Dog Expert Advises The Dangers of Christmas Food For Dogs – Risk of Seizures, Vomiting and Even Death



Theobromine is the main toxic in chocolate, and it’s extremely similar to caffeine. Both chemicals are used as a blood vessel dilator, a smooth muscle relaxant and a heart stimulant in humans, but dogs aren’t able to process these in the same way. Ingestion  can cause illness and even death.

Make sure selection boxes are sealed at all times, ideally store them up high – somewhere your pet can’t reach. The same goes for chocolate of any kind, even chocolatey drinks.

Grapes and raisins

Grapes are very toxic to pets and can cause kidney failure if they’re eaten, which can catch people off guard as dogs are able to eat other fruits.

Be mindful of any Christmas cakes, Christmas pudding, fruitcakes and sweet mince pies, ensuring your dog isn’t getting into them.

Xylitol (sweetener)

Xylitol is found in most sugar-free items such as chewing gum, sweets and some types of peanut butter. It can also be used in toothpaste/mouthwash and in certain baked goods. If your pet ingests any such product, they’re at risk of vomiting, seizures, general discomfort, and even death.

Cooked bones

Avoid giving cooked bones to your dog, because they are prone to splitting, sometimes scratching or getting lodged into your dog’s throat, which can cause slab fractures of their teeth.

Raw bones can also cause salmonella, and are equally dangerous, so it’s best to avoid giving your dog bones this Christmas and stick with standard dog toys instead.

Corn on the cob

The cob can cause a blockage if your pet swallows it, and corn can be difficult to digest, so it’s best to avoid giving them to your dog.


Alcohol can cause an array of serious health problems, the most common symptoms being vomiting, visible dizziness, depression, and breathing difficulties. Monitor the location of your alcohol and prevent your pets from having access to any bottles or glasses that could lead to them ingesting alcohol. 

Onions, garlic and chives

These ingredients are known to cause stomach and red blood cell damage to pets. Be mindful whilst cooking: it’s worth keeping your pets out of the kitchen in case anything is dropped onto the floor. Once all food is prepared, be sure to have a thorough clean up (especially of the floor) before allowing them back in.


Certain types of nuts, macadamia nuts in particular, can cause pets to suffer with hyperthermia, vomiting, depression and if eaten, and also pose a risk for choking.

Fatty foods

Although harmless in small doses, fatty foods could give your pet an upset stomach and can sometimes lead to pancreatitis – a painful and debilitating condition that can be fatal in some cases.

It’s worth avoiding food items such as sausages and turkey skin, as it may seem like a Christmas treat but can cause health problems later on. 

What do I do if my dog eats something dangerous?

You should contact your vet or an out-of-hours service immediately. If a trip to the vets is necessary, take the packaging of whatever your pet has eaten with you. This will help the vet determine the amount eaten and what course of treatment will be most effective.”

City Dog Expert

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