The Dogís Christmas Dinner - what your dog can and canít eat

31 CommentsThursday, 26 November 2015  |  D for Dog

dog eating Christmas turkeyWhen preparing your Christmas dinner it is fun and a special treat to put some safe bits and pieces by for your dog too, so they can enjoy a special Christmas dinner or treat. But not all food is safe for dogs to eat. Some human food can cause digestive upsets in dogs which is unpleasant but some are far more dangerous and can even result in death.

Once you have viewed the list of food items that are OK for dogs to eat, please remember to still feed human food to dogs in moderation. Too much of any strange food, whether it is harmful or not, can upset your dog’s stomach. No one likes feeling full and bloated on Christmas day. You are in charge of making sure your pet does not eat beyond their own comfort levels. Moderation is the key.

what you can and can't feed your dog at Christmas
OK for your dog’s Christmas dinner

There are quite a few human foods to avoid feeding to your dog but there are some yummy staples of a Christmas dinner that your dog can safely eat in moderation.

Your dog can enjoy small amounts of boneless, skinless white meat.

Cranberry sauce
Feel free to let your dog try a little on their turkey if you like but only a little and only if it is pure cranberry sauce with nothing else added like sweeteners or other fruits, nuts etc...

A tasty festive treat but make sure you only feed your dog plain mashed or boiled potatoes with nothing else added (e.g. salt, butter). Again, moderation is important. Potatoes, no matter how they are prepared or cooked are very starchy, which dogs can struggle to digest.

Take it easy with veggies but you can feed your dog some carrot, parsnip, green beans, courgette, Brussel sprouts, broccoli florets (very small amount only), peas, spinach, cauliflower etc... Most green or mixed veg is fine for dogs. If you do a mashed carrot and swede with your Christmas dinner your dog is sure to love that but don’t add butter or seasoning to their portion. Avoid corn on the cob and bulb vegetables such as onions and leeks.

I love scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for my Christmas Day breakfast. As a treat you can cook your dog an egg too. Eggs are a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals and are good for our dog’s health. If you are worried about the salmonella risk of feeding raw eggs, cook them. Scrambled is a great way to cook eggs for your dog, but don’t add milk, butter or salt of course. As for the smoked salmon, I think the jury is out on that one but I keep that all for myself anyway, lol.

Can be high in sugar and can also be acidic, which can upset your dog's digestion so give in moderation and remove the pips/stones first. The fruit to avoid is rhubarb. The stalk of the plant and also its leaves are toxic to canines.

Don’t feed to your dog

Bird bones
They are hollow and whether raw or cooked they can easily splinter, making them a dangerous puncture or choking hazard.

Turkey or chicken skin
This is far too fatty for your dog. Fat can cause inflammation of the pancreas (Pancreatitis).

Very tasty but too salty and fatty for dogs. They will enjoy their turkey dinner just as much without gravy. It is best avoided.

Onions, garlic and other bulb vegetables (e.g. chives, leeks, shallots)
Onions are a definite no as they are poisonous to dogs. This includes any variant such as onion powder. Also avoid feeding your dog other bulb vegetables e.g. chives, leeks and shallots. Garlic is a contentious issue and while a little bit of garlic is not toxic to your dog it can have a dangerous cumulative effect.

Herbs and spices
Dogs are not used to eating herbs and spicy foods and stomach upsets may result.

A mixture of breadcrumbs with onions, spices and herbs. Therefore best avoided (see above).

Pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon)
Too salty and fatty for dogs.

Grapes, raisins, currants, sultanas
These are fatal to dogs, even in small amounts. Seek veterinary help immediately if your dog eats these foods. Some dogs can cope with eating a few but many cannot and you have no idea which way your dog may react so don’t risk it at all.

Mince pies, Christmas pudding and fruit cake
Apart from being full of dangerous fat, these festive treats contain dried fruits (such as raisins, see above), spices and sometimes alcohol.

A festive favourite for many of us but both the fruit and the stone of the avocado contain a chemical that is dangerous to dogs.

