Orchard Vet's Blog

Snow Laughing Matter


In our endeavour to provide the best in veterinary care to you and your pets, here’s your yearly reminder of Christmas hazards to be aware of to avoid any disruptions to your Christmas festivities and unnecessary trips to the emergency out of hours.


Chocolate  contains theobromine which is toxic for dogs and cats. The severity of toxicity varies depending on the type of chocolate, and this is different between cats and dogs too. If you think your pet has eaten chocolate call us immediately, as severe cases of chocolate poisoning can result in heart failure, coma and even death.

Christmas pudding and mince pies

All grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas, as well as foods that contain them, are toxic to dogs. Ingestion of even a small quantity can cause liver failure. Don’t forget, this will include food that contains dried fruits, such as mince pies and Christmas pudding. Keep well out of reach and carefully dispose of leftovers.


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. Call us immediately if you think your pet has ingested alcohol.

 Artificial sweeteners

One sweetener in particular, xylitol, is found in many foods, including some cakes. The level of xylitol varies from product to product, but just one stick of chewing gum is enough to make your dog seriously ill.  Ingestion can lead to potentially fatal hypoglycaemia, acute liver disease and blood clotting. You should call us immediately if you think your dog has eaten anything containing xylitol.

Christmas trees 

If eaten pine needles from your Christmas tree can cause mild stomach upset, cuts to the mouth, blockages and, in severe cases, even perforation of the intestines. Make sure you 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!


Lilies can cause convulsions and are potentially fatal to cats and dogs when eaten in large enough quantities. Call us immediately if your pet ingests any lilies!

Vets Now Birmingham (emergency out of hours) 0121 2382 005 or Wolverhampton 0121 439 1172.