It’s that exciting time of the year when we get into the festive spirit, giving gifts and baking lots of goodies in the kitchen! It can also be extremely tempting to give your dog foods and treats that they wouldn’t usually receive. This article will explain the common Christmas toxicities and then some inventive ways to give your canine friend some special but safe Christmas treats! 

What should I avoid feeding – Christmas toxicities 

Christmas is an exciting time for us and houses are often filled with Christmas favourites. But for dogs (and other pets too), Christmas is a very dangerous time and there are hazards around every corner!

Below lists some Christmas foods that are hazardous to dogs (this list is not exhaustive):

Christmas pudding and mince pies 

These are traditional Christmas delicacies, but be warned that they must never be fed to your dog. These recipes contain dried fruits and we know that raisins and grapes etc are extremely toxic to pets. Even ingesting a tiny amount can be extremely toxic to your dog and can, tragically, lead to kidney failure. 


Most dog owners are aware that ingesting chocolate (cocoa) will make their dog ill. At Christmas time, there are often boxes of Celebrations and advent calendars around the house, and your dog will know that they are there! The toxicity level is dependent on the type of chocolate eaten, the quantity of it, and the weight of the dog. Depending on the toxicity level (mild to severe), the treatment plan may differ. 

Macadamia nuts 

When dogs eat macadamia nuts it can lead to weakness and gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhoea. These nuts are also very high in fat, and this can lead to the development of pancreatitis.


Once you’ve cooked and carved your Christmas turkey it can be really tempting giving the carcass to your dog. But be cautious doing this because bones can sometimes cause serious problems. When your dog chews them, they can splinter and can lead to intestinal blockages or perforations. 

Onions, herbs and spices 

Do not feed your dog any stuffing leftover from the Christmas dinner! Onions are potentially extremely toxic to dogs and herbs/spices may upset their tummy.


This artificial sweetener is extremely toxic to dogs and once ingested it can cause dangerously low blood glucose levels and can lead to acute liver failure. 

If you think your dog has ingested any of the above hazards please seek Veterinary advice immediately, acting fast is key with any toxicity ingestion.

What Christmas treats are safe to feed my dog?

There is a lot of literature talking about what foods are toxic to dogs but few actually discuss what treats they safely can have. I hope that the following information provides some ideas of how we can include our canine friends into the festive celebrations. And remember, everything should be fed in moderation, too much of anything can lead to gastrointestinal upsets, and that’s the last thing you want to be dealing with over Christmas! 


There are lots of vegetables which can be fed to your dog as a healthy snack and they usually enjoy them, as well as having the added nutritional benefit. Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, swede, and Brussels sprouts are ok to feed in small amounts. Carrots can be fed to your dog either raw or cooked.

Boneless/skinless white meat 

Turkey is often the centre of a Christmas dinner and you’ll be happy to know that your dog can enjoy this too. You can feed your dog a small amount of boneless and skinless turkey, but make sure to avoid feeding any bones or fatty meats. Eating too much fatty foods can cause horrid pancreatitis flare ups.


Dogs can even eat fruit too! Dogs can eat apples (without the seeds), bananas and blueberries and they provide really yummy snacks. And remember, these don’t just have to be fed at Christmas time, they are a great snack for all year round. Feeding healthier snacks such as fruit and vegetables is also really beneficial for dogs on a weight loss programme, as they can still receive treats that are less calorific. 


Mashed or boiled potatoes are fine to feed your dog but do not add any salt, oil, seasonings or butter before feeding them to your dog.

How about cooking up something nice for them?

There are now many wonderful online resources (and even pet recipe books too) containing recipes for you to master up safe home cooked Christmas treats for your dog such as ‘pupcakes’ and yoghurt bones. Just stick with safe ingredients and there’s an awful lot you can do!


To conclude, I hope this article has sparked ideas for safe Christmas treats you can feed to your dog. It is crucial to be aware of the hazards and toxicities and to always ensure they are out of reach from your pets! The last place you want to be on Christmas day is at the emergency Veterinary hospital with your canine companion. Stay safe and wishing you a very Merry Christmas to you and your pets.

Further Reading and More Ideas: