Festive Foods Pets Should Avoid During Holidays

While Christmas is a special occasion and an excellent time for sharing, many items on the Christmas lunch menu can cause health problems in pets. Pets are not able to digest or metabolise many human foods and as a result they can cause illness in your furry friend. Here are some common festive foods your pet should avoid.

Mince pies and Christmas cake

Cakes, mince pies and puddings at this time of year are full of dried fruits including grapes, raisins and sultanas which contain a toxin that is dangerous for pets. Even a small amount of Christmas sweets can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, and in some cases this can lead to kidney disease.


Stuffing typically contains onions and garlic which are toxic to pets. Onion toxicity can impact the red blood cells causing anaemia. Other symptoms of toxicity can include rapid breathing, pale gums, lethargy, salivation, and vomiting.


It can be tempting to drizzle a small amount of gravy over your pets food, but any gravy containing atsmay contributes to a painful condition called pancreatitis. Similar to stuffing, gravy often has onion and garlic that pets should avoid.


Care must be taken when feeding bones, whether they are raw or cooked. Never feed your pet cooked bones. Cooked bones are soft and can splinter easily leading to dental issues. They may also become lodged in your pet’s throat or mouth or even splinter inside the bowel, causing obstruction or perforation. This would be a potentially life-threatening situation. Feeding cooked or raw bones has potential risks and we recommend talking with your local Greencross Vet for alternative chewing options.


Chocolate contains an ingredient known as ‘theobromine’ that is toxic to pets. This ingredient is in all kinds of chocolate, including white chocolate. Higher levels are found in dark chocolate, cooking chocolate, and cocoa.

Chocolate toxicity causes a wide range of problems. Pets could vomit, suffer diarrhoea, urinate excessively and become hyperactive. They can develop irregular heartbeat, depression, coma or seizures can follow this. In severe cases toxcity can lead to death. Call your local Greencross Vets for advice and take your pet to the vets immediately if they’ve consumed chocolate. A quick response can make all the difference.

If you are looking for advice or you cannot get to the vet, put your mind at ease with a Greencross WebVet consultation where you can speak to a team of veterinarians 24/7.


The rich fragrance of nutmeg can attract the attention of some pets. High levels of nutmeg can harm your pet’s health. If eaten, it can cause increased heart rate, seizures, and tremors.

Avocado and stone fruit

A festive favourite for many, the seed of the avocado (or any stone fruit) can pose a dangerous threat to your pet. Avocados are also high in fat and may contribute to pancreatitis in dogs.


Dogs and cats are susceptible to adverse effects from even the smallest amounts of alcohol, and in large quantities, it can be fatal. Cats can be particularly attracted to cocktails containing cream like White Russians and eggnog, so keep your festive cocktails away from pets.

The main concern for pets who overindulge in Christmas goodies is that they are high in fat. A common condition that can result from pets eating table scraps and human foods is pancreatitis. This is a condition where the pancreas becomes severely inflamed and causes pain and discomfort. It can quickly become life-threatening.

If your pet eats something that they shouldn’t over the Christmas period, contact your local Greencross Vets or an emergency vet as soon as possible. A quick response can make all the difference.

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