Keeping your dog safe from harm this Christmas
December 4, 2015 0

Keeping your dog safe from harm this Christmas….

Posted by:Barna Vet Clinic onDecember 4, 2015

The Christmas season can be a hectic time in most homes – people are on holidays from school, college or the workplace, guests are coming and going, there are strange decorations and sometimes even stranger behaviour, there’s plenty of food and drink – and so the family pets could be forgiven for wondering what is going on!

Most dogs love the additional fuss and attention which surrounds a happy home but there are certain things you should keep an eye out for to ensure your pet remains safe over the Christmas and New Year period.

Food Dangers

Chocolate, fruit cakes, puddings, mince pies, onions and nuts can all be harmful to dogs. Be careful about feeding Christmas dinner leftovers to you dog as bones from the turkey can cause choking or may cause damage to your dog’s intestines.

Christmas Tree

Chewing on a Christmas Tree may cause a mild gastrointestinal upset resulting in your dog vomiting or suffering from diarrhoea. Pine needles can get stuck in paws and cause irritation if embedded. Pine needles can also cause perforation of the intestines if eaten. Maybe choose a non-shedding Christmas Tree or just keep plenty of water in the bucket to help reduce the number of fallen needles. A daily hoover or sweep of the carpet or floor around the base of your tree will help also.

Christmas Decorations

By their very nature, Christmas decorations look eye-catching but unfortunately this usually means they also catch the eye of our four-legged friends. Christmas Tree Baubles tend to shatter or splinter into shards which can cause irritation, perforation or blockages if swallowed. Entire ribbons of tinsel can be swallowed like spaghetti and subsequently bunch up and cause blockages. Even more seriously, one end of the tinsel can start to work its way through the guts whilst the other end remains in the stomach. This linear thread or link through the intestines can be extremely serious for your pet.

Apart from your patiently assembled Christmas Tree lights going out, your dog may also get a nasty shock if they chew through electrical cables so keep them tidied away as much as possible.

Holly & Mistletoe

As with the pine needles above, holly and mistletoe are mildly toxic if swallowed and can result in vomiting and diarrhoea. Ideally keep festive foliage hung at a height out of harm’s way.


All batteries are potentially toxic and the risk of battery ingestion is much higher around the Christmas period with lots of new electronic toys and devices around the home. A pierced battery can cause chemical burns and heavy metal poisoning to a dog and even if the battery is not pierced when chewed, a whole battery may cause a serious obstruction.

Chocolates & Sweets

A box of chocolates can be beautifully wrapped up so as to be a nice surprise when opened – but unfortunately, our canine friends can see ( or smell ) their way past any wrapping. To prevent any unfortunate diarrhoea in your living room on Christmas Day, please make sure all boxes of chocolates, selection boxes, biscuits and sweets are placed safely away from prying paws.


Anti-freeze is sweet-tasting and very palatable to a dog but unfortunately even swallowing a small quantity can cause serious kidney damage and may even be fatal. Speed is of the essence if you suspect your dog has swallowed anti-freeze as the longer the delay between ingestion and the initiation of treatment, the more serious the outcome is likely to be.

Always Contact your Vet

The advice above is not intended to be a substitute for a proper consultation with your local vet and is only meant as a helpful guide. If you are worried about your pet’s health over the Christmas period for any reason, please contact us at 091 867008 (24 hour).

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Registered Company: Independent Vet Care Ireland Ltd | Registered Number: 633559 | Registered Addr.: 2 Shelbourne Buildings, Crampton Avenue, Shelbourne Rd, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 D04 W3V6