So tasty but a big danger to dogs. It contains Theobromine which can be deadly to canines, even in small amounts. Keep it well out of their reach at all times.

Yeast and uncooked dough
It rises and ferments in the stomach. Not only painful but can be fatal. Keep yeast and dough safely away from your dog when doing your Christmas baking.

Human deserts and sweets
These are way too sugary or if they are sugar-free they contain artificial sweeteners. The sweetener Xylitol is very dangerous to dogs and sugar is bad for your dog’s waistline and teeth.

Macadamia nuts and walnuts are toxic to dogs and salted peanuts of course won’t do your dog any favours. Other nuts such as cashew nuts, pistachios and almonds are OK in small quantities but may be hard to digest and may cause stomach upsets.

Fruit pips and stones
Dogs love fruit but only in moderation and be sure to remove all pips and stones first. Many fruit stones and pips (e.g. apple, cherry, peach, pear, plum, and apricot) contain cyanide, which is poisonous. But actually the danger of intestinal blockage is why this is on our list, which probably poses the greater risk.

Milk and dairy products
Take it easy when it comes to giving your dog any milk and dairy products. Dogs have difficulty digesting lactose so upset stomachs can result.

Some are OK but some are not so our advice is to avoid feeding them to your dog.

Other dog Christmas food tips

  • No booze or caffeine – clear cups and glasses away and put all coffee and alcohol out of reach of your dog.
  • Keep pets out of the busy kitchen to prevent accidents.
  • Don’t over feed your dog – with dog food/treats or with human food/treats.
  • Dispose carefully of wrappers, human food and especially bones.
  • Take the rubbish out and whether the rubbish bags are inside or out secure them so they can’t be broken into. Dispose of leftovers, especially the bird carcass, carefully.
  • Ask all visitors not to feed your pet anything. It is easier than trying to get everyone to follow the food rules above and if everyone gives your pet tit bits it will soon add up to a lot of extra food.

Christmas plants

Finally, don’t let your dog ingest your Christmas greenery. Dog’s love to sniff and nibble at new things in the home. A new plant placed at their level is sure to be investigated. Popular Christmas plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe and holly are toxic to dogs so keep them well out of reach of your pets.

By Jenny Prevel

Disclaimer: D for Dog assumes no responsibility or liability for the content of this article or the listed foods. If unsure, please seek veterinary advice.

J Barnes
Monday, 2 December 2013  |  20:16

very helpful list but I understand that Broccoli is NOT good for dogs and yet you say it is o.k for them.You say no raisins and I think you should have no Christmas cake as this has raisins but people tend to forget this and give dogs cake.

D for Dog
Monday, 2 December 2013  |  20:28

Thank you for your comments. With regards broccoli my research seemed to suggest that the heads are fine, which is why I included broccoli florettes as OK. I also stressed with all the veg that it should be in moderation. I take your point though and will add "very small amount only" to broccoli :-) With regards fruit cake, I did mention not to feed mince pies, Christmas pudding and fruit cake i.e. Christmas cake.

Rachel Lucas
Tuesday, 3 December 2013  |  13:12

You did mention the dangers of fat causing pancreatitis in your very useful article...but I really want to highlight this potentially fatal condition that so many dog owners just do not know about. We were clueless about it ourselves until our beloved wire fox terrier 'stole' almost a whole pack of butter which I had stupidly left on the edge of the work top, just within reach of a jump. She so nearly died. The pancreas becomes inflamed and starts to eat itself, and almost as dangerous is the shock that the dog suffers which can cause death on its own. We were very lucky. She was on a drip with morphine for 4 nights (thankfully insured as the bill was almost £1,000) and lost an amazing amount of weight. She is now on a low fat diet for life at the age if 5, as she has ruined her pancreatic function,& we have to watch & monitor everything she eats. Luckily her favourite treats are raw carrot sticks & raw Brussels sprouts which are fat free. She is very well now and as energetic as ever, but this was so very nearly not a happy ending. I really want to warn all dog owners of the dangers of high fat products, as the pain to dogs and trauma to their owners is a terrible price to pay. Hope everyone has a merry healthy Christmas!!

