Harmful Christmas Dinner Foods

Author: Amy Holloway

Christmas is the time to eat, drink and be merry and if done right, that can include your pet too. When you’re preparing and eating delicious festive foods, you can always count on the constant presence of excited and ‘hungry’ pets, with their puppy and kitty eyes making it very difficult to say no.

However much you want to share your festive human food with your pets, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t. In the next few articles, we explain which foods can be poisonous, harmful and even fatal for dogs and cats, and tell you what to do if your pet eats something it shouldn’t. Plus we’ll show you which festive treats you can give your pet safely so you can enjoy this Christmas and many more together.

Here are 7 Foods typically found on a Christmas dinner plate that are harmful to your pet:

If your pet eats any of the foods below, it’s important to contact us immediately for advice or come directly to one of our practices.  

1. Uncooked turkey or chicken

Salmonella is a severe threat to dogs and cats, so avoid throwing them any raw bits of meat and make sure any empty packets are properly disposed of.

2. Turkey or chicken skin

This is far too fatty for your pet. Fat can cause inflammation of the pancreas (Pancreatitis). Plus, if your festive bird has been seasoned with ingredients like sage, onion and garlic, this would be toxic to your pet.

3. Mashed potato

Potatoes by themselves are fine in moderation. What you need to watch out for are all the ingredients that go into the mashed version. If your pet is lactose intolerant, the milk and butter you’re adding can give your furry friend diarrhoea and an upset tummy. In addition, watch out for flavourings. Any added garlic or onion, even in powder form, is toxic to animals.

4. Onions and garlic

Onions are poisonous to cats and dogs whether eaten raw, cooked, in powder form or in leftovers. Signs of poisoning are seen 2–4 days after ingestion and include lethargy, breathlessness, vomiting and diarrhoea. You should also avoid other bulb vegetables such as chives, leeks and shallots. Garlic is a contentious issue, while a little bit of garlic may not be toxic for dogs, it can have a dangerous cumulative effect so it’s best to avoid this.

5. Mushrooms

Some mushrooms are OK but some are not so our advice is to avoid feeding them to your pet altogether.

6. Gravy & stuffing

Remember, many premixed foods such a gravy and stuffing contain onion and/or garlic so always avoid giving Christmas dinner leftovers to your pet.

7. Sage

Of all the seasonings we enjoy at Christmas, sage is a definite no when it comes to cats as it can upset their tummy and mess with their central nervous systems.

Ask us about toxic foods

What to do in an emergency

If your pet has eaten any of these foods, contact our Emergency Care Service immediately, on 01527 889810 even if it’s out of hours – we have emergency cover throughout the holidays. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear as early treatment is critical. Tell us how much of the item your pet has eaten and bring the packaging to our Bromsgrove surgery if you are advised that your pet needs to be seen by a Vet.

Other articles in this series:

FESTIVE PET TIPS – Keep your house tidy and your pet happy this Christmas

FESTIVE PET TIPS:  Don’t forget about your pet this Christmas