With Christmas just around the corner, it’s almost time to eat an abundance of delicious food guilt free! Unfortunately, this doesn’t include everyone in the family.

As pet parents it’s important that all human family members, especially children, practice responsible pet ownership all year round, particularly at Christmas.

Sneaking a treat under the table to our four-legged friend is something most children (and parents) are guilty of. Although it can be hard to resist those puppy eyes, it’s important to be educated on your pet’s diet.

Ensuring children know which foods are safe and which are dangerous for pets can be the difference between a happy, healthy pet or an emergency visit to the vet and potentially fatal outcome

To help parents teach their children which foods are safe, PETstock VET Dr Teresa Priddle has compiled a list of naughty and nice foods for pets this Christmas.


Nice – the safe list for pets:

Leftover beef or chicken – all meat must be de-boned before given to your pet as cooked bones can splinter when broken down and cause harm. As long as all bones are removed, it’s a delicious and nutritious treat for your pet.

Fruit and vegetables– small amounts of apples, oranges, bananas, blueberries and watermelon are all healthy treats for our dogs at Christmas. Just ensure all seeds are removed first and avoid any stone fruit. Carrot sticks, sweet potato, green beans, cucumber, pumpkin and zucchini are also wonderful snack options.

“Although these foods are considered safe, please remember that they are ‘treats’ and should be given in moderation,” says Dr Teresa Priddle.

“Maintaining a healthy weight for your pet reduces the risk of other health issues such as joint pain, heart disease or premature aging.”


Naughty – the dangerous and even toxic list for pets:

“Teaching children which foods belong on the naughty list for pets this Christmas will reduce the risk of these health issues from arising,” says Dr Teresa Priddle.

“A great way to remind children is to place a list of unsafe foods on the family fridge to serve as a reminder before any attempts to open the door and sneak food to their furry buddy.”


The fridge list, or the Christmas treat cheat sheet, should include the following toxic foods to be mindful of this festive season.

Pork, bacon and ham – pork is very harmful to our furry friends. Some pork products contain a high amount of fat, which can lead to illnesses like pancreatitis. Statistics show an increase of pancreatitis cases in dogs at Christmas time!

Raisins and grapes – raisins and grapes can be fatally toxic to dogs, even in small quantities, so no Christmas pudding or cake for our four-legged friends.

Macadamia nuts – macadamia nuts are readily enjoyed at Christmas but are poisonous to dogs and can cause vomiting, weakness, fever, depression and muscle tremors if consumed.

Onions – ingesting onions can contribute to stomach upsets and even cause anaemia.

Under-cooked meat – pets can suffer the effects of eating under-cooked meat, especially chicken just like humans. Under-cooked meat can contain e-coli and other bacterial dangers.

Alcohol – while it may seem obvious, I feel it still must be put on the naughty list. Allowing our pets to consume any alcohol is dangerous. It can cause alcohol toxicity and, in some cases, seizures.

Milk and dairy products – dogs’ bodies weren’t designed to process dairy. Consuming dairy can cause stomach upsets, vomiting and diarrhea

Lollies – loaded with sugar, lollies can disrupt your pet’s metabolism and when consumed in high amounts, can even cause diabetes.

Chocolate –the cocoa seeds that make chocolate so delicious also contain a compound called theobromine, which is highly toxic to cats and dogs. If consumed, it causes serious illness or possibly death.

“If your pet has consumed one of these ‘naughty’ foods and shows signs of any symptoms outlined, please seek appropriate medical attention immediately,” says Dr Teresa Priddle.


For more information on a healthy and balanced diet for your pet, visit


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