Christmas Health Hazards

Christmas Health Hazards


With the Xmas season in full swing what happens if your pet gets their nose into your alcoholic tipple? Alcohol should not be consumed by pets as their livers are not equipped to break down alcohol as easily as human livers are. We all know how awful we can feel after a heavy night, but our pets are much more prone to alcohol toxicity with potentially life-threatening consequences. Alcohol toxicity can also occur from ingestion of unbaked bread dough - as the yeast ferments in their stomach, alcohol is created and is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.


Many Yule time plants can be hazardous to pets if chewed - luckily in the majority of cases symptoms are mild and self-limiting and may include salivation, oral irritation and vomiting/diarrhoea. To be on the safe side, keep plants out of reach of inquisitive pets and consult your vet if ingestion does occur.

Mouldy Food

Mould ingestion can be lethal to pets. It usually happens when dogs raid the kitchen waste recycling caddy, so keep them out of reach this Xmas period where there is likely to be an increase in food waste. If your pet ingests mouldy food seek treatment without delay. Symptoms can occur rapidly and include: RESTLESSNESS, PANTING, EXCESSIVE SALIVATION, WHOLE-BODY MUSCLE TREMORS, HYPERSENSITIVITY TO TOUCH/NOISE, SEIZURES


It's time to wrap those Xmas toys and gadgets - don't forget the batteries! However, pets are inquisitive and may think nothing about swallowing batteries, which can cause significant damage to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract! Large, chewed or punctured alkaline batteries often require intervention, and the lithium disc or ‘button’ batteries pose the greatest risk of all. Always contact your vet if you think your pet may have ingested a battery.

Onions and Garlic

Did you know that onions and their relatives are toxic to dogs and cats? The Allium family (onions, garlic, spring onions, chives, leeks...) cause red blood cell destruction in cats and dogs- which can result in lethargy or collapse. Even 1 or 2 garlic cloves can be enough to cause serious problems in a cat. Exposure can also occur chronically i.e. small amounts every day can build up to cause an issue.


Keep those Xmas chocolates out of your pets reach!

Chocolate is poisonous to pets, and dogs are usually the main culprits

Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which dogs and cats are unable to process properly. Theobromine acts as a stimulant leading to clinical signs of:

  • vomiting and diarrhoea
  • increased thirst/urination
  • hyperexcitability/agitation
  • rapid heart rate
  • seizures

The darker the chocolate the higher the theobromine content therefore the more toxic it is. White chocolate is safe however it may cause gastrointestinal upset due to its high fat content.