With the festive season fast approaching households across the UK are starting to get excited about their Christmas dinners. 

From pigs in blankets and turkey to mince pies and Yorkshire puddings there are so many delicious foods to look forward to. 

But how many of these Christmas delights are we able to pass on to our dogs?

Glasgow Times: Monthly toxic ingestion claims peaked in December in 2022 according to Animal Friends Pet Insurance.Monthly toxic ingestion claims peaked in December in 2022 according to Animal Friends Pet Insurance. (Image: PA)

The experts at Animal Friends Pet Insurance said they saw monthly toxic ingestion claims peak in December 2022, with Christmas Eve recording the most claims out of the whole year (followed closely by Christmas Day).

Already the pet insurance experts have seen Google search volume for "human foods dogs can eat" increase by 1,257%, and that was from October alone. 

So to make sure dog-owners are aware of what they can and can't feed their fury, four-legged friend this festive season Animal Friends Pet Insurance has teamed up with Director of Clinical Operations at Joii Pet Care, Dr. Sam Webster, to reveal exactly what you can and can’t feed your dog over the Christmas period, and the toxic ingestion signs to be aware of.

Christmas foods you shouldn't give to your dog

There are nine main festive foods to avoid giving your dog this Christmas

Pigs in blankets (and other fatty meats)

Dr Sam said: ”Pigs in blankets and other fatty meats could lead to pet obesity and pancreatitis.

"As much as your pup might beg for a meaty treat, it’s best to avoid giving them these. Instead, stick to unseasoned lean meat such as chicken or turkey.”


Dr Sam explained: “Gravy often has high salt and fat content. You must avoid this, especially in dogs with heart disease or a history of pancreatitis.”

Mince pies, stollen, Christmas Pudding (and other puddings)

Explaining why, Dr Sam said: “Raisins, sultanas and grapes are extremely toxic for dogs and must always be avoided - even small amounts can be dangerous, so refrain from feeding your pup any dessert that has any of these ingredients.

"Mince pies and other puddings with a high nut and sugar content may also cause pancreatitis.”

Cooked bones (e.g. chicken bones, or a roasted lamb bone)

Dr Sam commented: “Cooked bones are not safe for dogs due to them commonly causing constipation, intestinal obstruction or even perforation, piercing a painful hole to internal organs which can be life-threatening.” 


Dr Sam commented: “Dogs should avoid stuffing as it has a high salt and fat content which can be difficult to digest, dogs with heart disease should especially avoid it.

"Stuffing also often contains onions which are highly toxic to dogs.” 

Bulb vegetables (or any onions and garlic)

Dr Sam said: “Bulb vegetables such as onions and garlic are toxic for dogs, very small amounts may not cause issues but should always be avoided to be safe.”

Yorkshire puddings

Dr Sam explained: “Yorkshire puddings can be challenging for dogs to digest due to their high fat and salt content.”


Dr Sam added: “Alcohol is extremely toxic and can have long-lasting effects on their liver and brain.

"Dogs do not metabolise alcohol well and should never be given it - alcohol should also be stored out of a dog’s reach to avoid accidents.”


The expert from Joii Pet Care explained: “Chocolate is highly toxic for dogs, it includes fat, sugar, caffeine and a bitter alkaloid, called theobromine, that can cause nervous system disorders as well as heart and kidney failure.

"Avoid any chocolate related products, e.g. hot chocolate, chocolate bars, chocolate cake.”

This is why you should never feed chocolate to your dogs

Other foods you should avoid giving to your dog this Christmas include:

  • Cured meat and smoked salmon
  • Potatoes with added salt, butter or oil
  • Nuts
  • Sauces (e.g. mint or cranberry)
  • Cheese or cream
  • Sweets

Animal Wellbeing Specialist at Animal Friends Pet Insurance, Catrin George, added: "Besides food and drink, other festive items could prove harmful to your pet too.

"Whilst poinsettia and mistletoe are popular Christmas decorations, if ingested, they can also have toxic consequences."

Symptoms of toxic ingestion

If you are concerned your dog has eaten something he/she shouldn't have, contact your vets immediately.

You can look out for the signs they have eaten something they shouldn't have, by looking out for the symptoms of toxic ingestion. 

These symptoms, according to the experts at Animal Friends Pet Insurance and Dr Sam, are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy
  • Convulsions
  • Drooling
  • Dehydration
  • Tremors
  • High temperature
  • Agitation
  • Pale gums
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Hyperactivity
  • High blood pressure
@animalfriendsinsurance Ever wondered if your pet could also suffer from the winter blues? ❄️ Listen to ‘A Walk in the Park’ as Patricia, Sam and Natalie take on the challenges of the colder seasons: link in bio 🎙️ #podcast #awalkinthepark #joiipetcare ♬ original sound - animalfriendsinsurance

Ms George added: “If you spot your pet eating something they shouldn’t, contact your vet immediately and don’t wait until the symptoms start to appear. 

"If you are unaware of any consumption, but notice any of the signs that we’ve shared, don’t hesitate to contact your vet.”

What foods you can feed your dog at Christmas

Animal Wellbeing Specialist at Animal Friends Pet Insurance, Catrin George, explained that despite the long list of food your dog shouldn't eat, there were a number they could.

She said: “Not all foods at the Christmas dinner table are detrimental for your dog and you can still serve them a pup-appropriate festive meal. 

"A safe dinner can include lean meats, like turkey and chicken, along with some vegetable favourites, such as carrots, parsnips, broccoli and cauliflower, all in moderation and without seasonings."