Christmas Food for Pets

Christmas is a great time to be with friends, family and pets, and whilst last year was very different, there are high hopes for this one! As you’re enjoying yourself, don’t forget that some traditional Christmas foods can cause issues for your pet.

Young puppies and kittens can be especially curious about all the new things they can see and smell. Read on to find out which foods should be kept out of paws reach and which foods are safe to share.

Pet Stress at Christmas

Amid the festivities, don’t forget that a change in routine can be stressful for your pet. Learn more to help keep your pet calm at Christmas.

What food should I avoid giving my pet at Christmas?

Food plays a big role in Christmas celebrations, but did you know that many of the nation’s favourite Christmas treats are toxic to pets? With all the excitement going on, many pets may even use the opportunity to help themselves to some tasty treats – make sure you keep kitchen cupboards closed, use a sturdy food waste bin that can’t be tipped over, clear away leftover dinner plates and always clean up any spillages and crumbs.

Below are some festive favourites that you should avoid sharing with your pet:

  • Pigs in blankets andgravy are fatty and salty and, if eaten in large quantities, can cause pancreatitis in pets. This is where the pancreas becomes inflamed, resulting in vomiting, loss of appetite and stomach pain.
  • Raisins andsultanas are highly toxic and can cause kidney issues, so keep mince pies, Christmas pudding and fruit cake well out of paw’s reach.
  • Onions, shallots, garlic, leeks andchives are all members of the allium family and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and even anaemia in pets. Avoid feeding pets things like stuffing and onion gravy.
  • Leftover turkey bones,while it may be tempting to give your dog leftover turkey bones, their brittle nature and risk of splintering make them highly dangerous to your pet’s digestive system.
  • Nuts, including macadamia nuts andwalnuts, can cause lethargy, high temperature, tremors, and stomach upset, so always keep them out of the way of inquisitive pets
  • Nutmeg is often used to add spice to festive treats but it’s highly poisonous to pets and can result in tremors and seizures
  • Chocolate is one of the most well-known toxic treats, and it’s usually in abundance at Christmas. Chocolate contains the toxic compound theobromine and eating large amounts of it can be fatal, so it’s essential you keep it wrapped up and out of the way. Ideally avoid hanging chocalte on your tree, but if you must hang it higher up.
  • Alcohol is bad news for pets. It affects them in a similar way to humans, causing drowsiness and lack of coordination, but it can also dramatically lower their body temperature and blood sugar levels, leading to seizures and comas.

If your pet does eat any of these festive toxins, call your local vet immediately for advice. All Medivet 24-hour emergency centres are open throughout the Christmas holidays.

Don’t be tempted to give your new puppy or indeed any dog a little treat under the Christmas table, you don’t want to start a new tradition that will quickly become annoying and will be very difficult to break once the festivities are over.

Ensure that children and elderly guests are aware that they shouldn’t feed the dog chocolate (or any unapproved treats) or leave it in the way of temptation.

Can dogs and cats eat turkey?

Turkey is the ultimate food staple at Christmas. As dogs are omnivores and cats are carnivores, meat is very important for their diet. Turkey is a healthy lean meat that is found in many pet foods. You’ll earn big brownie points from your cat or dog for a piece of plain, unseasoned slice of turkey which is free of bone and skin. Ensure you give this festive treat in small amounts to avoid an upset stomach or other issues.

Can I give mince pies to my dog?

Mince pies contain food which is very poisonous to dogs such as raisins, grapes, sultanas, and currants – which can lead to kidney failure.

Pet-friendly Christmas snacks

Don’t worry, there are a few parts of your Christmas dinner you can share with your pet (not under the table though). Always give these tasty titbits in moderation and reduce the amount of pet food you give them that day to maintain a healthy weight.

Dogs and cats can have:

  • a slice of plain, cooked, white turkey meat
  • a small piece of plain, cooked, boneless salmon
  • raw carrots
  • plain brussels sprouts
  • plain boiled parsnips.

Rabbits can have:

  • raw carrots
  • raw brussels sprouts
  • raw parsnips
  • raw peas
  • fresh rosemary, thyme and sage

Find out more about dog nutrition, cat nutrition or rabbit nutrition.


For more advice on pet safe food, speak to your Medivet practice.

Find your nearest practice

Find your nearest practice


Medivet Healthcare Plan

Regular care that's always there. Our healthcare plan is a convenient way to give your pet the everyday care they need each year to stay happy and healthy.

Pet Advice

Pet stress relief at Christmas

Christmas is a great time to be with friends, family and pets, and although it may be a little different this year, it’s highly likely that there’ll be a change in routine for most pets. Amid the festivities, don’t forget that a change in routine can be stressful for your pet. Learn more to help keep your pet calm at Christmas.

Pet Advice

Keeping your pet safe at Christmas

Keep your pet safe from potential risks in the run-up to Christmas with our advice for the festive season.

Pet Advice

Pet-friendly gifts

We know that many of you lavish gifts on your pets all year, and at Christmas you get to spoil them even more. Most of the shops have an array of pet-safe Christmas gifts available; these range from very practical to rather unusual.