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Beware of Festive Feasts: Foods Toxic to Dogs During the Holiday Season

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foods toxic to dogs during the holiday season

As the holiday season approaches, many of us look forward to festive gatherings, delicious meals, and sweet treats. However, amidst the celebration, it’s crucial to remember that some holiday foods can be harmful to our four-legged friends. Dogs are known for their curious nature and, unfortunately, may not discriminate when it comes to what they eat. In this article, we’ll explore the top foods that are toxic to dogs during the holiday season and provide tips on how to keep your furry companions safe.


While it’s a popular treat for humans, chocolate is a big no-no for dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that dogs metabolise much more slowly than humans. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are particularly dangerous due to their higher theobromine content. Ingesting chocolate can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, increased heart rate, and even seizures. Ensure that all chocolate treats are kept well out of your dog’s reach.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins, common ingredients in holiday dishes and desserts, can be toxic to dogs. Even a small amount can cause kidney failure in some dogs. Keep fruit bowls and trail mix containing raisins away from your dog’s reach, and be cautious when sharing snacks with your pet.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic, often found in savoury holiday dishes, can cause damage to a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anaemia. Both raw and cooked forms can be harmful, so be vigilant about not letting your dog consume any foods containing these ingredients, including gravies, stuffings, and casseroles.


The holiday season often involves toasts and celebrations with alcoholic beverages, but alcohol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can lead to intoxication, causing symptoms such as vomiting, loss of coordination, and in severe cases, respiratory failure. Keep all alcoholic drinks well out of your pet’s reach.

Fatty Foods

Rich, fatty foods are abundant during the holidays, but they can lead to pancreatitis in dogs. Avoid feeding your dog greasy leftovers, as this condition can be painful and even life-threatening. Common culprits include turkey skin, fatty cuts of meat, and fried treats.


Xylitol, a sugar substitute used in many sugar-free products, can cause a rapid release of insulin in dogs, leading to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). It can also cause liver failure. Keep an eye on sugar-free gum, candies, and baked goods, and ensure they are kept far away from your furry friends.

As you prepare for the festivities, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential hazards that holiday foods toxic to dogs can pose to your canine companions. While it may be tempting to share the joy of the season with your pets, exercising caution and being aware of toxic foods will help keep them safe and healthy. Consider preparing special dog-friendly treats or consulting with your veterinarian for safe alternatives to ensure that everyone in the family, including the furry members, can enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season.

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