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Christmas and Pets


Christmas is just around the corner and although we will probably be celebrating very differently this year, one thing that won’t change is that we must be careful of certain foods and plants that you may have in your home for the holidays.

Chocolate is very harmful and can be toxic to pets and should be kept well out of reach of your furry friends. It’s also advisable to remind your children not to offer any of their goodies to your pup. If you have wrapped candy on hand that your pup gets into, the sugar can cause a bad stomachache or diarrhea. If ingested, wrappers can cause serious problems for your pet, such as tearing of the intestines or esophagus.


Drinks at Christmas--namely alcoholic beverages including beer, wine and other spirits--can cause vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, and bad co-ordination. These items should never be given to your pet nor should they be left on the floor or other surface where your pup can get at it.

Cake batter and dough are also very harmful to your pets. Dough can “rise” in your pet’s’ stomach and cake batter containing raw eggs can cause salmonella infections.


You also need to be careful of food wraps such as aluminum foil, wax paper, and plastic wraps, which your pup could get and lick leftovers off the wrapping. If he ingests any of the wrapping, it could lead to a blockage and obstruction of the intestines. You should also be careful not to drop any skewers or toothpicks on the floor that have been used with food.

There are several plants and herbs that can be dangerous to your pets. Sage is often found in our homes at Christmas when preparing turkey and this herb can cause a lot of upset in dogs and is even more dangerous to cats. One of the most popular Christmas plants is the poinsettia and many pets are drawn to the lovely red leaves. If your pet chews on them, it will cause vomiting and severe stomach discomfort. You need to be vigilant if you have a “natural” Christmas tree since your pup may try to grab the branches and chew on them.

Turkey and ham are the most common foods prepared at Christmas and at this time, as well as year-round, be sure that your pup doesn’t get any turkey bones. A small piece of turkey will not harm your pup but if he has a sensitive stomach, it may cause him to be sick. Ham as well as any other pork, is very hard for a dog to digest.


While not related to any specific food, as a word of caution, be sure that your pup is in his crate or in another room of the house when taking hot cooked items out of the oven or off the top of the stove. Be careful not to trip over your four-legged friend and drop hot food or liquids on him and always be sure that he cannot get on top of a table to help himself to your meal.

Christmas may not be our usual large family gathering this year, but it can still be enjoyable. Stay safe and have a great holiday season.

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