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Unsafe Foods For Dogs At Christmas And What To Do If Your Dog Eats Them

The festive season is an exciting time for the whole family, including our beloved pets. Don't forget to treat them with special Christmas dog treats and be mindful of holiday foods that may not be safe for them. Their puppy dog eyes will surely light up when they see their special treats! However, amidst the holiday joy and merriment, it's crucial to be aware of the potential risks certain foods can pose to our pets. Picture this: your beloved pets, with those irresistible puppy eyes, sneaks a bite of that delicious holiday foods you left unattended during Christmas. But little do you know that some holiday foods ingredients commonly found in festive dishes can be harmful or even toxic to pets.

Pets, especially dogs, are naturally curious creatures. During the holiday season, it's important to be mindful of their curiosity and keep an eye on them to ensure they don't explore new tastes and textures that could be harmful. However, it's important to remember that not all human foods are safe for our canine companions, especially when it comes to Christmas dog treats. We may be tempted to give in to those puppy dog eyes, but it's crucial to ensure the safety of our pets. To ensure the well-being of your pets and avoid any unfortunate cases of food-related illness or poisoning, it's essential to know which foods pets should never eat.

Unsafe Foods for Dogs at Christmas

During the festive season, it's important to be aware of the foods that can be dangerous for our furry friends, especially when it comes to Christmas dog treats. Here are some common unsafe foods for dogs to eat at Christmas and what you should do if your pets happen to ingest them.


Chocolate is a popular treat during the holiday season, but it can be toxic to dogs and other pets. This is because pets, like dogs, cannot efficiently metabolize theobromine, a substance found in chocolate that they should not eat. Even small amounts of chocolate can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, and even seizures in pets, especially dogs. Dark chocolate poses an even greater risk due to its higher concentration of theobromine compared to milk chocolate. To keep your dog safe during Christmas festivities, it's crucial to prevent them from eating any form of chocolate.

Macadamia Nuts

While macadamia nuts may be delicious for us to eat, they are extremely harmful to dogs if they eat them. Eating macadamia nuts can cause weakness, tremors, vomiting, hyperthermia, and other neurological symptoms in our canine companions. Even small amounts of macadamia nuts can lead to severe reactions in dogs. Therefore, it's essential to ensure that any dishes or desserts containing macadamia nuts are kept away from your dog's reach.


Alcohol consumption by dogs can have serious consequences and should always be avoided. Dogs are highly sensitive to alcohol and ingesting even small amounts can result in alcohol poisoning. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in dogs include disorientation, lack of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and in severe cases, coma or death. To prevent any mishaps during holiday gatherings or parties, make sure alcoholic beverages are securely stored where your dog cannot access them. Exercise caution when disposing of empty alcohol containers as some dogs may try to lick residue left inside.


Xylitol is an artificial sweetener commonly found in sugar-free gum, candies, baked goods, and other products. While it may be safe for humans, it can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Ingesting xylitol can lead to a sudden release of insulin in a dog's body, causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can be life-threatening. To keep your dog safe, check ingredient labels carefully and ensure that any xylitol-containing products are kept out of their reach.

Other Foods to Avoid

In addition to the aforementioned foods, there are several other festive foods that should be avoided as they can be toxic or harmful to dogs. Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage a dog's red blood cells if ingested in large quantities. Avocado contains persin, which is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting and o. Grapes, raisins, and sultanas are known to cause kidney failure in dogs. Fatty foods like turkey skin or ham can lead to pancreatitis in dogs. Finally, spices such as nutmeg and sage should also be avoided as they can be harmful to our four-legged friends.

It's important to remember that prevention is key. By being aware of the unsafe foods for dogs at Christmas and taking necessary precautions, we can ensure that our beloved pets enjoy a happy and healthy festive season.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Unsafe Foods

If you suspect your dog has ingested an unsafe food, it's crucial to take immediate action. Contact your veterinarian right away for guidance and assistance. They are the experts who can provide you with the best advice on how to handle the situation.

Contact Your Veterinarian Immediately

The first step is to get in touch with your vet as soon as possible. Time is of the essence. Call your vet's office and explain the situation clearly and calmly. Be prepared to provide them with important information such as:

  • The type of food that was consumed
  • The quantity of food ingested
  • Any observed symptoms or changes in behavior

Follow Professional Guidance

Your veterinarian will provide specific instructions based on the situation at hand. It's essential to follow their guidance carefully, as they have the knowledge and expertise necessary to deal with these situations effectively.

  • Do not induce vomiting without professional instruction: While inducing vomiting may seem like a logical response, it can actually worsen the situation depending on the toxin involved. Some substances can cause more harm if brought back up, so always wait for instructions from your vet before attempting any home remedies.

Monitor Your Dog Closely

While waiting for further instructions from your veterinarian, keep a close eye on your dog's condition. Watch out for any changes in behavior or physical symptoms that could indicate a reaction or illness.

