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Avoid a Christmas calamity

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

As vets, we often need to treat the after effects of accidents and well-intended treats over Christmas, many of which can be easily avoided. We’ve put together a list of potential Christmas calamities to help everyone have a very happy Christmas: 

Food and drink

Christmas foods that are poisonous to pets include:

  • Chocolate
  • Sweets (or anything containing xylitol)
  • Raisins, sultanas and currants - plus the foods that include them e.g. Christmas pudding, fruit cake or mince pies
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol  


Most of us are guilty of giving our pets leftovers after dinner, but please remember that the rich fatty foods of a Christmas dinner can cause tummy upsets, vomiting or promote pancreatitis. Also, make sure pets do not get hold of the turkey carcass as bones can splinter, puncturing internal organs.


Ensure your Christmas tree is fixed securely to stop it being knocked over by an excitable dog or a curious climbing cat. Avoid low hanging decorations or fragile tree ornaments that could be easily ‘stolen’ and broken, and keep an eye on pets playing with tinsel to ensure no part is swallowed. Keep Christmas lights and wires out of reach also to avoid an electric shock.

Festive plants

Plants such as holly, ivy and mistletoe are particularly toxic to pets; so if you do decorate your house with these plants, make sure they’re safely out of harm’s way and can’t be eaten or chewed. Poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs, however, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea if eaten in large quantities.



Despite the unseasonably mild weather, there is still the potential for pets to suffer from antifreeze poisoning. Antifreeze poisoning typically happens when the liquid drips from a car’s radiator, creating puddles on driveways and roads, or mixing with existing water around the car. It contains a substance called ethylene glycol which is sweet to taste and very appealing to animals. Ingesting even very small amounts of antifreeze can make pets critically ill and they should be treated urgently.


If you have a Christmas emergency, call Highcroft Veterinary Hospital on 01275 832410. We will have vets and nurses on-site 24 hours a day over the festive period, so your pets will be in safe hands if the worst were to happen.

Find out more about our Christmas Opening Hours here




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