Vets Warn Pet Owners About Christmas Dangers

Vets Warn Pet Owners About Christmas Dangers


In the run up to Christmas, Abbey Vets are urging people to be aware of the dangers to pets posed by festive food, plants and decorations.


Vet Tony Duffy said: “At this time of year we often have to treat pets that have eaten something that is potentially hazardous to their health. For example chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine which in large doses will affect the central nervous system and the heart.”

“Never give chocolate to your dog and if your dog does get hold of any that you thought was out of reach seek treatment immediately. Another serious danger is the fat and sugar in many chocolate treats – these can sometimes trigger pancreatitis, which can be fatal,” he added.

“Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies are also dangerous as they contain raisins, currants and sultanas. The effect can be further compounded if they have been soaked in rum or other alcohol. Alcohol poisoning can result in a dangerous drop of blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature, potentially leading to seizure and respiratory failure. Just a small amount of alcohol can poison your pet so make sure that alcoholic drinks are kept well out of reach.”


Mr Duffy said that turkey and chicken bones should never be given to dogs or cats because they can scrape, tear or perforate their gastrointestinal tract. Bones can also get stuck and cause an obstruction in the digestive system. Left untreated, this can lead to death. Likewise, stuffing should never be fed to your pet as it contains onions and garlic, which can destroy red blood cells, causing life-threatening anaemia.


“Christmas presents, lights, trees, decorations and plants can also be dangerous to pets. Amaryllis, holly, mistletoe, lillies and poinsettias are all toxic to dogs and cats so be careful where you place them,” said Mr Duffy.

“Similarly, hang tinsel, baubles and lights out of your pet’s reach. Do not put lights on the tree’s lower branches as they could burn your pet if he becomes tangled up in them, or he may get an electric shock if he bites through the wire.”