Orchard Vet's Blog

Christmas hazards for your pets


Christmas Dog

We want all our clients and patients to have a happy and safe Christmas, so we’ve put together a little list of things to avoid at home to make sure you don’t need any unexpected visits to the vets!


Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, a bit like caffeine, that’s poisonous to dogs and cats. Never put chocolate treats, or presents that may contain chocolate, on or under your tree.

Christmas pudding and mince pies

All grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas, as well as foods that contain them, are toxic to dogs. Keep well out of reach and carefully dispose of leftovers.

Macadamia nuts

These can cause weakness, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia within 12 hours of ingestion. Keep locked away in a cupboard and never leave lying around.


Alcohol can cause severe liver and brain damage and is significantly more toxic to dogs than to humans. It may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and even death. Clean up spillages as they happen and never leave leftover drinks lying around.

Artificial sweeteners

One sweetener in particular, xylitol, is found in many foods, including some cakes. Ingestion can lead to potentially fatal hypoglycaemia, acute liver disease and blood clotting. Even small amounts can be extremely dangerous so avoid at all costs.

Christmas trees

Pine needles can cause mild stomach upset, cuts to the mouth and, in severe cases, even perforation of the intestines. Vacuum daily and keep trees watered or buy an artificial tree.

Christmas Decorations

Glass baubles tend to smash into shards when eaten, causing irritation, perforation or blockages so opt for shatter-proof baubles or decorations. Dogs and cats can eat tinsel which can cause blockages while fairy lights can cause electric shock if chewed. Be mindful of this when placing your decorations.

Poinsettia, mistletoe and ivy

All are mildly toxic and can cause vomiting, drooling, diarrhoea and other symptoms so make sure to keep them well out of reach.

If you’re worried that your pet has ingested any of the above call us immediately, or call Vets Now outside of our opening hours.