Dog-friendly Christmas tips and tricks

5 Minutes

Christmas dachshund

Dog-friendly Christmas tips and tricks

Christmas is the most magical time of the year with gift giving, tasty treats, joy all around, and we, of course, want our furry friends to enjoy it as much as we do! As pet paw-rents ourselves, we know it can be extremely tempting to spoil our pets, especially when we treat ourselves over the festive period (as we should!) However, it is important to understand what is and isn’t suitable for our pups.

From food to houseplants, and plenty of other homeware items lying around your festive abode; our expert nutritionists have compiled a full guide to your dog-friendly Christmas below…

What Christmas food is toxic to dogs?

  • Chocolate – One of the most well-known toxic foods, beware of rogue chocolates that fall out of the tin, as well as the Christmas tree chocolates that may fall to the floor and into snooping snouts.
  • Grapes and raisins – It may be thought that these wouldn’t be too harmful for dogs, especially as a little taster at the table, but grapes and raisins are both highly toxic to dogs. Keep Stollen and fruit cake out of reach, as they have lots of these in the recipe.
  • Macadamia nuts – these nuts might be tasty to us humans, but they can cause vomiting, weakness, hyperthermia and even depression in dogs. Watch out for your pups around Christmas cake, puddings, and pies that contain these.
  • Onions – avoid all onions like leeks, shallots, chives, and garlic as they’re all harmful to our paw-fect pooches. Common Christmas foods include sage and onion stuffing & onion gravy!
  • Alcohol - there are plenty of dog friendly alternatives on the market, so you don’t even need to leave them out of the toasts! This includes any food which has alcohol as an ingredient too.
  • Artificial sweeteners – these contain Xylitol which can cause vomiting and low blood sugar. Xylitol can be found in some chewing gums, mouthwashes, toothpastes and supplements, and sometimes non-dog-friendly peanut butter. So, make sure to keep these out of your pup’s reach and dispose of correctly and safely.
  • Fatty and salty foods - such as blue cheese. As well as excessive volumes of animal fats (like goose-fat roast potatoes) because these can cause digestive upset. These shouldn’t be consumed regularly throughout the year, so your dog’s tummy will not be used to this.

All in all, most tasty Christmas foods are usually quite fatty or rich, so your dog consuming too much may result in a nasty bout of vomiting and diarrhoea. Large, high-fat meals can also lead to pancreatitis - a very painful and serious condition.

If there is any food left over at Christmas which isn’t dog friendly, be careful to dispose of it well and keep out of doggy reach. Not only could there be food that includes ingredients that are toxic to dogs, but mould in leftovers - including yoghurt, bread, and cheese - can produce toxins that cause illness in a short space of time.

What Christmas food is safe to feed dogs?

  • Green vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts
  • Parsnips
  • Carrots
  • Lean meats such as turkey and chicken without the bones
  • Salmon skins
  • You can also add a small amount of home-made stock or gravy (onion free!) to your dog’s usual food occasionally, as a treat

Our nutritionists warn to be wary of portion sizes, even when it comes to healthier options! It’s the same for our furry friends as it is for us at Christmas time, enjoy everything in moderation - over indulgence, even of dog friendly foods, can lead to digestive upset.

Which Christmas plants are toxic to dogs?

  • Holly - the plant itself is considered low toxicity but holly berries may result in stomach upset
  • Poinsettia – can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach with over production of saliva and may result in vomiting
  • Mistletoe - ingestion of mistletoe berries may also lead to stomach upset. American species of the plant are considered even more dangerous!
  • Christmas trees - Mild stomach upset may occur if your furry friend consumes the pine needles. These are sharp and could also cause internal and external damage to pets too! This is not to say we can’t have a bushy, fresh tree in the home, but take care where it is situated, and ensure regular cleaning of the area is prioritised.

What other Christmas home items are dangerous to dogs?

  • Christmas decorations - if ingested, these can cause serious harm by blockages. The glitter and paint are more than likely toxic to our if ingested too. Therefore, decorations are key to be kept out of reach of dogs (especially inquisitive puppies!)
  • Electrical cables – an obvious watch out but as you would when puppy-proofing your home, try to keep excess electrical cables tucked away over the winter season. Especially when your home may be a busy location where curious canines may not always be watched.
  • Wrapping paper - these days, wrapping paper usually include glitter or other decorative features, so these elaborate types must be kept out of doggy mouths. However, we’re not here to suck the fun out of it! It’s exciting to unwrap gifts, just look to keep your eyes peeled and remove the paper from their reach once it hits the ground.
  • Candles – these are toxic as most would expect, so let’s keep them off the ground, please.

If you're looking to create a special festive menu for your pooch this Christmas, we've got options for every course at Barking Heads! Why not start with a little Pooched Salmon dry food, then move on to a taster of Top Dog Turkey wet food for the main and we've even got after dinner mints sorted with our Floss N Gloss Dental Sticks! Plus our Tuck Shop Bundle makes the perfect gift for your furry friend. 

For further expert guidance during the Christmas season, check out our resident Vet, Dr Scott Miller’s advice here.

*The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified pet health provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s health*

Products in this Article
Barking Heads Pooched Salmon Dry Dog Food

Pooched Salmon - Dry Food

£6.69 - £85.75

Barking Heads Top Dog Turkey Wet Dog Food

Top-Dog Turkey x10 - Wet Food

£18.00 - £60.75

Barking Heads Tuck Shop Large Breed Bundle

Tuck Shop - Medium & Large Breed Treat Bundle



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