Alas! Christmas season is finally drawing near! When we think of Christmas, we imagine cold nights, presents, and of course, lots and lots of food! Food is always at the center of holiday festivities. Expect full tables and parties left and right during the drum-up to Christmas eve.

For dog and cat owners, the holidays mean tasty leftovers and take-home goodie bags for your four-legged pals at home. While it might be tempting to share our favorite Christmas foods with our furry family, we must remember that some common foods we usually associate with the holidays are unhealthy and even potentially life-threatening to our pets.

If you want to leave the vet clinic out of your holiday itinerary, keep your dogs and cats away from these dangerous Christmas foods:

Christmas foods that are bad for your dogs and cats


Every pet owner, old or new, must know by now that chocolate is poison to dogs. While humans cannot ever stay away from this sinful wonder, keep your furry companions as far away from these as possible. 

Chocolates contain Theobromine, which is highly poisonous to dogs and cats. Ingestion of chocolate in any form or amount may have a fatal effect on their organs and nervous system. 

Small bones

Contrary to popular belief, bones aren’t always good for pets. Small bones like chicken or turkey bones can be very risky for your pets. While this isn’t exactly poisonous, it’s a definite choking hazard. 

Bones can easily be lodged into your pet’s throat or pierce through their gums. When accidentally swallowed, bones may even irritate the gut or puncture the stomach, which could require immediate surgery in extreme cases. 

Allium vegetables

It seems drastic to remove an entire family of vegetables from your pet’s menu, but trust me, it’s for the best. 

Bulbous plants such as onions, leeks, garlic, and scallions form part of the allium family. I know what you’re thinking –  it must be ludicrous to miss out on these flavorful garnishes; after all, most of our favorite savory Christmas dishes include at least one member of the allium family. 

Plants in the allium family contain a harmful compound called thiosulfate that negatively affects red blood cells. Digesting toxic doses of these plants can cause dogs and cats to suffer stomach pains, fatigue, and weakness. What’s more alarming is that symptoms of pet poison due to alliums do not appear until after several days. 

Cat in Christmas decoration
No matter how much your cat or dog may be begging, some Christmas foods are really bad for them and should be avoided.


Nuts may seem like a healthy organic treat for your pets, but don’t be fooled. Ingesting certain nuts such as macadamia may cause diarrhea, vomiting, depression, and even hyperthermia. Nuts are also a choking hazard, so you better keep a watchful eye. 

Be aware of treats that contain nutty substances too. They might look innocent, but it pays to be mindful. 

Ham and other processed foods

I can’t even begin to imagine having Christmas without ham — It’s just part of the tradition to have a good ham on the table during the holidays. However, ham and other processed foods are high in fat, which may lead to obesity in pets. 

You can keep your cheat days to yourself because large amounts of calories can be harmful to small dogs and cats. These processed foods may even cause illnesses such as pancreatitis, upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Grapes and/or Raisins

Grapes and raisins are popular during the holiday season because of their versatility. You can eat them on their own, throw them in a salad, or even mix them in a baked dessert.

As much as we love grapes, we need to keep them out of our pets’ reach. Grapes or raisins are potentially deadly for dogs and cats — it can cause irreversible damage and sometimes even fatal kidney failure in dogs. 

How to ensure pet-friendly Christmas dining

Christmas should be a happy occasion for the entire family, and yes, family includes our dogs and cats. 

There’s nothing wrong with spoiling your pets with holiday treats, however, be extra mindful as poor feeding can quickly turn merriment into misery.

If you want to keep your dogs and cats safe while still giving them a taste of the season, consider pet-friendly treats such as chicken meat without skin or bones, fish fillet, carrots and peas, and cooked potatoes. 

Be mindful of your pets’ allergies and keep your vet on the line in case of any unexpected gobbles.