Avoiding Christmas Crises for your Pets

by Handy Mag
Published: Updated:

By Anna Tilley RVN SQP, Ryedale Vets

Christmas is a happy time, but some dangers may arise causing potential problems for your pets. Here are some safety tips to ensure you can all enjoy a stress free Christmas!

Ginger cat playing with garland and gift box under Christmas tree at home. Christmas and New year concept


Not a myth, and fortunately much more recognised these days, chocolate contains Theobromine, which at best can make your dog very sick, and at worst can unfortunately kill them. The higher the cocoa content or the smaller the dog, the higher the risk, and any dog that eats chocolate MUST be taken to a vet as soon as possible.

Other toxic items

Onions, garlic, grapes and raisins (and mistletoe and poinsettias) are all around at Christmas, and are toxic to pets; do not feed them to your pets, even in small quantities, and seek veterinary advice if they get hold of them.

Turkey bones

Take care when storing and disposing of turkey carcasses and other bones, as if eaten they can cause severe damage to teeth and gums, or even worse to the internal digestive tract.


Tinsel and other decorations can prove very interesting to inquisitive pets, especially cats and young kittens and puppies, and can cause choking or internal blockages.


Antifreeze tastes sweet and is tempting for cats to drink. It is TOXIC and will KILL a cat that has ingested it. Take care with storage and always mop any spillages. Call the vet immediately if you suspect your pet has drunk Antifreeze.

Salt and grit on paws

It is a good idea to wash your dog’s paws after walks in the winter, as the frozen ground and grit can cause soreness and irritation, and can be harmful if licked and ingested by them.

Foreign bodies

Small toys and batteries are often left lying around and can be very dangerous if chewed or swallowed. They can cause obstructions, or in the case of batteries, chemical burns, so ensure everything is picked up off the floor.


Remember when you are tempted to give your pet their ‘Christmas dinner’ or treats, they are not used to such rich food, so may have some vomiting or diarrhoea as a consequence.


There are many potential causes of stress for your pets at Christmas, such as lack of routine, crowds, and fireworks. They may just want to hide away from it all so make them a den in a safe area where they can escape if need be.

Hopefully these tips will help towards a happy Christmas for all, but don’t forget to call us if you are concerned for your pet.

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