Vet explains how to safely share your Christmas dinner with your dog

christmas dinner

Traditional Christmas dinners would get any dog’s tail wagging, but not everything on the menu is safe for them to eat. Dr Linda Simon, the in-house Veterinary Surgeon at Pooch & Mutt, is here to dissect which components of a human Christmas meal are safe to feed our furry friends – or how these can otherwise be prepared to avoid any ailments.

Christmas Day should be an exciting time for all members of the family, including your pooch! But as tempting as it is to treat them to a Christmas dinner of their own, it’s essential to make sure their sensitive stomachs can handle certain ingredients and avoid any potentially fatal foods.

Can dogs eat roast turkey or roast chicken?
The meat is the main event at Christmas, and your dog will definitely be keen for some. Feed them lean, white meat that doesn’t contain bones, avoiding the darker meat, which will be harder for them to digest.

Importantly – avoid heavily seasoned skin, as it’s high in fat which could trigger pancreatitis in some dogs. If you wrap your Christmas turkey in bacon, be sure to avoid that too as this is also incredibly fatty and salty and can also cause upset to our pooches’ pancreas.

Can dogs eat pigs in blankets?
Similarly to the bacon-wrapped turkey, no matter how much they might love them, sadly dogs can’t have pigs in blankets – those dinky sausages wrapped in bacon. Ideally, pork products should only be fed to your pooch in the form of treats specifically made for dogs.

Can dogs eat stuffing?
Avoid adding stuffing to your Christmas doggy bowl. Though delicious, stuffing contains a lot of fats as well as garlic and onions – both of which can wreak havoc with your dog’s stomach and even cause anaemia.

What kind of potatoes can dogs eat?
Dogs can eat potatoes in moderation, but roast potatoes are slightly too fatty for their delicate gut. When cooking up the roast, boil some potatoes or perhaps mash a small amount on the side without added salt or butter. Just make sure it’s not the main component of the meal, as starchy foods are hard for a dog to digest. Take up space with veggies instead.

Can dogs eat brussel sprouts?
We’re not sure about their owners, but dogs can definitely eat a brussel sprout or two. Steam or boil your sprouts and perhaps chop them up, with no added salt, oil or butter for seasoning.

Can dogs eat parsnips?
Parsnips are fine for dogs to eat, raw or cooked. If cooking them make sure they’re boiled and don’t come with any glaze, oil, butter or salt. Serve them chopped or mashed.

Can dogs eat swede?
Yes, they’re fine raw or cooked, so long as you boil them and serve chopped or mashed without any glaze, oil, butter or salt.

Can dogs eat broccoli?
Yep! Broccoli is a fantastic dog food at any time of year – just serve it up steamed or boiled with no extra salt or oil.

Can dogs eat gravy?
No, most human gravy is very high in fat and salt, and is just too rich for your hungry pooch. It could also contain onions and garlic, which is another no-no. If you’ve made the gravy yourself and know exactly what ingredients have been used, a small amount might be ok – but err on the side of caution.

Can dogs eat cranberry sauce?
A small dollop of cranberry sauce is ok for a dog to eat, but check the label. If it contains grapes or raisins it should definitely be avoided. You should also ensure that it is sugar-free, as if not, it may contain artificial sweeteners such as xylitol which are lethal to dogs.

Can dogs eat Christmas pudding or Christmas cake?
It’s a no for dogs and Christmas desserts. Traditional Christmas pudding and Christmas cake are usually packed with raisins, alcohol, chocolate and strong flavourings. Grapes and raisins are toxic to a dog’s kidneys, so it’s safer to avoid these sweet festive treats altogether. Remember, dogs don’t really have a sweet tooth.

This is a guest essay by Dr. Linda Simon. Want to write for us? Visit or email


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here