Keeping Your Pet Happy and Healthy At Christmas

ByRebecca Foxley

Keeping Your Pet Happy and Healthy At Christmas

With Christmas on it’s way, it’s important to remember that there can be some unexpected dangers for pets at this time of year. Read our article to find out more.


Christmas is a wonderful time of year for the whole family, including our pets. My dog, in particular, loves Christmas. She always has her own bundle of presents from Santa which she delights in tearing open.

Unfortunately, Christmas time is usually a busy time in a veterinary practice. This is partly due to all the added dangers around the house. Some of which, you may not even be aware of!



For many people there is usually extra chocolate around the house at Christmas, In big tin boxes, laid out on the table and hanging on the tree in decorative tin foil.

The cocoa beans which are used to make chocolate contain Theobromine. This is highly toxic to dogs and cats (although the majority of cats do not have a tendency to like eating sweet foods as much as dogs).

If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate it’s important to treat it as an emergency and call the vets immediately, even if they look well. Theobromine poisoning can be fatal.

Keep those choccies out of paws reach.


The bones from your Christmas roasted bird are extremely dangerous if ingested by pets. Cooked bones will splinter a lot easier than raw bones.

Ingesting these bones can seriously damage your pet’s digestive system or cause blockages, both of which will require emergency surgery and can quickly become fatal.

Make sure that the carcass and any rubbish bags containing leftovers are secure and out of reach.


Christmas cake contains raisins, currants and sultanas.

Just a small amount of these fruits can cause renal failure in dogs which would require intensive intravenous fluid therapy to treat and can cause permanent damage and even death.

Be careful to clear up those cake crumbs from the floor before your dog does!

keeping your pets happy and healthy for christmas


All those brightly coloured, sparkly “toys” can cause serious damage should your pet ingest them.

Tinsel, in particular can cause (String) Linear foreign body.

Linear Foreign body is when the string of the tinsel (or similar item) gets wrapped around the tongue or anchored in the stomach. The tinsel is then unable to pass through the digestive system and causes a serious medical emergency in the intestines which will require surgery.

If you suspect your pet has swallowed tinsel or has a Linear foreign body because you can see the string around the tongue. Don’t be tempted to pull it out, this can cause even more damage. Instead, ring your veterinary practice immediately.

keeping your pets happy and healthy for christmas


Cut flowers and house plants can adorn many houses at Christmas. Whilst they certainly look beautiful, be aware that some are poisonous to your pets.

Be aware that the following common winter plants are poisonous:

  • Lillies
  • Poinsettia
  • Holly
  • Mistletoe

The needles from a Christmas tree can easily get stuck in your pet’s paws or in their throat, so try to sweep them up regularly.



Those trailing cables can be tempting for pets to chew on.

Chewing on cables can cause electrocution so keep them secured and hidden. This is particularly important if you have house rabbits or other pets with a tendency to chew.


Fireworks, Christmas crackers and party poppers, can alarm and worry pets. Whilst some of these are unavoidable at this time of year, we can still help our pets to feel less scared. Pheromone plug ins can help with calming and allowing them access to a quiet place away from parties is helpful.

We offer dog boarding in our own homes overnight or for as long as you need.  If you have a party planned, it might be a good idea to allow your dog some time away from the house.

keeping your pets happy and healthy for christmas

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