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11 Christmas Food Toxic to Dogs and Cats

11 Christmas Food Toxic to Dogs and Cats

Ho ho ho! The holidays are here. And with it comes delicious home cooked meals shared with loved ones. If you’re a pet parent having family and friends over this merry month, it’s important to be aware of the appetising Christmas food being prepared and laid out in front of your fur family. Your dog may beg for a piece of that baked ham or your cat may be given table scraps that are unknowingly toxic for her. 

We rounded up a list of the most popular dishes and drinks served during the yuletide season that should be kept away from your pets:

charcuterie board

1 Charcuterie 

Take your pick from a variety of cured meats, fruits, nuts, cheese, bread, and sauces found on a charcuterie board to kick off your feast. While you’re munching on these appetisers, avoid giving any of them to your pets. 

Fruits such as grapes and raisins are known to be highly poisonous to dogs and cats. Raw meats such as salami and prosciutto may be dangerous for pets since they may carry bacteria and parasites. Plus, they’re high in salt. 

Nuts including cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios should never be shared with your pets as they may cause obstruction and digestive complications. Sauces packed with chili can also leave a burning sensation in his gastrointestinal system and upset his stomach.

prime rib

2 Prime rib

Though cooked beef is technically non-toxic for dogs and cats, the other ingredients used to prepare this slow-cooked dish are harmful for them. Black pepper, garlic, salt, and red wine are at the top of the list. Any of these ingredients can cause a slew of complications such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, and increased heart rate. Plus, the au jus is high in sodium and fat, making it unhealthy for them.

mashed potatoes

3 Mashed potatoes

This is a tricky side dish to give to your pet. Unflavoured mashed potatoes may be eaten by your dog or cat in small amounts. On the other hand, do not give the dish when it has tons of butter, cheese, milk, and herbs. Or when it is slathered with gravy.

christmas turkey

4 Christmas turkey

Similar to beef, plainly cooked turkey is safe for cats and dogs. However, the butter, bacon, dried apricots, lemons, and macadamia nuts added to create this festive dish may cause health problems. It doesn’t help that onions and garlic (both toxic to pets!) as well as other potentially harmful herbs and spices are included in its stuffing. Furthermore, the cranberry sauce is packed with sugar to add flavour to the dish. 

5 Sweet potato casserole

Dogs and cats can enjoy sweet potatoes, though not when they’re combined with mini marshmallows, brown sugar, butter, and pecans. The starchy root vegetable loses its nutritional value when transformed into this carb-laden holiday dish.

glazed ham

6 Glazed ham

Cats can occasionally eat ham. But since it is high in fat, it can cause obesity, pancreatitis, and heart problems. During the yuletide season, brown sugar and dijon mustard are commonly used to make glazed ham. Both of these condiments are not good for pets. Too much sugar can cause diabetes, obesity, and dental problems. Meanwhile, dogs that eat mustard may get gastroenteritis. 

gingerbread cookies

7 Gingerbread cookies

Dogs and cats can eat fresh ginger in limited quantities. However, the plant turns into a bite-sized, potentially dangerous dessert for pets in cookie form. Common ingredients include sugar, molasses, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom), and eggs. High in oil and fat, this yuletide treat can create digestive issues for your pet that can last for days.


8 Fruitcake

A Christmas staple, this dense loaf consists of sugar, alcohol (liqueurs or brandy), cinnamon, and certain candied fruits that shouldn’t be consumed by your pets. Typically found in fruitcake, raisins are highly toxic for pets, so don’t allow him to nibble on even a small slice.  

sticky toffee pudding

9 Sticky toffee pudding

Another Christmas dessert mainstay, this warm cake shouldn’t be served to dogs and cats. This is mainly because of the dates (a fruit they shouldn’t eat often) found in the moist pudding paired with sweet toffee (made of caramelised sugar, butter, and flour) and pecan sauce. The side of fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream doesn’t help either. 

hot chocolate

10 Hot chocolate

Chocolate is a big no-no for your beloved canine and feline pets. The theobromine and caffeine found in chocolate is extremely toxic for dogs and cats. Drinking it may result in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, spasms, tremors, seizures, or even heart attack.

Moreover, milk does not settle well in the stomachs of adult cats. Drinking it may cause vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, and intestinal cramps. Topping the hot chocolate with marshmallows or candy canes also adds to the empty calories your pet does not need. 


11 Eggnog

This frothy drink consists of milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and whipped egg whites. The fat and sugar content already make it unhealthy for cats and dogs. But some recipes add bourbon or dark rum, which make it even more dangerous for them to lap up. 

A reminder for pet parents: Always err on the side of caution when sharing your Christmas dishes with your beloved pets. You don’t want to put an end to your festivities just because you have to rush your dog or cat to the emergency clinic. Instead of giving them potentially poisonous food, make them feel loved by showering them with extra attention during the holidays.  

Learn more about what your pets can safely eat during the yuletide season by browsing our “can cats eat” and “can dogs eat” categories!

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