dangerous for our dogs to eat.

As expert nutritionists and pet owners ourselves, we have experienced a lot of pet parents and their dogs in distress because they’ve eaten something toxic and given them a Christmas they hadn’t hoped for. To make sure that your four-legged friend is safe at Christmas, we’ve put together a guide to foods that are dangerous for dogs and to keep away from them during the festive period.

What Christmas foods are toxic to dogs?

There are certain ingredients that dogs should never get their paws on. To help keep your dog safe during the festive period, these are some of the foods you should avoid giving them:


Chocolate is extremely dangerous for dogs to eat – and not just at Christmas. The chemical, theobromine, that’s in chocolate is toxic and can even be fatal. If your dog accidentally eats a small amount of chocolate, we strongly recommend contacting your vet for advice.

Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies

Christmas pudding and cakes are one of the most dangerous foods you can give your dog at Christmas. That’s because they contain lots of grapes and dried fruit (currants, sultanas, raisins, etc.) that are toxic to dogs, so make sure to keep their paws off them!


Nuts are common to have around your house at Christmas time, but they can be harmful to dogs to eat. Macadamia nuts, in particular, are poisonous to dogs and can make them weak and lethargic.

Sage and onion stuffing

As stuffing contains spices, herbs and onions, it’s a no-go for dogs. Onions, garlic, leeks and shallots are all part of the allium family and can damage your dog’s red blood cells and even cause anaemia.


Although it’s tempting to give your dog a bit of gravy, it can be too salty and fatty for them and can lead to an upset stomach and sickness.

What can dogs not eat at a Christmas dinner?

It’s always hard to refuse to give your dog something from your plate when they’re giving you puppy dog eyes at the table. However, quite a lot of food on your plate might be toxic or contain too much salt or fat for them to eat because of the way it’s been prepared, which can give them an upset stomach.

What can my dog eat during Christmas?

As long as your dog is healthy and not allergic to any of the following foods, then it should be safe to feed them a very small portion of the following food at Christmas as a treat:

• Meat; turkey, lamb, salmon, chicken but without the skin or bones as these can get lodged in their stomachs
• Vegetables; brussels sprouts, green beans, parsnips, carrots, peas, swede
• Potatoes; mashed, new potatoes or sweet potatoes.

To be on the safe side, it’s always best to give your dog food that’s made specifically for them to eat. At Burns, we have a selection of high-quality dog food and treats that are full of natural ingredients that are safe and healthy for them to eat.

What to do if you think your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have

If you think your dog has eaten something that may be of harm to them, then contact your local vet practice immediately. They can advise on what to do and whether to bring them in to be checked over. Even if you have a slight worry and they don’t have any symptoms yet, it’s always best to be a responsible pet parent and get a vet’s opinion before it’s too late.

At Burns, we offer nutritional advice to help support your dog’s health and give you peace of mind. If you have any questions about Christmas foods that are dangerous for dogs, or if you’re in any doubt about what they can or have to eat, we’re here for you to double-check.

Contact our Burns Pet helpline

How to make sure your dog is safe at Christmas

While it’s tempting to share your food with your dog during the festive period, most of the time it’s not worth the risk. If you are going to share your food, then make sure that it’s suitable for your dog and only give them a small amount. Too much food can give them an upset stomach or cause them to gain unnecessary weight.

If you’re going to give your dog a treat at Christmas, make sure that it’s safe to do so. Here at Burns, we have a selection of delicious dog treats for your dog to enjoy not just at Christmas, but all year round. Our natural dog treats and food are suitable for every breed and life stage and have been developed by vet surgeon and founder, John Burns, so you can rest assured that our dog food is healthy and safe for them to eat.

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