Protecting Your Pets This Christmas. Boxer dog laying on his side with a santa hat placed on top of his head

Protecting Your Pets This Christmas

Christmas can be a hazardous time for our four legged friends and with all the excitement we need to take extra care to keep them safe and well.

So beware of the following hazards in order to avoid a “Nightmare Before (During & After) Christmas”;

Christmas tree:

Ensure your tree is secured, cats love to climb and you don’t want it toppling over causing damage or injury. Beware of pine needles as they can get stuck in paws and if swallowed can puncture the digestive tract. Don’t let your pet drink the water used to hydrate the tree as it causes stomach upsets.


Cats cannot seem to resist swinging and chewing on tinsel. Not only a choking hazard but it can get stuck in the digestive system causing problems.

Christmas decorations:

They come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes and look like the perfect toy to play with and chew.

Christmas lights:

Twinkling lights may look pretty but can be a great danger to your pets who like biting down on them. Be cautious and vigilant placing your lights within easy access to your pets to avoid unwanted shock.

Poinsettia, Holly & Mistletoe:

These traditional Christmas plants can cause drooling and severe gastrointestinal upset. Other plants that are harmful to animals are lilies and daffodils.


Poisonous to both cats and dogs, containing a chemical called Theobromine which affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys. There is no antidote and dependent upon the amount eaten it can be fatal. Specialist pet chocolate is available.


Like chocolate, caffeine is a stimulant and has the same effects, so don’t leave your mug on the floor.


Particularly toxic to cats and dogs causing gastrointestinal irritation and possible red blood cell damage. So don’t be tempted to give them a bit of stuffing.


Alcohol is more dangerous to animals than humans. In addition to suffering the same effects of vomiting, disorientation and loss of coordination they can also suffer cardiac arrest, seizures and sometimes even death. So keep an eye on your glass and make sure they don’t try and steal any.


Containing a substance called Persin, it causes vomiting and diarrhoea. Never feed to birds or rodents as this can cause difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart.

Grapes, Raisins and Sultanas:

Lethal to pets, the unknown toxic substance causes kidney damage. So keep the mince pies and Christmas pudding to yourself.

Dairy products:

The majority of dogs and cats are lactose intolerant and eating dairy products can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Specialist cat milk is available.

Macadamia nuts:

Not only do nuts, in general, pose a choking hazard, eating these nuts causes vomiting, weakness, tremors, depression and hyperthermia.


This artificial sweetener is found in numerous foods and drinks. Causing potentially fatal low blood sugar levels, it has been linked to fatal liver disease and blood-clotting disorders.

Yeast dough:

If you are making your own bread this year, keep it up out of the way of nosy dustbins, the yeast will continue to swell inside their little tummies causing pain and possible blockage.

Cooked meat bones:

“Give a dog a bone” but not if it is cooked as they splinter easily and can puncture the digestive system causing problems.

Over excitement and overeating:

Christmas can be as exciting for animals as it is for children and we all know that too much food, excitement and late nights ends with fractious little ones and upset tummies, so if you don’t want Tiddles scratching Aunt Betty or Fido throwing up over Uncle Albert, don’t give them mountains of food they aren’t used to and ensure they have a place they can get away from it all and rest.

Please note that above is only intended as a guide if your pet becomes unwell and you suspect that he/she has eaten any of these items, please make a note of what was eaten, when, how much and contact your vet for professional advice as soon as possible.

Microchipping Your Dog

Microchipping Your Dog

Compulsory microchipping of man’s best friend came into effect on the 6th April 2016. Lost or stolen dogs will now be more readily reunited with their owners under new microchipping laws brought in to improve dog welfare.

The new measures are intended to cut the rise in strays, encouraging owners to take responsibility of their pets and provide accountability in the event of an attack. Government figures reveal that more than 100,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year, at a cost of £57m to the taxpayer and welfare charities. The law governing dog attacks will be extended to cover private property, closing a legal loophole giving dog owners immunity from prosecution for attacks on people or animals on private property. However householders will be protected from prosecution if their dog attacks a burglar or trespasser on their own land.

Rather like the old dog licences, microchipping is now compulsory for all dog owners in the UK. Owners will need to ensure their animal is not only microchipped but their details are kept up to date. It is important as the registered keeper that the database that holds your pets details is informed if you move home, sell or pass on the dog or if it dies.

Microchipping is a simple, painless and relatively inexpensive solution which involves inserting a sterile microchip the size of a grain of rice; coded with the owners details, between the dog’s shoulder blades by an experienced individual such as a vet. Weaned puppies must be chipped at their second set of vaccinations at 8 weeks plus. Any owner whose dog is found without a chip and can be traced by local authorities will have the benefits of microchipping explained to them and given a short period of time to have the dog microchipped or face a fine of £500.

As a nation of dog lovers, traceability gives peace of mind to owners allowing lost dogs to be quickly reunited, limiting the stress and avoids Fido spending unnecessary time in kennels. Of course cats and other animals that are large enough can be microchipped too; in case they get lost or stolen, but don’t worry there will be no legal obligation to have Tiddles or Thumper microchipped just yet.

To update your pets microchip, please visit –