D for Dog
Tuesday, 3 December 2013  |  13:19

Gosh, thank you for sharing. Yes, fat is more of a danger than I think many of us realise, including myself until I researched the article. I am glad she survived but sad to hear that the effects are lifelong.

Saturday, 3 December 2016  |  1:54

Yes, pancreatitis is awful. Caused by too much fat in a short amount of time, and some breeds are more susceptible. My dog ate avicadhes off the tree. The vet said the fat caused pancreatitis. It cost us $1400 USD. Then, the dog has to go in a bland diet (which they hate) and they are more susceptible to future bouts of pancreatitis. A bite of beef a day is better than all at one sitting , which causes it. And, they get it more frequently at holidays.

Joyce a Bartlett
Sunday, 2 April 2017  |  5:06

I saw my Doberman eating something near the far end of the side fence in the backyard. He had finished it before I could get close to him. In about twenty-four hours he could not lay down because of pain, wouldn't eat and vomited once.
It turned out to be pancreatitis. He wasn't as sick as your dog. The veterinarian gave him a shot for pain, and an antibiotic and pain pills for me to take home. The shot only relieved the pain for a few hours and he was sitting up again in pain. I have a pain pill and called the veterinarian back and a second pain pill was given. It was twenty-four hours and two veterinarian visits before he was truly comfortable from when the pain first started. Then about a week of bland food. I am sorry to hear that other dogs have been much more sick with pancreatitis. Like Rachel said it can be fatal and even milder cases like my dog had can cause your dog a lot of pain. So be sure to keep fatty foods out of reach and dogs can get in amazing places to get something that really smells good and tempts them.

Robert Percy Hollick
Tuesday, 3 December 2013  |  13:59

thanks spread in mash now a no no now

Thursday, 20 November 2014  |  2:17

Are hot dogs and vienna sausages ok for dog's to eat or are they to fatty? I'm just asking because my mom feeds those to her dog's.

D for Dog
Thursday, 20 November 2014  |  9:37

I think standard sausages and pigs in blankets etc... wouldn't be a healthy option for dogs but chunks/slices of those hot dog sausages you get in cans are fine. Many people use them as high value (i.e. yummy) dog training treats :-)

Monday, 1 December 2014  |  17:27

Be careful with feeding to many Hot Dog sausages as they are packed full of salt which is not great for dogs.
Great article though, our dogs love having Chrimbo dinner so its handy to check that your feeding them the right things.

Susan Biggs
Wednesday, 2 December 2015  |  12:15

Thanks for this very informative article which I have shared.

Zoe Herbert
Friday, 25 December 2015  |  16:01

My dog loves veg, cooked or raw. He loves cooked brocolli but will eat pretty much anything cooked or raw. I have today discovered that he likes raw red cabbage and sprouts - are these ok for him???

D for Dog
Sunday, 27 December 2015  |  10:34

Sprouts are fine in small amounts - please see above. Some cabbage should also be fine. With both of those though, watch out for wind. Don't go overboard feeding those types of veggies.

Sunday, 10 March 2019  |  10:54

We give most bed to our Labrador he loves anything as labs do but thanks about the cabbage giving them wind I always wondered what was the cause

June Cookd
Saturday, 26 December 2015  |  13:39

Is it ok for my dog to eat steak pie

D for Dog
Sunday, 27 December 2015  |  10:44

I am not a vet so can only take the same educated guess as the rest of us. If the pie is rich I would say only a very small amount as a taster. The steak part is fine but it depends how it was cooked and always take care with rich sauces, buttery pastry etc...

