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Keeping Your Dog Safe At Christmas

December is here and Christmas is on the way! Amongst the excitement of decorating, wrapping presents and preparing food,It is important to consider the needs of our four legged friends. The festive season is one of the most precarious for dog owners, there are dangers hidden everywhere from plants to common festive foods.

To keep your dog safe this Christmas, we have a few helpful suggestions on what to avoid!

Festive food and drink

Chocolate :

The number one poison that dogs come across year after year is Chocolate. Found everywhere, trees, cakes and presents, it contains a chemical called theobromine and this is toxic to dogs.  When ingested, even in small amounts, theobromine can cause agitation, hyperexcitability, tremors, convulsions and heart problems, and in larger quantities, death.  As a general rule, darker chocolate contains higher levels of theobromine due to the increased content of cocoa solids.  Very small amounts can make your dog sick, and if you find your dog gets hold of some chocolate and ingests more than 20 mg/kg of theobromine (that’s equivalent to 3.5 g/kg of plain or dark chocolate and 14 g/kg milk chocolate) you should contact a Veterinary surgeon urgently. Remember to keep all chocolate out of reach of your dog , they can smell through wrapped presents so do not leave these unattended, and avoid hanging chocolate from the Christmas tree.

Christmas pudding and mince pies:

Many of our favourite festive foods contain Grapes in dried form (currants, sultanas and raisins) which toxic to dogs. Mince pies, christmas pudding and christmas cake all contain large quantities of these products and even a small amount can lead to severe kidney failure. Remember to store them out of reach and don't leave leftovers on plates.


When the drinks are flowing, you may not notice that your dogs helping themselves to any leftovers. However it is so important to keep your dogs away from Alcohol. These drinks may have a similar effect to human's drinking  They can become wobbly and drowsy and in severe cases, there is a risk of low body temperature, low blood sugar and coma. Ensure you keep any drinks out of reach of your four legged friends.


Artificial sweeteners:

Commonly found in diet drinks, chewing gum or sweets, the sugar-free sweetener called xylitol is poisonous to dogs. Xylitol can trigger release of insulin causing low blood sugar and in some instances, liver damage. In large quantities, they can be toxic and should you suspect your dog has ingested Xylitol it is important to consult your Veterinary surgeon.

Christmas Plants

Many of the foliage we have around to celebrate Christmas can look great but have unpleasant effects on your pets. Most dogs will not eat these readily but they should be kept out of reach for added safety. Plants to look out for include:

  • Poinsettia
  • Mistletoe
  • Holly
  • Christmas tree

Carefully managed, Christmas can be a great time for all our pets, and our families, keep safe this year!

Posted On: 07/12/2017

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