Table trimmings to avoid giving your pet this Christmas

When Christmas day comes around, many of us are lucky enough to have a delicious Christmas dinner to enjoy with loved ones. Whether you’re planning to go all out or make it a quiet, cosy Christmas this year, when you’re tucking into your turkey or diving into a vegan wellington, it can be tempting to give our pets tidbits from the table.

However, there are lots of foods we should avoid giving dogs and cats – even if we do want them to get into the Christmas spirit with you! To help you keep your pet as safe as possible this festive season, we’ve put together some of the food you should avoid giving to your fur baby on the 25th of December.

Dog laying by Christmas tree

Bones from meat

Meat is the most obvious treat to give a cat or dog, especially if you have a delicious roasted turkey, chicken or goose on the table. However if there are bones present, these can cause a huge problem for your pet. Bones are a choking hazard, and if they are swallowed, can splinter and tear your pet’s delicate insides. If your pet does swallow bones, contact your vet and monitor them closely. 

Garlic and onions

It can be tempting to give our pets some Christmas vegetables, however if they’ve been cooked in garlic or with onions to spruce them up for your special day, you should keep them away from your pet. Leeks and shallots are also part of the same family, so should only be eaten by human guests!

Even sauces with onions and garlic can cause tummy troubles, so it’s best to avoid giving your pet anything from your plate that might contain onions and garlic or is coated in sauce – gravy, stuffing and bread sauce especially.


Christmas often means that alcohol is flowing, especially during dinner. Don’t be tempted to give your pet a sip though as alcohol is toxic to dogs and cats. Their systems aren’t equipped to handle alcohol, so even a small teaspoon can cause liver and brain damage. Dogs can also suffer from kidney failure, so ensure any spills are cleaned up quickly and full glasses are on surfaces out of reach.

Small dog at Christmas

Sweet treats

Christmas puddings and mince pies are a delicious way to end Christmas dinner, or to settle down with after a big meal. Mincemeat, currants, raisins and sultanas are all toxic to dogs, so you shouldn’t let your pet join in on your post-dinner tradition as puddings and pies often contain these ingredients. A dog’s digestive system can’t easily process raisins so if your pet eats them, it can cause vomiting, which may lead to dehydration and kidney failure.

Chocolate is also highly toxic, and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even seizures – so keep your advent calendars and selection boxes far out of reach. 

Prevention is better than the cure

Sometimes accidents can’t be avoided. Little fingers might give your dog some scraps or your cat might hop onto the kitchen counter to nibble some chicken, so if you find that your pet has gotten their paws on Christmas dinner, you should call your vet and establish how much they’ve eaten.

Prevention is definitely the best way to avoid any Christmas nightmares, so it’s important to monitor your pet throughout the day to make sure they can’t get hold of anything they shouldn’t.

If you want to help your dog and support their digestive system year round, a supplement can be a great way to do so.

Phil’s top tips:

  • Occupy your cat or dog during Christmas dinner with their own food or favourite treats to avoid them circling the table looking for scraps.
  • Ensure everyone at the dinner table knows not to feed your pet – it can be tempting, but know it’s in everyone’s best interest to have a happy and healthy four legged friend joining you for Christmas!
  • Every animal reacts differently to toxic food, so even small amounts can be very dangerous if your pet is sensitive to certain foods. The best approach is to not let them have anything from your plate to avoid causing harm and running up an expensive festive vet appointment!