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Keep your pet healthy & safe from toxic foods this Christmas

This festive season, it may be particularly hard for vets to open their clinics and accept pets – so we’ve put together a list of tips to keep your fur babies safe this Christmas.

Written by High Life North
Published 22.12.2020


Dark chocolate 

We know how hard it is to resist those puppy eyes. But at this time of year, with more snacks lying about, you have to be super-careful to keep some treats well out of the reach of your pets. Dark chocolate, for example, is highly toxic for dogs and cats, with even the odd few squares able to cause issues such as diarrhoea and vomiting. Larger amounts can result in a dog experiencing seizures or tremors, cardiac issues and even death. This is no exaggeration! 

Christmas pudding and mince pies 

It may also be worth noting that seemingly harmless food items can also cause major health implications. Giving dogs and cats nibbles of Christmas pud and mince pies could lead to kidney failure, as grapes and all of their dried derivatives – currants, raisins and sultanas – are toxic to our canine pals.


Thinking about what makes up certain foodstuffs is also key.  Stuffing balls are likely to contain some form of onion, which is, again, toxic to dogs and cats and can damage their red blood cells, cause abdominal discomfort and lethargy. 

Nuts and Gum 

Other foods containing nuts, particularly macadamia nuts, can also be very harmful to a dog’s health. Be sure not to leave any chewing gum lying around either, as even small amounts can cause liver damage should a dog ingest it.


Christmas gifts and decorations 

It’s not just food we need to be aware of, dogs also have a penchant for eating non-food items, making candles, baubles, tinsel and potpourri dangerous things to have around pets. Ingesting these could lead to illness, vomiting and a whole host of other pet issues. Snow globes imported from abroad are often filled with anti-freeze – highly toxic for a cat that manages to break the decoration and is then tempted to lick up the sweet-smelling liquid.

Himalayan salt lamps have been in trend this year and can be irresistible to pets too, but they cause major health problems for those addicted to licking them, with severe neurological issues resulting from salt poisoning and ingestion of sodium.

Cigarettes and alcohol 

It goes without saying that leaving cigarettes and alcohol around could also cause serious health issues to pets, with both nicotine and alcohol being highly toxic. 


All hope is not lost! Giving a pet a well-balanced meal, full of nutrition and vitamins and minerals, is the best present you can give them this Christmas. But sneaking it a little bit of turkey meat, free from skin and bones, is acceptable. The odd Brussel sprout won’t harm either your pet either, (though we can’t say you might not regret the fallout).


Worried your pets might be at risk? PetPanion is a new app that helps pet owners maintain a sharp focus on their dog or cat’s physical and mental health. This app has you covered, as it enables dog and cat owners to request their pet’s medical history from their vet and then keep all of that to hand, via the app, in case they need treatment from another clinic or mobile vet in the future. The COVID-friendly app also facilitates virtual vets appointments, allowing consultations to be carried out digitally, and enables vets to be paid via the app too.

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