How to keep your dog safe this Christmas

How to keep your dog safe this Christmas

Christmas can be a pretty hectic time of year and unfortunately, dog owners often forget to keep festive health hazards well away from prying paws.

Some of our decorations and treats are toxic to our four-legged friends, so you’ll need to take various safeguards during the festive season. 

There’s no reason your pooch shouldn’t have a ball – and a present or two!

Of course, no matter what we do, at some point our dogs may be affected by illness or injury. This is why reliable cover should be on every owner’s Christmas list.  

Here at Purely Pets, we understand how much your canine means to you, making sure your furry pal has the best possible protection.  

‘Tis the season to be jolly, so take a look at our top tips for a safe doggy Christmas!

Are Christmas trees dangerous for dogs?

Two dogs and a cat in festive accessories sitting in-front of a christmas tree

If you have an enquiring pooch, it’s best to position your Christmas tree in a place they can’t reach.

While ingesting pine needles may only cause a mildly upset stomach, it’s possible their sharp points could inflict more extensive internal damage.

What other seasonal plants are harmful to dogs?

It’s not just the tree you need to watch out for…


While a pup who’s eaten European mistletoe berries is only likely to suffer an upset stomach, American mistletoe berries can pose a notable danger to canine health.


Ensure holly is kept away from your pooch, as nibbling on a few berries could trigger an upset stomach. The plant is low in toxicity, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Many of us decorate our homes with Hedera Helix, the species of ivy commonly used in Christmas wreaths and table centrepieces. If your canine decides to snack on some, an upset stomach could ensue.

In the unfortunate event a dog has extended skin contact with the Hedera species, they may suffer from allergic or irritant dermatitis.


When swallowed, poinsettias can cause an irritated stomach and mouth, sometimes leading to excessive salivation and vomiting.

Are any Christmas foods dangerous for dogs?

A dog wearing a Santa hat with a bowl of biscuits in-front

Keep your eyes peeled for curious snouts, as many Christmas foods are toxic to dogs.

Dried grapes

The festive season isn’t the same without mince pies, Christmas pudding and cake, all of which contain dried grapes.

Dried (and fresh) grapes are toxic to canines, so it’s essential to keep foods containing them away from hungry hounds.

Even if mutts have a relatively small taster of sultanas, raisins or currants, they could suffer severe kidney failure.

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts can cause heightened body temperature, stiffness, lameness, tremors and lethargy, so keep them stowed somewhere safe.


Christmas time means even more chocolate in the house than usual.

Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that’s potentially lethal to dogs. Even a few bites can cause convulsions, heart problems, tremors, agitation and hyperactivity, according to Blue Cross.

Darker chocolate has a greater concentration of theobromine, the most lethal being baker’s chocolate.

On the other hand, white chocolate isn’t classed as toxic to pooches, as its theobromine levels are much lower – it can, however, cause pancreatitis.

So, what do you do if you discover your pup raiding the chocolate supply? If your canine’s ingested over 20mg/kg of theobromine ­– 14g/kg of milk chocolate or 3.5g/kg of dark – call the vet straight away and seek treatment.

You can’t always predict when your dog might fall sick – this is why specialist dog insurance is essential.

A broken bar of dark chocolate


Veg that’s part of the Allium plant family is potentially toxic to dogs – be it raw or cooked – and can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.

It also has a damaging impact on red blood cells, leading to anaemia, a condition you may not detect in your pooch for several days.

The following vegetables fall into the Allium group:

  • Chives

  • Leeks

  • Shallots

  • Garlic

  • Onions


If you plan on enjoying a glass (or two) of something alcoholic over Christmas, make sure your pup can’t sneak a sip!

Not only can the bubbly stuff make pooches woozy, wobbly and sleepy, it can also cause blood sugar and body temperature to plummet, even triggering comas.

Sugar-free sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol can be found in many of the sweet treats we snack on during the festive season, as well as chewing gum, toothpaste and more.

Xylitol is poisonous to pooches. It has the ability to trigger an insulin release in your furball’s system, leading to low blood sugar and, on occasion, liver damage.

Worryingly, you might not notice symptoms right away, as they may be delayed.

Signs your dog has ingested Xylitol include: throwing up, convulsions, tiredness and comas. The good news is that, if lowered blood sugar is treated rapidly, your mutt should bounce back.

Can I give my dog Christmas leftovers?

A dog and cat eating left over food from plates wearing santa hats

You want your four-legged pal to feel included in Christmas celebrations, so there’s no reason you can’t treat them to some carefully chosen titbits.

As long as your pup’s in good health and you’re aware of any allergies, you can safely indulge them with the following foods, according to Blue Cross:

Veggies - green beans; parsnips; sprouts; carrots; peas; swede; new or sweet potatoes.

Protein – turkey meat (with any skin or bones removed); lamb meat (with the bones removed); salmon fillet; scrambled eggs.

Avoid over-feeding your pup as this could lead to diarrhoea and vomiting.

Are there any other Christmas hazards to look out for?

The following should also be kept well away from canines:

  • Silica gel

  • Candles

  • Potpourri

  • Festive decorations

  • Wrapping paper

  • Cigarettes

  • Fireworks

The best present your dog could wish for

A dog sitting in-front of a Christmas tree

There are plenty of presents to spoil your canine with. They’ll be sure to love a new toy, ball or delicious chew, especially when they can enjoy it surrounded by loving family.

Of course, there’s an even better gift you can give your furball this Christmas: reliable cover.

Purely Pets is here to make the festive season perfect for every pooch.

We offer dependable dog insurance fitted around your budget, protecting your four-legged friend in the event illness or injury occurs.

Take extra special care of your dog this Christmas – get a quote today.

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  • Claims paid directly to vets
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  • Interest free monthly payments