Kennel Club urges caution at Christmas for pets’ safety

The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs, the Kennel Club, is alerting dog owners to the dangers posed to man’s best friend over the festive period and is urging dog lovers across the UK to keep their much loved pets safe.

Throughout the Christmas period lots of items are brought into the home which may be of great interest to a dog, from unusual plants and trees, to Christmas foods, decorations and presents. Whilst many are perfectly harmless, some can prove harmful or even fatal to dogs.

With an estimated 25% of households owning a dog[i], the Kennel Club has compiled a list to guide dog owners in what to be careful of over Christmas, which includes:

A number of foodstuffs can be harmful to dogs and these can cause a number of different clinical effects, ranging from vomiting and diarrhoea, to more severe effects such as seizures or kidney failure, depending on what is eaten.

Foods that should never be given to dogs include chocolate, raisins, grapes, currants, sultanas, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, fruit cake, mince pies, stollen, macadamia nuts, blue cheese and allium species including onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives.

Certain plants that are brought into the house more commonly at Christmas can poison a dog or obstruct their airways if consumed. Plants that can cause drooling and varying degrees of stomach upset if eaten by a dog include poinsettia, holly, mistletoe and ivy.

Nick Sutton, Kennel Club Health Information Officer and former veterinary toxicologist, said: “There is no reason dogs can’t enjoy Christmas with their families just as much as their owners do, however we would thoroughly recommend being cautious.”

and keeping anything that may pose a risk to your beloved family pet in a safe place and out of sight and smell of your dog.

“Many dogs die or become very ill every Christmas from eating things they shouldn’t and this is mostly avoidable. An emergency trip to the vets on, or around, Christmas day is the last thing you or your dog want. Christmas for many people is an exciting and busy time, but to avoid your dog becoming unwell, try to remember that many items associated with Christmas can be very tempting but harmful for a dog, particularly if left unattended. If you believe your dog has eaten anything it shouldn’t have, seek veterinary advice immediately and let the vet know what your dog has eaten, when it ate it and how much was consumed. Never try and make your dog sick if it eats something it shouldn’t have, as this can make things worse.

“It is a good idea to get a couple of new toys for dogs to play with during the Christmas period and to give them a good deal of exercise outside to keep them occupied and away from things that may cause them harm.