Common festive risks for pets


Christmas is usually full of joy; meeting friends and family, delicious food and plenty of gifting. However, for our pets this wonderful time of year can be filled with many unexpected dangers.

The Damory team have rounded up the biggest issues they see each year over the festive period – forewarned is forearmed!


Common Dog Dangers over the Festive period:

  1. Chocolate: Theobromine is a stimulant in chocolate that makes it very poisonous to
    dogs. Try to avoid putting chocolate decorations within reach of your pet, on the tree or underneath.
  2. Christmas puddings and mince pies: The grapes, sultanas and currants in these Christmas treats are
    toxic to dogs. Ingestion can cause kidney failure so keep 5. these foods out of reach and ensure all leftovers are disposed of.
  3. Cheese: Always abundant at Christmas, cheese can always pose issues to our dogs as eating too much can lead to inflammation of the pancreas, called pancreatitis. Ensure your food is kept away from any sniffing noses.
  4. Cooked bones: Once they are cooked these can splinter which can pierce their digestive tract or cause an obstruction. Ensure Christmas meat is kept in a secure location and any leftovers disposed of in secure food waste bins.
  5. Articial sweeteners: A common sweetener called Xylitol can lead to potentially fatal hypoglycaemia and acute liver failure. This is often found in many sweet treats at Christmas so ensure these are kept away from your pets at all costs.
  6. Glass baubles: These, if dropped, tend to smash into shards and can cause injury to paws, as well as sometimes being eaten. If swallowed this can obviously cause irritation, perforation and blockages. One way to avoid is to opt for shatter-proof baubles or decorations made of pet-friendly materials.
  7. Salt dough ornaments: Due to the salt component ingestion can cause potentially fatal salt toxicosis with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea and seizures. Make sure these are hung high up out of reach or avoid their use if you have a curious pet.
  8. Batteries: Due to the increase in gifts, ingestion of batteries is more common at Christmas. This can cause chemical burns and heavy metal poisoning. Keep batteries away from pets and avoid leaving small toys around.
  9. Fairy lights: Some dogs will try and eat anything! Fairy Lights may cause electric shock if chewed. Use an extension cord that shuts off if damaged and secure wires out of reach if possible.
  10. Silica gel: often found in packaging to keep products dry. They are non-toxic but if ingested can expand and cause blockages in the gut. Make sure any packets are disposed of.

Common Cat Dangers over the Festive period:

  1. Tinsel: Cats love to play with tinsel, but this can cause life threatening blockages in their stomach or intestines. To reduce the risk ensure you always supervise your pet, or you can use pet friendly alternatives.
  2. Fairy lights: Cats like to chew and therefore are at risk of electric shock. Use an extension cord that shuts off automatically when the wire is damaged and secure wires out of reach.
  3. Candles: Candles attract curious noses and often fall over when they are brushed against. This can result in burns to tails and paws. Keep candles well out of reach of cats, and ensure they are safely extinguished when you are not in the room.
  4. Snow globes: Snow globes contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol), as little as one tablespoon can be fatal to cats. Avoid purchasing these to remove this fatal hazard.
  5. Poinsettia, mistletoe and ivy: These are all mildly toxic and can cause vomiting, drooling, diarrhoea and can cause other symptoms. Keep these well out of reach.
  6. Silica gel: Commonly found in packaging, they are typically non-toxic but these can cause blockages in the intestines. Ensure when opening packages and gifts that you dispose of these carefully.
  7. Mouldy food: Mouldy cat & human food, particularly dairy products, bread & nuts contain lots of toxins that can make your cat seriously ill. Do not forget to check your cat’s food & bowls for mould, especially if your cat grazes or you use puzzle/slow feeders. To avoid this risk, ensure your food recycling is secure and cat food should always be fresh and in-date, ensuring cat bowls and feeders are cleaned regularly.
  8. Cooked bones: Bones can pose the same risks as with dogs potentially requiring emergency surgery. Ensure Christmas meat is kept in a secure location and any leftovers disposed of in secure food waste bins.

9. Chocolate: Like dogs, chocolate is severely poisonous to cats. Never hang chocolate decorations on the Christmas tree and remove chocolate presents from under the tree.

10. Christmas trees: Pine needles can cause an upset stomach, cuts to paws and mouth and in severe cases can perforate the intestines. To avoid this vacuum daily, and ensure your tree is secure. It is also worth considering keeping cats out of rooms with Christmas trees.


Damory Veterinary clinic


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