How To Keep Your Dog Safe This Christmas

We’re urging dog lovers across the UK to keep their much loved pets safe this Christmas and have put together a list of items that can cause your dog harm at this time of year.

Keep your dog safe at Christmas, like this festive Bearded Collie

Keep your dog safe at Christmas, like this festive Bearded Collie

Food A number of food items can be harmful to dogs and these can cause a number of different symptoms, ranging from vomiting and diarrhoea, to more severe effects such as seizures or kidney failure, depending on what is eaten.  Foods that should be completely avoided include:

  • Chocolate
  • Raisins, currants and sultanas
  • Grapes
  • Christmas cake and Christmas pudding
  • Fruit cake and stollen
  • Mince pies
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Blue cheese
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Shallots and chives

Mouldy foods, very rich, fatty foods and alcohol can also harm dogs so should be avoided.  Turkey, goose and chicken bones can also easily splinter, particularly when cooked.


Plants that can cause drooling and varying degrees of stomach upset if eaten by a dog include poinsettia, holly, mistletoe and ivy.  Eating potpourri can also result in a tummy upset, but may cause other more serious effects depending on which dried plants have been used. Most species of Christmas tree are relatively low-toxic but oils from the needles can irritate the mouth and stomach or can cause an obstruction in a dog’s airway.


Care should be taken when using antifreeze products, which contains a chemical which can be lethal when ingested by dogs.  The sweet taste of antifreeze makes it tempting for dogs, so products should be stored in secure containers away from pets.  If using antifreeze, make sure that your pets are kept well away and if any is spilt ensure it is cleaned up.


Christmas presents are often just as intriguing and exciting for dogs as they are for humans, and can present a number of health concerns.  Electronic gifts and toys often contain batteries, which if chewed and punctured by a dog can cause chemical burns or may obstruct the airways.  Other items which may obstruct a dog’s airways include small toys or gifts with small parts. Signs of an obstruction in the airway can include vomiting, lethargy, lack of interest in food, not going to the toilet or finding it difficult to.

What to do if you are concerned that your dog may have eaten something that they shouldn’t have?  

Consult your local veterinary practice immediately – It is important that your veterinary practice make an informed decision as to whether your dog needs to be clinically assessed or treated. Where possible ensure that you tell them:

  1. What your dog has eaten
  2. How much has been eaten
  3. When it was eaten
  4. Do not try and make your dog sick. Trying to do this can sometimes cause other complications, which can make your dog unwell.

For further information about what can cause harm to your dog at Christmas, visit


One Comment on “How To Keep Your Dog Safe This Christmas

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