Thursday, 1 December 2016  |  22:57

I give my dog steak pie, but only the steak part & not before I've put it in kitchen roll & got most of the gravy off with regards to the pastry as said above is full of butter, so be careful

Wednesday, 30 December 2015  |  17:29

some no it all told me i should give my dog/Lady sprouts!!i found the site very helpfull as to which foods i can give my dog/Lady and foods i should not give..

Lisa Beddis
Saturday, 6 February 2016  |  13:08

how safe is baked potatoes as my dog loves them she is a lurcher but is banana danger to eat and is tuna dangerous for them. please could anyone help me with a answer thank you

Julie Daleju
Wednesday, 31 August 2016  |  22:35

very good I have a 5 year old dachshaund who is great as I am disabled he helps me my best friend all the tips very informative

Annie Davies
Sunday, 9 October 2016  |  19:08

My little Cavapoo adores cheese - you say dairy can be a problem so what do you recommend ?

Friday, 23 December 2016  |  15:27

I think cheese is safer than milk - it's something to do with the lactose content, but only used as a tiny treat size for training. Most dogs and cats really love cheese, so be carefull not to leave them alone where they can get to big chunks of it😀

Wednesday, 28 December 2016  |  0:02

Green beans on Christmas dinner are fine as they are super food for dogs

Saturday, 31 December 2016  |  3:58

Oh my with the hot dogs!!!! Absolutely not. As others have mentioned, certain problems are are breed specific, but canines don't have the proper enzymes to digest fats (cooked poultry skin and grease, sausages, cheese,etc...) try boiled liver, duck, or boiled chicken skin removed. People tend to humanise dogs, so they choose what sounds nice as food, but dogs love the heart..liver...and all the gross stuff and it's good for those other e about dairy... it's only safe in the way that really crap candy is safe for us. We don't die...but it's still bad. The hot dogs? Depending on breed and size, it's high pancreatitis risk. I highly recommend cooking a lanm shoulder for the family and letting pup have at the bone x

Wednesday, 20 September 2017  |  13:56

Any bones given to dogs should only be raw as they are soft, cooked bones become brittle and splinter, therefore, could puncture the soft tissue or organs.
This advice is given by specialist vets and breeders. If you do give your dog bones be careful about giving them weight bearing ones as they can damage your dog's teeth.

Saturday, 18 March 2017  |  20:28

My dog is over weight..tried everything.. over cautioned on the onions ..raisins etc..but she is same weight all time if dieted or not.. she is a little pig if honest... so what do I do?.. her dog food is vile to her and takes he a lot to eat bakers. Think she would lose weight but me giving her bits from mine to compensate is wrong.. she loves the odd dog friendly Sunday dinner tho

Jeanne Parker
Tuesday, 27 June 2017  |  9:13

to lovemydog.Dr Harry recommends adding uncooked oats to dog food as this is a healthy option and it fills them up, so you give them less dog food, also good for over weight cats.

Aisha Mostafa
Thursday, 23 November 2017  |  10:02

First of all steel yourself to ignore the longing gazes from your dog even when he races in at the sound of rustling paper. That is half the battle. i have found Hills Metabolic Prescription diet works very effectively (with no treats!). My gluttonous dog finally got bored with this so now he has pouches mixed with grated carrots. Both methods were approved by the vet and work very well. If you need to use training treats then Harringtons do one with only four calories in each treat and I break each treat into four pieces. Of course quantities will depend on your dog, just follow the guides for his target weight. Of course good walks are important too. Key advice though is to ignore the big brown eyes. Hope this helps.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020  |  16:34

I'd like to add one more fruit to this well-informed list, and that is the pips from persimmons, peaches, and plums. It may cause blockage in dog's intestines and therefore should be avoided.

D for Dog
Wednesday, 16 September 2020  |  16:39

OK, those fruits are not traditional Christmas foods but thanks for the info.

Saturday, 25 December 2021  |  5:37

Thank you for all of the amazing information!
My only question is: Can dogs eat all beef boiled hotdogs?
My dog loves them and I usually give him one, cut up. He never seems to act sick or gassy.

D for Dog Online Dog Products and Accessories