Canine Christmas Treats – and what NOT to feed them!

Dog and girl with Xmas tree in background Pic: Rex/Shutterstock

Christmas can be a truly decadent time, with many of us enjoying tucking into turkey and all the trimmings, festive choccies, nuts and the odd tipple. It’s only natural that we want to spoil our pooches, too, but remember human food can be toxic for our four-legged friends, so while we may think a bone or gravy may be a special treat, it could have serious consequences for the health of our dogs.

To help keep your pet safe this Christmas, Eukanuba’s veterinary expert Kellie Ceccarelli shares her advice on what food types to keep away from your furry friends over the holidays.


If you enjoy a roast turkey for your Christmas dinner you will be left with bones. Try to ignore the temptation to give them to your dog for a tasty chew. While some dogs eat bones and remain unharmed others aren’t so lucky. Bones can be dangerous and contrary to popular belief do not clean teeth. In fact they can cause painful trauma to gums, get lodged in the roof of the mouth, throat, stomach and intestine which sometimes requires emergency surgical intervention.


Chocolate will not only add to your dog’s waistline but it can be toxic as it contains “theobromine”. When eaten in large quantities, particularly chocolate which contains high cocoa levels, it can be life threatening.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins are toxic for dogs so should be kept out of reach from your pets as well as any Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and biscuits containing raisins. Symptoms include vomiting, hyperactivity, diarrhoea, anorexia (loss of appetite), and lethargy and ultimately can cause kidney failure.


Alcohol should never be fed to dogs as they are much smaller than humans and therefore more susceptible to intoxication.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic will appeal to a dog’s strong sense of smell but don’t give in to any begging, as not only will it cause bad breath but consuming large quantities can be toxic causing a break-down of red blood cells (haemolytic anaemia). In severe cases this can be fatal.

Macadamia Nuts

We’ll often leave some roasted nuts out for nibbling on around Christmas but if you have a dog be sure to keep the macadamia nuts well out of reach. They can cause weakness, panting and swollen limbs. Be careful not to feed cookies and biscuits to your dogs too as these can also contain macadamia nuts.


Eggnog contains a lot of raw egg and although cooked eggs are an excellent source of protein, raw eggs should not be fed to dogs as they can cause bacterial contamination. Raw egg (particularly egg white) can also cause a vitamin B deficiency (Biotin) leading to scaly skin, hair loss and diarrhoea.  Eggnog also contains a little alcohol (or a lot depending on who’s making it) which can also cause problems.

The Best Nutrition For Your Dog

Cute bulldog t Christmas Pic: Rex/Shutterstock

Pic: Rex/Shutterstock

Eukanuba’s veterinary expert Kellie Ceccarelli explains:

During Christmas it can be easy for pet owners to get carried away in the festivities and share food with their animals but it’s really important that you remember to keep your treats out of reach as however much pets appear to enjoy human food it can have a fatal effect.

“For those who want to treat their animals this year, give them a nutritionally balanced diet that provides digestible ingredients. Eukanuba’s Healthy Extra Biscuits are a great treat for your dog’s Christmas stocking.”

. Eukanuba’s Healthy Extra Biscuits

200g bags for Puppy, Adult and Senior from £2.99 at leading pet shops nationwide

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Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!