Mon 7th Nov 2022

Cat and dog owners need James’ Christmas list of pet poisons

Christmas is a joyous time of year filled with fun and family gatherings, however, festive presents, decorations, and food can often prove to be dangerous for our inquisitive companions. Read Vet James’ guide below to find out more about common Christmas dangers that our cats and dogs can encounter.

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Unfortunately, lots of our loved products we indulge in over the Christmas period are poisonous for our cats and dogs. James explains this a bit further – poisons are any chemical substance that causes harm when ingested by damaging cells, shutting down organs, and even causing death. Here is a list of the most common poisons for our pets over Christmas.

Download our essential oils and pets infographic

James’ Christmas danger list:

Human Food

One of the big Christmas killers of pets is food, according to James. Popular treats can be toxic to pets, including:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes, raisins, currants, sultanas and anything with them in I.e., mince pies and Christmas pudding or cake
  • Alliums such as onions, garlic, and leeks
  • Alcohol

Beware of foods such as gravy and leftovers which can contain these fatal ingredients. On top of this, fatty foods can cause gastrointestinal upsets such as vomiting or diarrhoea, and foods high in sugar, salt, and spice can cause health problems too.

Christmas Plants

If you’re planning on having a kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas, make sure it’s out of your pet’s reach! Plants such as mistletoe and holly are poisonous when ingested and Christmas tree needles are very spiky so will be particularly dangerous when swallowed. Also, plants such as ivy and poinsettia are dangerous, and potpourri can clog up their throats when ingested, so keep them out of reach too.


From baubles, ribbon, wrapping paper, and tinsel to tree lights, batteries for gifts, and fake snow; Christmas brings lots of new furnishings which may excite our furry friends. If any of these objects are ingested by your pet, James advises pet owners to call our Estcourt Street vet practice straight away on 01380 723687 as materials can get lodged or cause burns or discomfort.

Household products and medication

It is always useful to know that cleaning products and any pills left lying around will most likely be toxic for pets. Antifreeze is highly toxic to cats and dogs. Be careful of anything lying around the house during the festive season. Call us immediately on 01380 723687 if your cat or dog has swallowed anything or has any substances on their fur or skin.

Essential oils

Whether you use these yourself via candles, diffusers, oil burners, or out of the bottle, or you have bought one as a present, be aware that many essential oils are poisonous to pets, especially cats. Google the oil before using it and keep it well out of your pet’s reach if necessary. Some oils can cause harm through inhalation or absorption through the skin too.

Learn more about essential oils and pets in our downloadable infographic.

Keep in mind that James’ list above is not exhaustive and only outlines the most common household dangers for cats and dogs. If your pet has ingested or come into close contact with any of the hazards above, or anything else you are concerned about, contact our vets immediately.

Contact us in an emergency

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