Christmas Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs

Three dogs in front of a Christmas tree

As a pet owner, you probably already know that some human foods are toxic to dogs. However, you might not be aware of all of the foods to avoid giving dogs, and it certainly never hurts to brush up on your pet parenting knowledge — especially before the holiday season when it might be tempting to give your pup a little extra something special for being so good this year.

Everybody loves Christmas! It’s a time to put up decorations, give each other gifts, and overindulge in all sorts of delicious treats.

For your pet dog, though, snacking on the wrong types of Christmas treats can do more than just pack on the pounds. Some common human foods are toxic to dogs and can cause severe toxic reactions, irreversible damage to their health, and in the worst cases, even death. Human food is meant for humans, and your dog’s digestive system just isn’t built to process some of the things we eat.

Don’t be caught off guard this Christmas by offering your dog a bite of your Christmas treats. Familiarize yourself with our checklist of the most toxic human Christmas foods for your dog — they’ll thank you for it in the long run.


Chocolate is delicious to humans (and dogs, too), but be sure to keep it out of their way. Chocolate is one of the human foods that is toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine, a stimulant that can cause kidney failure, heart damage, and damage to the central nervous system. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, hyperactivity, and seizures.

Commonly found in:

Cakes, cookies, candy, and in its pure form, wrapped and under Christmas trees where naughty dogs can sniff it out!

Grapes (and Raisins)

Grapes and raisins should be at the top of your list of foods to avoid giving dogs. While the active ingredient that causes toxicity is unknown, just one grape or raisin can result in severe liver damage and kidney failure.

Commonly found in:

Mince pies, breakfast cereals, desserts and puddings, fruit bread, pastries, and fruit juice.


It’s not only human foods that are toxic to dogs — beverages can be dangerous too. Even in small doses, alcohol can seriously harm your dog. Aside from the ‘human’ type effects, such as intoxication, sickness, and diarrhea, alcohol can lead to irreparable central nervous system damage, coma, and death.

Commonly found in:

Its pure form, but also in certain extracts (vanilla extract is 35% ABV, for example), medicines, and even mouthwash.

Onion and Garlic

Whether dry, raw or cooked, these aromatics are particularly toxic to dogs and can cause extreme gastrointestinal irritation and damage to red blood cells. You should be particularly vigilant about these human foods that are toxic to dogs because the damage isn’t always evident until a few days after consumption.

Commonly found in:

Stuffing, meatloaf, sauces, gravies, and leftovers.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are another common holiday food to avoid giving dogs. They can result in damage to your dog’s muscles and central nervous system within just 12 hours, indicated by weakness, panting, vomiting, tremors, and swollen limbs.

Commonly found in:

Its pure form, and added to cakes, cookies, and other treats.

Artificial Sweetener (Xylitol)

Ingestion of artificial sweeteners can send your dog into hypoglycemia, which is linked to both liver failure and blood clotting disorders. Even small amounts can be extremely dangerous and require immediate veterinary attention. Always check the ingredients list to ensure there are no human foods that are toxic to dogs that could be overlooked.

Commonly found in:

Many sugar-free, diet, low-calorie, or diabetic foods contain sweeteners and should be kept out of your dog’s reach.

Shop All Natural Dog-Safe Treats

Two dogs with Christmas-themed collars

Quite simply, some human food should be kept for humans. If you want to give your dog a Christmas treat that you know is safe, avoid the foods you would eat, and choose our Premium Chicken Jerky Dog Treats instead. These are all-natural, contain dog-safe ingredients, and are made from nothing that could harm your dog.

As a final word of caution, refusing to give your pup human foods that are toxic to dogs isn’t enough. Dogs can be sneaky thieves when it comes to the kitchen, and they’ll often help themselves to your food without permission. If you have any doubt whatsoever that your dog has eaten one of the foods in our checklist of foods to avoid giving dogs, please take them to your veterinarian immediately.

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