Christmas foods that are toxic to dogs

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, but 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, and they will thank you for it in the long run:


Delicious to humans, and also to dogs, but be sure to keep it out of their way. Chocolate contains theobromine; a stimulant that is toxic to dogs and can result in 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)

While the active ingredient that causes toxicity is unknown, grapes and raisins are highly dangerous to your dog. 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 breads, pastries, fruit juice.


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:
It’s 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 are particularly toxic to dogs and can cause extreme gastrointestinal irritation and damage to red blood cells. This is one to be particularly vigilant about as damage is not always evident until a few days after consumption.

Commonly found in:
Stuffing, meatloaf, left overs, sauces and gravies.

Macadamia nuts

Another toxic food to dogs, which 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:
It’s 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.

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

So what foods are safe for my dog?

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

As a final word of caution, dogs can be sneaky thieves when it comes to the kitchen and they will 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, please take them to your veterinarian immediately.