  • Observe for common signs of distress: Symptoms may vary depending on the type of food consumed and its toxicity level. Keep an eye out for signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, difficulty breathing, weakness, tremors, seizures, or abnormal behavior.
  • Be vigilant even if no symptoms are present: Some toxic substances may not immediately show noticeable symptoms but can still be harmful over time. Stay alert and report any changes to your vet.

Preventive Measures

To avoid such incidents in the future, it's important to take preventive measures and ensure that unsafe foods are kept out of your dog's reach during holidays or special occasions.

  • Educate yourself about unsafe foods: Familiarize yourself with a list of common foods that are toxic or harmful to dogs. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and keep your furry friend safe.
  • Secure food items properly: Store potentially dangerous foods securely and out of reach. Keep garbage bins tightly closed, as dogs can be notorious for scavenging through them.
  • Communicate with guests: If you're hosting an event where there will be food around, inform your guests about the risks involved and request their cooperation in keeping unsafe foods away from your dog.

Remember, quick action is crucial if you suspect your dog has ingested something harmful. Contacting your veterinarian immediately and following their guidance can make a significant difference in ensuring the well-being of your beloved pet.

List of Unsafe Foods for Dogs

It's important to be aware of these foods and take necessary precautions to keep your furry friends safe.

Bones (Including Christmas Ham Bone)

Cooked bones can be extremely dangerous for dogs. They can easily splinter and cause choking hazards or internal injuries. So, as tempting as it may be, never give your dog cooked bones from meat dishes or leftovers, including that delicious Christmas ham bone. Instead, opt for safe alternatives like specially designed chew toys or treats recommended by veterinarians.

Onions (Allium Species)

Onions may add flavor to our dishes but they are toxic to dogs. Allium species, which include onions, garlic, leeks, and chives, contain compounds that can damage a dog's red blood cells and lead to anemia. Make sure to avoid feeding any food containing onions or onion powder to your four-legged friend.

Raisins, Grapes, and Sultanas

Although small in size, raisins, grapes, and sultanas can have severe consequences if ingested by dogs. These fruits can cause kidney failure in dogs and should be kept away from their reach at all times. Be cautious when serving fruit salads or desserts that may contain these ingredients.

Christmas Cake, Mince Pies, and Christmas Pudding

While these festive treats might be delightful for us humans, they contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs. The combination of dried fruits such as raisins and currants along with alcohol in some recipes makes them toxic for our furry companions. Keep these sweet indulgences out of your dog's reach.

Sage and Onion Stuffing

Sage and onion stuffing is a popular side dish during the holidays but it should not be shared with your canine companion. Onions present in the stuffing can be toxic to dogs, while sage contains essential oils that can cause stomach upset and central nervous system depression. It's best to keep the stuffing away from your dog's plate.

Toxic Christmas Food for Dogs

In addition to the specific foods mentioned above, it's important to be aware of other common Christmas foods that are toxic to dogs. Chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, macadamia nuts, and xylitol (a sugar substitute) should all be kept away from your furry friend as they can have serious health implications.


Nutmeg may be a popular spice in holiday recipes, but it is important to keep it away from your furry friends. While it may add a festive flavor to our dishes, nutmeg can be toxic to dogs. It contains a compound called myristicin, which can cause hallucinations, increased heart rate, and even seizures in dogs.

If your dog accidentally ingests nutmeg, it's crucial to monitor their symptoms closely. Look out for signs of distress such as vomiting, diarrhea, or unusual behavior. Contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance on the best course of action. Remember, prevention is key - always store nutmeg and other potentially harmful spices securely out of reach from your curious canine companions.

Cooked Bones (Including the Christmas Ham Bone)

While it may seem like a generous treat to give your pup the leftover Christmas ham bone to chew on, it can actually be extremely dangerous. Cooked bones are brittle and prone to splintering easily when chewed on by dogs. These sharp fragments can cause serious injuries such as choking hazards or internal damage if swallowed.

Instead of giving your dog cooked bones, opt for safer alternatives such as durable chew toys specifically designed for dogs. These toys provide them with an outlet for their chewing instincts while reducing the risk of injury. You can consider offering raw bones that are appropriate for canine consumption under proper supervision.

It is essential to educate yourself about the potential dangers associated with certain foods before sharing them with your four-legged friend during the holiday season. The last thing you want is an emergency trip to the veterinary practice due to an avoidable mishap.

To summarize:

  • Nutmeg should be kept away from dogs as it can be toxic and lead to various health issues.
  • Cooked bones, including Christmas ham bones, pose a significant risk of splintering and causing harm when chewed on by dogs.

Remember, our pets rely on us to keep them safe and healthy. While it's tempting to share our festive treats with those puppy dog eyes staring up at us, it's crucial to prioritize their well-being above all else. Stick to dog-friendly treats and toys, and consult your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has consumed something unsafe.

What should I do if my pup eats unsafe foods? If your dog consumes harmful foods, it is important to take the appropriate next steps. Contact your veterinary practice immediately.

If your dog consumes unsafe foods, it's important to act quickly. Contact your vet immediately for guidance. They may advise inducing vomiting at home or recommend bringing your dog in for an examination. Remember not to induce vomiting without professional advice as it may worsen the situation.