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Dangers at Christmas

We must all remember that while we’re enjoying Christmas there are many hidden dangers to our pets. Potential hazards include:


Ingestion of the Christmas tree needles or the water it is stood in can be poisonous. Live trees can trigger allergies and respiratory problems, if your pet bumps into the tree or even climbs it they can cause it to fall and risk injuring them. If your pet chews the Christmas light cables they can be electrocuted or start a fire. Eating tinsel can fatally damage their intestines. Glass baubles can cause cut pads if broken or they can be mistaken for balls and are eaten causing damage or obstruction to the intestines. Spray on snow can be poisonous if ingested. Lighted candles also have a fascination for pets so never leave them unsupervised.


Amaryllis flowers, leaves and bulbs are poisonous if chewed or ingested causing vomiting and diarrhoea. Holly berries and leaves are toxic causing vomiting, diarrhoea, coma and possible fatalities. Ivy leaves can cause diarrhoea and occasionally respiratory and heart problems. Mistletoe berries leaves and stems can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Poinsettia leaves and “flowers” are locally irritating and if eaten can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. This is not a complete list of all poionous plants.


Alcohol, cooked and uncooked bones, chocolate, coffee (including used grounds and beans), currents, garlic, onions, nutmeg, raisons, sultanas, uncooked yeast dough and certain nuts are all potentially poisonous to dogs and cats. In certain circumstances it only requires the smallest amount to be ingested so its best to avoid giving your pet any human food. 

Other items

Aluminum foil and plastic food wrap can obstruct the intestines if eaten. Batteries if chewed release corrosive chemicals which can cause ulceration of the mouth and intestines. Antifreeze is very poisonous and its sweet taste is attractive to dogs and cats. Finally road salt on the paws is irritating so paws should be washed when you come back from all walks.

If simple precautions are taken then you and your pet should have a risk free Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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