Keeping Pets Safe at Christmas

Hi there!

Last night was quite good in the way of cross-stitching for the BIG Project, and I am carrying on as best I can to get things finished, as well as volunteering, decorating and so on. While I am busy doing this, I shall try to keep you updated with things as they go.

My post today however is somewhat serious, which isn’t at all craft related, but as a cat owner I wanted to take the chance to point out a few things you should know about how to protect your four-legged family member during the holidays. 

There are a number of things which can harm cats and dogs, and here I wanted to give small guide, and provide some links for further reference just so we can all have a happy festive season!


Alcoholic Beverages

Potential effects of alcohol consumption in cats and dogs range from vomiting and diarrhea to coma and death, depending on the quantity ingested.

Caffeinated Substances

Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and certain medications, can damage the central nervous system, heart, lungs, and kidneys. Caffeine is most often consumed when pets eat coffee grounds from the garbage or human medications that contain it.


Containing both caffeine and theobromine, chocolate can adversely affect the heart and central nervous system of cats and dogs, as well as causing pancreatitis. If a pet eats enough chocolate, he can die.

Citrus Oils

Used in food additives, shampoos, fragrances, and insect repellents, citrus oils (limonene and linaloolare) are toxic, especially to cats. Although most pets recover from citrus oil poisoning with veterinary care, death has occurred in some cases.

Fatty Foods

Cats require far more fat in their diets than dogs. In households with both dogs and cats, they must be kept from eating one another’s food, because cats eating dog food can suffer nutritional deficiencies, and dogs eating cat food or other fatty foods can develop pancreatitis.

Grapes, Raisins, Some Types of Currants

Even very small quantities of grapes or raisins may cause irreversible kidney damage. Effects are quite variable from one pet to the next.


Most cats and dogs are lactose-intolerance and can suffer episodes of diarrhea if they consume cow’s milk


Cats in particular tend to be drawn to nutmeg. However, nutmeg can be toxic to pets (and people) when too much is consumed, and the threshold for toxicity varies from one animal to the next. Although a few grains will probably do no harm, if a pet laps up a sufficient quantity of nutmeg, he may suffer tremors, seizures, and other nervous system abnormalities, and the results may be fatal. To be on the safe side, keep nutmeg out of reach of cats and dogs.

Onions and Garlic

Onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, shallots, and chives can cause a serious illness in cats and dogs called Heinz Body Anemia. Onions are the most likely to trigger it, though other allium species such as garlic may also cause problems if too much is consumed.


Under-ripe produce and greenery from potato plants contain a toxin called solanine that has effects ranging from stomach upset to severe neurological problems or even kidney failure, depending on the amount consumed.


Salt can be toxic in relatively small quantities (the toxicity threshold varies from one pet to the next), and excess consumption can lead to kidney damage, seizures, coma, and death. In addition to table salt, pets may consume salt in de-icers or playdough.

 Also avoid giving your pet any of your leftovers as this can cause diarrhoea. And keep your pet away from cooked bones, they can splinter or get lodged in your pet’s throat or can cause serious damage by puncturing the intestinal tract.


Holly, mistletoe, lilies, poinsettia plants and yew trees are poisonous to pets and must be kept well out of reach. Also take care if you have simply hung these out of reach, to quickly clear any fallen leaves or berries.

Christmas trees, baubles and flashing lights are a big temptation for pets wanting to play, particularly curious cats. But these and other Christmas items can cause serious injury if pets are left to explore. Pet owners are advised to ensure loose wires are tucked away, trees are secured to prevent them toppling and glass baubles are kept out of the way,and if you have a “real tree” and have put preservative in the tree’s water, keep the tree stand well covered so your pet doesn’t drink the treated water as this could make your pet sick.

If you enjoy the sight, smell and warmth of candles, just be careful with them and make sure you put out the flame when you leave the room. A kitten or cat dashing past a candle can knock it over, starting a fire. A dog investigating the candle can burn its nose, you might want to consider a candle substitute instead. Many of these create a flickering light which looks just like a candle, yet don’t create a fire hazard.

A fire in the fireplace can also be a problem, especially for nosy puppies and kittens. Make sure your fireplace screen is tight to the fireplace with no gaps where a puppy or kitten could squeeze through.

I hope everyone has a happy, safe christmas and you all don’t mind such a serious post! Here is a silly festive picture of my cat for you! 

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One thought on “Keeping Pets Safe at Christmas

  1. Pingback: Christmas Dangers for Your Pets – A must read for all Pet Parents and their visitors !

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