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Tips for keeping you and your dog safe this festive season!

Christmas is a wonderful time to be celebrating with your family and friends; sharing presents and decorating the Christmas tree. The festive season can however bring with it new and interesting things for your dog to explore that aren't always dog friendly! We have put together a quick guide which we hope will help keep you and your canine friends happy and healthy over the Christmas holidays.

Christmas Trees & Decorations:

Christmas would not be Christmas without the Christmas tree and all it’s lovely decorations. Bear in mind, if you are having a real Christmas tree, the loose pines can become lodged in paws proving very painful. Vacuuming regularly will help reduce the risk. Lights and decorations should be placed out of reach of any ‘chewers’! Chewing through electric cables may result in a very nasty shock which could be fatal. Decorations are bright and colourful and many a dog has thought a great play thing but if eaten these could be a choking hazard or cause stomach injuries. This may require a trip to the vet for an operation to remove the them.


At this time of year we all like to indulge in some of our favourite festive food and sometimes it is all too tempting to treat our dogs as well but  beware as some can be dangerous for our canine friends. Have a look at the list below and make sure you are not giving treats that may make your pooch poorly.


Bones from poultry should be safely disposed of. Once cooked, they can splinter and if eaten, can easily become stuck in your dogs mouth, throat or stomach, cue trip to the vet!


Chocolate can be poisonous for dogs. It contains an ingredient called Theobromine. If eaten it can cause, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and possibly convulsions. If you have presents which contain chocolate it is probably best these aren’t left under the Christmas tree ( in our house the dog wouldn’t get a look in, the children and my husband would have beaten him to it!)


Grapes, raisins and sultanas can all cause renal failure if eaten.

Milk, Cream and Cheese

Many dogs are lactose intolerant ( lactose is a sugar present in milk) this means that they can’t digest these kinds of dairy foods products. If eaten, it could cause an upset tummy, diarrhoea and vomiting.


This includes leeks and garlic. These contain an ingredient called Thiosulphate which can be toxic. It can cause anaemia in dogs as it affects red blood cells.


We may like a small drink or two at Christmas but certainly not for dogs! The kidneys of a dog cannot process alcohol like us humans. Having said that, if you ever get the chance to watch Supervet and the programme with a cat ( yes, not a dog) that was poisoned with antifreeze. He was treated with neat vodka, had the hangover from hell and lived to fight another day!


Nuts are high in fat and can cause tummy upsets. For some dogs it may be a choking hazard. Macadamia nuts can be poisonous for dogs. Whilst they are not usually fatal, they can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and fevers.


Plants and flowers can really add to the festive feel at Christmas. Unfortunately a few are not very canine friendly.


While this is a typical plant found decorating lots of homes at Christmas, if eaten can cause vomiting, lethargy and excess salivation.

Holly and Mistletoe

Again, if eaten can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.


Has been known to cause tummy upsets.


If you are the one that finds yourself  hosting at Christmas, bear in mind it could be a little overwhelming for your dog. Lots of noise and unfamiliar people can be quite scary. Perhaps have an area of the house which is a quiet area that your dog can retreat to. Make sure they have their own bed, plenty of water and may be a toy or two.

There may seem to be a lot to think about and although pet safety should always be kept in mind especially during the festive season, it shouldn’t spoil the fun by worrying about the potential dangers. Following a few simple tips should hopefully allow you and your canine companion to have a safe and happy holiday.


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