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Keeping your pets safe at Christmas

20th December 2018

Christmas is the season of over indulgence for some, but do you know of the hidden dangers some of our festive favourites cause to our pets?

Over the festive season it’s worth knowing the dangers lurking in our store cupboards, posing a risk to our four legged friends.

Some of the potential hazards to our pets may seem obvious, such as the choking risk bones from our leftover turkey, beef or lamb may cause, however we have compiled a list to include more of the dangerous ingredients posing a tempting risk to our pets this Christmas.


Potentially the most well known toxic substance to pets, chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine which mainly affects the guts, heart, central nervous system and kidneys. This substance is poisonous to dogs, cats’ rodents and rabbits. Generally the richer and darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it’s likely to contain. Chocolate poisoning can take between 4-24 hours to show signs and presents itself with a whole host of symptoms, including; vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, muscle twitches, seizures and hyperactivity.


Much like chocolate, caffeine acts as a stimulant and dogs are especially more sensitive to the effects than humans. Symptoms are similar to both chocolate and alcohol poisoning.


Although these are all toxic in large amounts, it’s believed that the dried forms are even more toxic to pets. Christmas favourites such as; Christmas cake, Mince pies Christmas pudding and fruit cake all include these ingredients and should be kept firmly away from pets. Symptoms can include stomach problems and kidney failure.


These are actually one of the most poisonous foods for dogs and should be avoided at all costs. Symptoms can show from 12 hours of ingestion and include: Weakness, tremors, vomiting, increased body temperature and can last anything from 12 to 48 hours.


Blue Cheeses such as Roquefort and Stilton contain a substance called roquefortine C which dogs are especially sensitive to. Symptoms include: tremors, twitching, seizures, vomiting and diarrhoea.


Or to be more precise Xylitol which is found in some sugar free sweets, sugar free chewing gum, nicotine gums and even some medications. This artificial sweetener can be extremely poisonous to dogs. Even very small amounts can cause a significant drop in dogs’ blood sugar levels. Other symptoms include:  Weakness, lethargy, collapse, seizures and if large amounts are ingested this can lead to fatal acute liver disease.


These Allium family ingredients all contain a substance which can lead to digestive problems and damage to the red blood cells. Used in Christmas favourite such as stuffing and onion based gravy, it’s important to keep these away from pets.


This is significantly more toxic to dogs than it is to humans. Symptoms are very similar to those of chocolate poisoning and include: Vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, changes to the blood, coma and even death.



The stones contain a form of cyanide.


Extremely hard to digest but also the stones pose a choking risk to pets.


Highly toxic to dogs, these contain the chemical amygdalin.


Canines don’t have the proper enzymes to break down the fruit and both dry and fresh forms of the fruit are dangerous.


Although the stems are safe for dogs to eat, the leaves are highly toxic. Symptoms can include: A sudden decrease in calcium, unusual drooling, loss of appetite, changes in thirst and urination and loss of appetite.


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