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What Can Dogs Eat At Christmas?

19th December 22

It’s that wonderful time of year when we all feel like giving and indulging in our favourite edible treats. With Christmas cheer in abundance, it’s only natural the pet owners amongst us want to pass that on to our beloved pets.

If you’re a dog owner, you might be tempted to give your dog Christmas treats in the form of a little food off your plate, but do you know which Christmas foods are toxic to dogs? Find out below!

What Can Dogs Eat On A Christmas Dinner?

To help you protect your pooch, we’ve highlighted the festive foods your dog can and can’t eat, so you can be sure you provide your pet with a dog-safe Christmas dinner.

full christmas dinner on table

Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

The go-to nibble during the festive period, cheese is enjoyed by people all over, either as a snack throughout the day or as an alternative to desserts post-dinner. With such powerful aromas, your dog will no doubt have their eye on the cheese board too, but is cheese good for dogs to eat?

As a rule of thumb, yes it is, but only small quantities are recommended as the occasional treat. You also need to bear in mind if your dog has a lactose allergy or intolerance to cheese, as, like humans, they can be sensitive to certain foods.

There are some cheeses, however, that should be avoided. The roquefortine C substance that is produced by the fungus in blue cheese is typically something that upsets their stomachs, and any cheeses that have secondary ingredients like garlic and onion can also cause dogs harm.

Can Dogs Eat Christmas Ham?

Ham isn’t toxic for dogs, but it’s not the best meat your dog can have either. When given in small quantities your dog eating ham shouldn’t be a problem, but as it’s a meat that can often contain high levels of sodium it can be harmful.

The high-fat content in Christmas ham can also be bad for dogs as it can lead to pancreatitis, which is a serious health condition you want to avoid.

Can Dogs Eat Christmas Turkey?

Yes! Turkey is a great treat for your dog this Christmas, just make sure it’s boneless and you remove the skin first. Much like ham, the skin on turkey is very fatty so be sure to take that off before feeding your pup.

Turkey bones can also be dangerous for dogs, especially cooked ones, so it’s best to just give your dog lean turkey meat for a worry-free Christmas treat.

turkey on plate in front of dog

Can Dogs Eat Brussel Sprouts?

As much as scraping a few sprouts into Fido’s bowl is a tempting way to get rid of the Christmas veg most people seem to hate, you need to check whether sprouts are harmful to dogs first.

Like most human foods, sprouts are good for dogs in moderate quantities, but it’s certainly worth feeding your dog a sensible portion of these nutrient-loaded veggie balls every now and again.

This is because sprouts are filled with:

  • Vitamins C, A, B1, and B6
  • Vitamin K – aids in proper blood clotting, bone development, heart protection
  • Antioxidants that reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation

The downside of your dogs eating too many brussel sprouts at Christmas, or at any other time, is that they have high levels of fibre that when overly consumed can give them lots of gas and diarrhoea. This can be incredibly uncomfortable for your dog but also isn’t a nice thing for you to deal with!

Can Dogs Eat Christmas Mince Pies?

No. Traditional mince pies are an absolute no-no for dogs as the mincemeat is made from ingredients that can lead to acute kidney failure and even death in severe cases. This is because raisins are a key ingredient, and in their former lives were grapes, which are a renowned toxic food for dogs.

If your dog is fed or steals a mince pie this Christmas, call your vet right away.

Can Dogs Eat Christmas Cake?

This is asked in the same breath as ‘can dogs eat Christmas pudding?’, the answer to which is again, no. Like mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake all have dried grapes in the form of currents, raisins, or sultanas within them. So be sure to keep these toxic treats well away from your dog this Christmas.

dog sitting at table next to snowman

What Not To Feed Your Dog At Christmas

The list of what can’t dogs eat at Christmas is no doubt extensive, so we’ve helped by summarising some of the other foods on the ‘doggy don’t’ list below.

To keep your dog safe this Christmas, don’t feed them:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Garlic
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions
  • Sage and onion stuffing
  • Salt
  • Stollen

What Can I Give My Dog For Christmas Dinner?

Don’t worry, Christmas for dogs can also be a time to enjoy a special edible treat so long as you choose the right ones.

Our go-to list of what can dogs eat at Christmas includes:

  • Lean cooked meats
  • Slices of apples, oranges, bananas, and watermelon – de-seeded
  • Carrots, green beans, cucumber slices, courgette slices, cooked potato
  • Cooked white rice and pasta

dog sniffing food in dog bowl

Other Things To Be Wary Of This Christmas

The list of toxic things your dog can consume this Christmas isn’t just limited to food, we all know how much they will take their chances at trying to nibble most things! This is why it pays to be wary of any new addition to your home during the festive season.

Are Christmas Trees Poisonous To Dogs?

No. Many people ask the question ‘can you have a real Christmas tree with a dog?’, as the variety typically used is fir, spruce or pine, your pet should be safe as these trees are all non-toxic to dogs.

One of the problems trees cause pets comes from the needles which can stick in their paws when trodden on, or irritate their mouths, and tummy if ingested.

The main thing to watch out for with your tree, however, is the decorations you use. Glass baubles can be dangerous and edible decorations like those made from chocolate can be highly toxic to your dog. The best bet is to either not use them or keep these ones up high and out of reach.

Is Holly Toxic For Dogs?

Yes. The leaves and red berries on holly are toxic and often lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, the leaves are also quite spikey so can be painful to walk on or chew.  

What About Mistletoe?

Yes. If your dog ingests mistletoe it can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion and breathing problems. So, be sure to keep it secured and out of reach if you’re having it in or around your home.

dog being examined by vets

Study Canine Nutrition Online

This list of toxic things your dog can eat may sound scary, but if you know what to look out for it is easy to keep your pet safe from harm at Christmas, and throughout the rest of the year.

Our online canine nutrition course is designed to give you an in-depth understanding of canine nutrition, ideal feeding regimes and the impact that diet has on canine health and behaviour.

This is perfect for any pet owner who wants to meet their dog's nutritional needs, but it’s also an accredited, Ofqual-regulated qualification that demonstrates proficiency in this area for people working with canines or looking to become a Canine Nutritionist.

If you want to amplify the health of dogs in your life through their diet, check this course out on our website. You can also keep track of all animal awareness days and events with our FREE calendar! Download it here.

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