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Festive hazards

Festive hazards
0 21 December 2015

Here are a few reminders of the things to look out for over the festive period in order to keep your pet safe.


Chocolate is unfortunately a common cause of poisoning in pets. It contains theobromine which affects the nervous system and heart. It is a common problem over Christmas due to the number of chocolate decorations hung on trees, and boxes of chocolates left out or even wrapped under the tree. A sufficient quantity of any chocolate is poisonous but much smaller amounts of dark chocolate will cause problems. Please keep chocolate out of reach of your pet and avoid giving it as a treat!

Grapes, Raisins and Sultanas

As well as being one of the main ingredients in Christmas cake and pudding, these are also present in many chocolate bars. There is no specific toxic dose as different animals will tolerate different amounts and just a small amount can lead to kidney failure in some animals.


Be aware that many Christmas foods are very rich and fatty. Think carefully before giving your pet leftovers as you could end up with a stomach upset to contend with. Cleaning up after your dog wouldn’t be a fun way to spend your Christmas holiday and it certainly wouldn’t be pleasant for him or her either.

Poisonous plants

Poinsettia, holly and mistletoe are all common plants at this time of year, and they can cause vomiting and diarrhoea if ingested. Please keep these out of reach from your pet and check for fallen berries and leaves on the ground.


Many a piece of tinsel has been removed from dogs and cats’ stomachs- they do seem to love playing with it and chewing at the end. Tinsel and many ofter decorations can cause serious problems if swallowed, and often require surgery to remove. Christmas lights can be a hazard due to electric shocks and burns if chewed, so be careful with these especially if you have a young pet who likes to chew things.


The cold weather means more antifreeze being used in cars. The ingredient, ethylene glycol, is sweet tasting and pets will lick it off their paws. Unfortunately it is highly toxic to humans and animals, and just a tiny amount needs ingested to cause total kidney failure. Signs of pointing include vomiting, lethargy, increased urination and seizures. The sooner treatment is started the better the chances of survival

All the above sounds a bit like we are putting a dampener on Christmas!

Please enjoy the festive period with your family, friends and furry family members, and if you have any concerns about your pet’s health don’t hesitate to give us a call

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