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Keep Your Pets Safe This Christmas | Our Guide To Toxic Foods

Christmas is a great time to spoil our amazing pets! Home-cooked turkey dinners... Delicious pet treats... Brand new toys... The list goes on!

However, it's so important to remember that this time of year can potentially expose our pets to some dangerous food items. To help keep our pets safe this Christmas, we’ve provided a list of foods and other items to avoid.


If you celebrate Christmas like us, you can guarantee that there will be plenty of chocolate around! Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is highly toxic to both dogs and cats. Our pets simply can't metabolise this chemical, causing it to build up in their systems as a toxin.

Ingesting chocolate can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, seizures, respiratory failure, and even cardiac arrest. Even small quantities can be disastrous.

Christmas Cake/Puddings/Mince Pies

These foods are full of dried fruits, which are incredibly toxic to dogs. Dried fruits such as raisins and currants can cause acute renal failure and even death. If you think your dog has eaten even the smallest amount of dried fruit, please seek immediate veterinary advice!


These are toxic to dogs even in small quantities and can cause acute renal failure and even death. The impact on cats is unknown, but it is assumed that a similar toxic reaction is likely.

Whole grapes can also be a choking hazard for cats and smaller dogs.


All nuts, but in particular macadamia nuts and walnuts, are toxic to dogs. Even in small quantities, they can cause the following symptoms in dogs:

Upset stomachs, vomiting, tremors, hyperthermia (increase in body temperature above normal), seizures, pancreatitis, staggering and joint pain.

The impact on cats is unknown, but it is assumed that a similar toxic reaction is likely. There is also a choking risk for both dogs and cats.


These foods all contain thiosulphate, which is toxic to dogs and cats. It is worth remembering that many foods, such as gravy and soup, contain these ingredients.

Thiosulphate can damage red blood cells, preventing them from distributing oxygen around the body. This can lead to anaemia, resulting in organ damage and potential organ failure. Symptoms may include vomiting, upset stomach and hypersalivation, and may not develop for one to five days. If you believe your pet has ingested these foods you should seek immediate veterinary advice.

Cooked Bones

When bones are cooked they become brittle, creating a higher risk of them splintering or cracking. Cooked bones can cause choking and vomiting, as well as the bone itself cutting the mouth and gums, or perforating or blocking the intestinal tract.

As tempting as it may be, we strongly advise that you do not feed your pets cooked turkey carcasses or any other cooked bones, and ensure that any turkey trimmings you give your pet are free from small cooked bones.

If you wish to feed your dog bones, it is better to feed them raw bones or antler chews. Always be sure to supervise your pet!


All of these plants are poisonous to cats and dogs. Lilies and Amaryllis are particularly poisonous to cats and can cause kidney failure even in small amounts. This can result simply from a cat brushing against the leaves or flowers of these plants and then grooming itself.

So, it is particularly important to keep these plants away from your pets, as they can be fatal to both dogs and cats. Mistletoe can cause a severe drop in blood pressure, breathing difficulties, seizures, and death. Holly and poinsettias can cause: upset stomachs, drooling and vomiting and in large quantities, poinsettias can be fatal.

Most veterinary practices are closed over Christmas Day and Boxing Day. However, if you require an emergency vet over the holiday period, all practices will have an emergency 24-hour helpline. We highly recommend saving this number in your phone even if there isn't an emergency, as you never know when you're going to need it!

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