When 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.
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.
Turkey 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...
Potatoes 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.
Vegetables 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.
Eggs 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.
Fruit 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).
Gravy 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.
Stuffing 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.
Avocados 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.
Chocolate 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.
Nuts 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.
Mushrooms 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.
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.