Christmas is really all about food for us humans. From our stockings to our dining tables, food is everywhere during the run-up to Christmas. A lot of the foods we commonly associate with Christmas are highly dangerous for our pets. Let’s take a look at the foods you should keep well out of their reach.

Chocolate: Theobromine is a key ingredient in chocolate and cocoa powder. It is highly poisonous to dogs and cats and if they eat any, it can have a fatal effect on their hearts, kidneys and nervous systems. The same goes for chocolate of any kind, even chocolatey drinks.

Cooked Bones: You should avoid giving cooked bones to your dog because they are known to split, sometimes scratching or getting lodged into your furry friend’s throat and sometimes causing slab fractures of their teeth. Raw bones, which can also cause salmonella, are equally dangerous.

Corn on the cob: The cob might cause a blockage if your pet swallows it. The corn itself isn’t the easiest to digest either so it’s best to avoid feeding corn on the cob to your pet.

Alcohol: Alcohol can cause an array of serious health problems, the most common symptoms being vomiting, depression, visible dizziness and breathing difficulties. Make sure mulled wine, Bailey’s and other such delights are reserved for humans only this Christmas.

Grapes & Raisins: These are highly toxic to pets and can cause kidney failure if they’re eaten. Watch out for the likes of Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, fruitcakes and sweet mince pies.

Onions, garlic and chives: These ingredients are known to cause stomach and red blood cell damage to pets. Be careful while you cook: it’s worth keeping your pets out of the kitchen in case you drop anything.

Nuts: Certain types of nuts, macadamia nuts in particular, can cause our pets to suffer vomiting, depression and hyperthermia if they eat them. They’re also a choking hazard. As with the other foods listed here, keep nuts well away from your pets, take extra care not to drop any and to clean them up right away if you do.

Xylitol: Xylitol is found in most sugar-free treats 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, general discomfort, seizures and even death.

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 steering clear, especially of sausages turkey and chicken skin; you might see it as a Christmas treat but the chances are your pet will resort to begging you for it the next time they see you with it, and if you give in every time, they could end up obese.

What happens if my pet ingests any of these foods? Better safe than sorry. You should contact your vet or relevant out-of-hours provider immediately. If a trip to the vets is necessary, remember to take with you the packaging of whatever your pet has eaten, this will help the vet a great deal because they’ll be able to read the ingredients. If you are unsure, please feel free to contact us at (07) 3103 8432 or send us an email at We would be more than happy to have a friendly chat and provide you with expert veterinary advice.