Our Tips for keeping your pets safe at Christmas…

Christmas is the most wonderful time of year – Here are some tips for keeping your pets out of danger so everyone can enjoy the festive season.  

We hope you are getting your house filled up with tasty treats for Christmas but did you know many of these can be poisonous to your pets?  For example, chocolate is toxic and whilst a tiny chunk is likely to be ok, but anything more could be a problem – please, to be safe always give proper ‘dog chocolate’.

Coffee, Raisins, Grapes and Sultanas are tasty for us but can cause kidney failure, liver failure and other problems in our pets. Raisins and grapes are VERY toxic and can cause kidney failure, nobody is quite sure why so they should be avoided entirely, so no mince pies or Christmas pudding. The toxic list also includes the sweetener xylitol, which in even small amounts can be highly toxic. Xylitol can be found in chewing gum, some sweets, mints, toothpaste, and mouthwash.

Also, human food, treats and scraps that are a change to your pets normal diet can cause stomach upsets, vomiting, diarrhoea and even more serious conditions such as Pancreatitis which can be fatal.  Try to keep your pets diet constant through the festive period and give them their normal amount of cat or dog food. This includes cats on special diets for problems such as renal disease or cystitis.

picjumbo.com_HNCK3303Some plants also cause problems.  Mistletoe, Holly, Potpourri and Poinsettias should be avoided.  As always, extreme caution is needed with lilies as the pollen can cause renal failure in cats. Needles from the tree should be hoovered at least daily, and tinsel and similar decorations can be a very tempting toy which must not be eaten.  Also make sure your tree is secure and won’t fall over onto an inquisitive furry friend.  Similarly, make sure electric cables for light and other decorations are well protected or out the way – these can often be chewed, especially by house rabbits!

Remember dogs and cats will know what is beneath all that wrapping paper using the power of their nose, so be very careful with presents under the tree and treats hanging from it!


There are often still fireworks at this time of year so keep your pets inside and stock up on DAP and Feliway to calm them, and use a noise de-sensitization CD if you have one. Ask at the surgery if your pet needs more help in the form of natural calming therapies or sedatives. Pets may try to run out of the door with guests coming and going and the noises of parties so ensure they are micro-chipped.

antifreezeThere are a few other winter hazards to be aware of – the salt and grit on the roads can be irritant to dog’s feet so ensure to wipe their feet when coming back from walks. Be very careful of anti-freeze, as the taste can be attractive especially to cats and can cause severe kidney failure.

Also, remember to keep up with your flea medication. As the central heating comes on and people stop using the flea medications, we always see lots of flea cases over Christmas. Remember your Stronghold or Advocate! If you are unsure if your pet has fleas then we recommend you do the wet paper test (link to YouTube video).

Please look out for signs your pet is unwell this Christmas, it is all too easy to overlook mild signs of illness with all the festivities. If your pet is unwell over the festive period then don’t be tempted to give them any human medications.  It is much better to call us and use our emergency service for further advice. We are open as much as possible over the festive period to accommodate all eventualities (Streatham Hill and Mayow (Sydenham) will only close Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day). Please remember that the surgeries might be quite busy due to emergencies.

We hope you have a fantastic Christmas and that all of this doesn’t scare you – just try to keep an eye out for any potential problems and let guests know to avoid giving your pets too many human treats – why not try having a few carrot sticks or a couple of new toys to hand to give instead!  If you have any queries then let us know.

We wish all our furry friends a Happy and Healthy Christmas and New Year!

p.s Looking to give your pet a health boost for Christmas? We have extended our Pet Smile Month until the end of December sp why not pop in for a free dental check to ensure those teeth are healthy and pain free. Perhaps as we head in to the new year you should consider joining your pet onto our VIP healthcare plan so that all their preventative care is covered, from vaccinations, flea, worming and lungworm treatments are covered and ensures massive savings.



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