Christmas Dangers For Dogs

Christmas is the time for fun, celebrations and indulging ourselves and our dogs are part of this too. But Christmas is also a time to beware of hidden dangers to dogs, from seasonal plants to toxic food.

Rosie and Baxter Christmas hats in front of the fire| 1 Dog At a Time Rescue UK

Here at 1 Dog At A Time Rescue UK, we have compiled a guide to remind you of what things to keep your dog away from during the festive season.

Dangerous food and drink


This is probably the first thing we think of when we talk about food poisonous to dogs. There is a chemical called theobromine that is found in chocolate, the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains, so plain chocolate would be more poisonous than milk chocolate. Theobromine can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, and in severe cases, can cause death. Even small amounts are toxic, and you should contact your vet for advice immediately. Do not put chocolate decorations on your Christmas tree nor put any chocolate presents under the tree, put them somewhere out of your dogs reach.

Grapes, currants, raisins and sultanas

These items are found in Christmas pudding and mince pies. Even if a dog eats a small amount of these food items, it can cause kidney failure. If chocolate covered raisins have been eaten, then you would have the added toxicity of the theobromine too.

Macadamia nuts

If dogs eat these nuts, the most common symptom seen is weakness, especially in the hind legs. Other signs to look out for are vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors and fever.


This would include shallots, chives, leeks and garlic. All parts of these foods are poisonous to dogs, raw or cooked and should be avoided at all costs. The signs are often not seen until a few days after being ingested. These include vomiting and diarrhoea, but it also has an effect on the dog’s red blood cells, which could ultimately result in anaemia.


The effects of your dog drinking alcohol are similar to us if we overindulge. Signs to look out for include wobbling, drooling, vomiting or retching, and it can cause their body temperature to lower. Some dogs do help themselves to an alcoholic drink, so ensure all your drinks are put somewhere high out of their reach.

Rafa Romanian street dog wearing elf hat | 1 Dog At a Time Rescue UK | Dedicated To Rescuing and Rehoming Romanian Street Dogs

Leftover food

We all like to give our dogs a bit of leftover food, which is okay providing it’s suitable for them and it isn’t gone off or is mouldy. It won’t do our dogs any good feeding them this sort of food, nor is it to us! Not even what we think are our tough Romanian street dogs.

What Christmas dinner leftovers can I feed my dog?

Here is a list of safe foods put together by the 1 Dog team, that you can feed your dog. However, do remember that if you give your dog lots of new leftovers that they are not used to having, it can lead to an upset stomach and may result in vomiting and diarrhoea.

  • White meat from turkey but no skin or bones
  • Green beans
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Parsnips
  • Swede
  • Carrot
  • Peas
  • Mash potato
  • New potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Scrambled egg

Remember to make sure that there are no sauces or oils on anything you feed your dog. Remember too, that a dog size portion will be much smaller than for a human, even if your dog is a large breed, like a lot of our Romanian street dogs are. Spoil your dog in other ways if your leftovers aren’t suitable, spend lots of extra time playing with them, take them for a walk in a new place, treat them to a new toy or puzzle. Please have a look at our other article on Christmas presents for a few ideas.

Ducu Romanian street dog in front of Christmas tree | 1 Dog At a Time Rescue UK

Christmas plants


Poinsettia plants are originally from Mexico and reach their full bloom in December. They have become synonymous with Christmas, but their red blooms are actually their leaves. The plant contains a sap that is an irritant so thankfully it’s unlikely that your pet would eat enough to cause any severe damage. The toxins can cause mouth pain, drooling and vomiting.


If your dog ingests the berries from this plant, then it could result in an upset stomach.

Holly and ivy

Ingestion of the berries from either of these plants can cause your dog to have an upset stomach. Prolonged contact with ivy can also be an irritant and cause a reaction to the skin.


One of the most popular plants that we see at Christmas time and often given as a gift, all parts of this plant, leaves, stalk and especially the bulb are toxic to dogs. This can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors and seizures.

Other Christmas hazards

  • Silica gel
  • Christmas wrapping paper
  • Tinsel
  • Cigarettes

As with almost all poisons, the size of your dog and the amount they ingest will determine how sick they become. Obviously, the bigger the dog, the less likely they are to suffer after eating a small amount.

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