Christmas Catastrophes


Christmas  time with your pets

 Christmas is a great time of year to spend with family, friends and pets but there are some common problems that we see around the festive period that can cause your pets a lot of pain and distress.


Christmas time can be very stressful for pets. Their routine is disrupted. There may be visitors, parties and loud noises. Cats are especially upset by changes at home and may go into hiding. Make sure your pet has a safe, quiet place away from noise and bustle and access to food, water and a spare litter tray. There are several products that can be used to try to reduce stress at times like these. Please contact us before Christmas to discuss these if you feel your pet would benefit.


Christmas dinner is lovely and it`s very tempting to want to share with your pets but there are several human foods and treats that can cause upset stomachs and worse. A little bit of turkey meat is probably fine but fatty trimmings and leftover bones can cause pancreatitis or vomiting and diarrhoea. Christmas pudding, cake and mince pies all contain raisins and sultanas which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and in some cases kidney failure. Nuts can also cause upset stomachs. Chocolate is the big problem at Christmas time - we often have patients who help themselves to chocolate from under the tree. Chocolate contains theobromine which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in small doses and fitting, heart problems and even death in high doses. Dark chocolate is the worst. If you are worried your pets has eaten chocolate, nuts, bones or Christmas pudding, cake or mince pies then phone us to discuss what treatment might be needed, the sooner you phone us the more we can do to prevent problems.

Plants and flowers

Several common Christmas plants can cause problems. Poinsettias, mistletoe and ivy can all cause vomiting and upset guts.. If your pet has eaten or licked at these then please phone for advice. Lilies are poisonous to cats and can cause kidney failure, usually due to the pollen getting on the cats fur and then being groomed off or from the cat sniffing the flowers please phone as soon as you realise there is a problem as this can be fatal.

Snow and ice

Christmas time often means snow, ice and long walks. Most dogs enjoy this but take care with older pets who may have a bit of arthritis - the cold weather will make this worse and they may stuggle. If you are worried about arthritis in your pet then please make an appointment to see the vet to discuss further as there are lots of treaments (medical and alternative) that can help. When out walking remember that even a small amount of snow can make it difficult for smaller dogs to get around and they can get very cold. If it is icy it is often better to keep your dog on the lead as slipping and skidding on the ice can often lead to torn knee ligaments or pulled muscles.

Christmas decorations

Cats and dogs often love exploring around the Christmas tree and other decorations. We have had cats in the past who have ended up ingesting the ribbons and tinsel they have been playing with - these can cause serious gut problems and often need emergency surgery to remove. Dogs who like sniffing around the tree are at risk of getting scratches or ulcers on the eye from the sharp pine needles. If you notice your pet holding their eye shut or blinking a lot then bring them down for a check over.


Anti-freeze is highly poisonous to all pets but it is mainly cats who ingest it. It has a sweet taste so any spills should be cleaned up immediately to prevent your cat or dog from licking up the liquid. Anti-freeze contains ethylene glycol which will cause kidney failure and often death even with extensive treatment. If you think your pet has ingested anti-freeze then phone us as soon as possible.

Finally.... We hope you have a Merry Christmas. Hopefully we won`t see you but if you are worried about your pet please phone us.