Things to avoid this Christmas

As the year draws to an end there are many celebrations within December that can bring joy to both us humans and four-legged friends. Whether you're celebrating your first Christmas with your little puppy or kitten or have a pal who's seen many before, there are a few things to remember keep out of paws reach to ensure your dogs and cats are happy and healthy this holiday. 


Food

It's a big part of the holidays. From roast dinner with all the trimmings to shiny tins of chocolates and little surprises in the stockings. There's a lot for us to choose from but may not be safe for our dogs, and cats. Instead of sharing your favourite festive treats why not surprise your dog with our Christmas Dinner Hamper or your cat with our Purry Power Starter Pack?

Mince Pies and Christmas Cake 

Christmas cake and mince pies are two of the most popular Christmas desserts, however they both contain grapes and raisins which are poisonous to dogs and can cause liver and kidney damage if eaten. 

Nuts

Macadamia nuts toxin that can affect your dog’s muscles and nervous system if eaten such as swollen limbs and panting.

Other nuts can also be a choking hazard, especially to smaller dogs which can cause blockages when swallowed, so make sure to keep them away from our pets.

Chocolate and Artificial Sweeteners (xylitol)

It may be a special treat for us humans but it's best for the dogs and cats to stick to their favourite Poppy’s Picnic treats. Chocolate is poisonous to as it contains a stimulant called theobromine which can cause kidney failure. 

Most sweet treats contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol which if ingested by dogs/cats causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which can lead to more serious problems. Symptoms to keep an eye out for would be loss of appetite, extreme lethargy, trembling, weakness and discolouration of the gums and skin. 

Onions

Dry, raw or cooked, all types of onions are poisonous to both dogs and cats. They cause an upset stomach but can also cause damage to their red blood cells which may lead to further and more serious illness so make sure they are out of paws reach. 

Alcohol 

Unattended and spilled drinks are the most common way of pets getting into alcohol however some cats and dogs are more curious and can end up consuming other types of alcohol such as hand sanitiser or antifreeze. Alcohol is absorbed into our pet’s bodies very quickly and they can start to show symptoms within 30-60 minutes. Symptoms can range from mild intoxication to vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of bodily control which can lead to more serious problems, especially to cats. 

 

Plants

Around the holidays there are more plants around the house such as mistletoe, poinsettias and holly but just remember to keep them out of paws reach. 

Holly 

While not as toxic as some other plants, the leaves and berries of holly can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea and a loss of appetite in dogs and cats if they are ingested. 

Poinsettias

Known for their Christmas red petals and shiny leaves, poinsettias can cause drooling, irritation to the skin, face, lips and nose, red itchy eyes, vomiting and diarrhoea if ingested by both dogs and cats.

Mistletoe

Kisses under the mistletoe may be sweet but our dogs and cats can suffer from gastrointestinal irritation if they eat any part of this festive plant (the stem, leaves and berries) which are all toxic. Keep an eye out for drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. 

Ivy 

Though classed as a mild toxin, if your dog ingests ivy it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea so it's best to keep it out of your dogs and cats reach as we don't want poorly pups and cats! 

Lilies

Lilies have a particular sweet scent which attracts curious cats, however its' orange pollen is highly toxic and causes kidney failure in cats. It's wise to avoid lilies as brushing against the flower can cause pollen to cling to fur which can then be ingested during grooming. 

 

Items

Silica Gel

You know what happens, everyone opens their gifts in excitement and wrapping goes everywhere, including Silica Gel packets which are usually found in everything, from the shiny new shoes to medicines. Silica gel is a drying agent so it is used to absorb moisture or condensation and keep products fresh.  

If accidentally ingested, silica gel can cause gastrointestinal upset or vomiting and diarrhoea. They could also be a choking hazard, especially to smaller dogs and cats so make sure to pick up any packets that have managed to get strewn about. 

Batteries

When getting out the batteries for the new toys Santa left for Christmas, make sure your dog or cat doesn’t get hold of any. Most batteries contain potassium hydroxide to increase their cell life however the fluid in the battery casing can cause ulcers and burns, especially on the tongue, throat and skin.

If the battery fluid has been ingested, the tips and sides of the tongue may appear red and raw, or have a whiteish-grey appearance. They may also be drooling, pawing at their mouth and/or vomiting.

Plug-in air fresheners 

Air fresheners can be found in many homes and usually offer fun Christmas scents during the holiday season. Plug-in air fresheners contain chemicals to enhance the smell of your home and while some are natural, others are not and may cause eye, nose and throat irritation to your dog and cat, especially since they are usually plugged into the wall at pet height too. 

 

It’s important to note that if your dog or cat is displaying any of the symptoms above or you are concerned they may have ingested something they shouldn't, then please contact your vet immediately.

Poppy, Dylan and the VIP (Very Important Paws) Team wish you a wonderful and safe holiday with your loved ones. 

For more pet advice, visit Blue Cross' website.