Which Christmas foods are bad for our pets?

Posted by Argos, 17 December 2014, last updated 15 September 2020.

Christmas may only come once a year but the build up to it gets earlier every year. Everyone looks forward to relaxing and eating their favourite foods, but if you have a pet it can be a time when they are fed scraps that are bad for them. Even though they may enjoy them, Christmas foods could actually be doing them more harm than good.

Take care when preparing food

Whatever you’re preparing for your Christmas meal the usual caution should be taken when leaving food lying around. It’s easy for you to take your eye off food for a few seconds and the smells can soon tempt any animal to sample what’s on the table or work surface.

Even though they may have already had their usual pet food, they will still try and eat whatever is available unless you have a very well trained animal.

What not to feed your pet

Most pet owners are responsible when it comes to feeding their animals but there is always the possibility that a family member or friend might try to give your pet some chocolate or a piece of cake. Your dog or cat doesn’t have the same digestive system as a human and can become seriously ill if given the wrong foods.

Giving your pet raw meat or meat with marinades or gravy on can also cause an upset stomach and will not only hurt your pet but it may also mean a visit to the vets.

Giving your dog or cat a small amount of cooked meat will be okay as long as you do it in moderation but you should feed them it alongside their usual meal and in their usual eating area. You should never feed them from the table as this will encourage bad behaviours like begging.

Make sure the floor is clear of sweets

There are always sweets and chocolates lying around the tree at Christmas and the temptation for a pet to sample one can be too much. The repercussions of an animal eating sweet treats are vomiting, diarrhoea and hyperactivity as well as excessive panting.

Another problem with cakes and puddings are that most pets can have intolerances to dairy products so it’s really not a good idea to leave any type of food or wrapping paper from presents lying around!

Floral decorations are poisonous

It’s always nice to brighten up your house with flowers and mistletoe for family and friends at Christmas and the New Year, but these can also pose a danger to most pets. Many floral displays such as holly and mistletoe are highly poisonous for pets and should be placed out of reach.


If you’re not sure what you can feed your pet then it’s best to just give them their usual food and keep them away from Christmas treats and snacks. Many retailers sell Christmas treats for pets such as bones, chew toys and treats too so you could always invest in one of these to help your pet join in the festivities. Remember to give them treats in moderation though.

Being careful with foods during the festive season is important, as is protecting your pet with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our pet insurance policies today.

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