Christmas Hazards Every Pet Owner Should Be Aware Of

Christmas Hazards Every Pet Owner Should Be Aware Of

Christmas is a time to celebrate and have fun with our family and friends, and this includes our furry family members. However, the festive season poses many hidden dangers to our pets, and pet owners need to be vigilant during this time to ensure their pet’s safety.

Foods and Drinks


Chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to dogs. Even in small amounts it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures and in severe cases death. The darker the chocolate, the more potent the levels of theobromine. Avoid placing any chocolate on or under the Christmas tree.

Grapes, Raisins and Sultanas

These are toxic to dogs, with even small quantities causing severe renal failure. Be aware that these products are found in Christmas pudding and mince pies, so keep these out of reach of your dog.


Alcohol, especially during festivities, should be kept out of reach as ingesting them can cause your dog to develop low body temperature, low blood sugar as well as coma.

Artificial Sweetener

Xylitol, which can be found in many products including chewing gum, mouthwashes, toothpastes and confectionary, can be toxic to dogs causing low blood sugar, vomiting, lethargy, convulsions and coma.


Be sure to dispose of leftover food at Christmas, as some of these foods may include ingredients that are toxic to pets. In addition, many leftovers may be very fatty or spicy, which can cause digestive issues, and bones ingested can cause obstructions.

For more detailed information on other common food items that are toxic to pets, read our blog post here 


Christmas Plants

Many decorative plants are toxic to our pets, and should be strategically placed out of their reach.

These are mildly toxic to dogs and cats and can cause drooling, oral pain and vomiting if ingested.

This is toxic to dogs and cats. In cases of mild ingestion, it can cause gastrointestinal irritation, but if consumed in large quantities, it can cause abnormal heart rate, hypotension, ataxia, seizures and death.

This is toxic, and if ingested can cause severe gastrointestinal upset.

Certain types of lily are very dangerous for cats. Ingesting just a few leaves or drinking the water from the vase is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats and can even prove fatal. Other types of lilies such as white lilies and peace lilies are also toxic to dogs.


Christmas Trees and Decorations

Christmas trees can cause stomach upset if your dog ingests some pine needles. In addition, the sharp tips can cause internal damage when swallowed. Try placing your Christmas tree in a corner and ensure the decorations are placed higher up out of reach.

Decorations made of plastic, paper or foil may obstruct the stomach while glass decorations can be a risk if chewed or swallowed.

Wrapping paper as well as string, ribbon or pieces of cloth could all cause intestinal obstruction if ingested so always store wrapping paper out of reach and discard any rubbish as soon as possible. Also be cautious about leaving wrapped gifts under the tree where your pet can get to them.

Christmas Lights and Fairy lights should be out of reach of your pets, as they can become entangled it in which can cause burns. Pets can also try chewing through the wires which can cause an electrical shock. Remember to also keep any exposed indoor or outdoor wires taped to the wall or the sides of the house, or wrapped in hard protective plastic.

Tinsel can cause intestinal obstruction if ingested, so be sure to hang it up out of your pet’s reach.

Ornaments should be kept out of reach as they can be a choking or intestinal obstruction hazard if ingested. Shards from broken ornaments can also cause injury to the mouth and other parts of the body if eaten.

Candles, especially when lit, should be placed on high shelves out of your pet’s reach, as these pose a fire hazard if knocked over and your pet could end up getting an accidental burn.

Potpourri can cause significant gastrointestinal disturbance in dogs if ingested.


How to Plan a Pet Safe Holiday

Festive celebrations means a lot of visitors to the home, which could cause your pet to become agitated if they are not used to the additional company.

  • If you are hosting celebrations, try ensure that you exercise your pet before your guests arrive to help de-stress them.
  • Make sure that they have a safe, quiet space of their own to retreat to and relax, away from visitors.
  • Provide safe, healthy treats such as turkey meat, salmon, lamb meat, scrambled egg, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, peas or green beans that your pet can eat.
  • Spoil your pet by looking for some homemade healthy Christmas treat recipes to make for them.

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