Christmas is great! There are presents, fantastic food and we get to spend time with family and fur friends. But it can pose some dangers to our dogs. Here are a few tips to make sure they enjoy this festive season as much as you do.

Festive food
Tables laden with festive food can be difficult to resist for even the most well behaved dog. Some of this food is harmful, so avoid an emergency trip to your vets and don’t share any of these with your fur friends: chocolate, Christmas pudding, mince pies, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, onion, garlic, gravy, goose fat, avocado or alcohol.

Festive flowers
Food isn’t the only hazard to consider around Christmas time, as some festive plants are also dangerous. Poinsettias, holly, ivy and mistletoe can cause tummy upsets in dogs, with lilies being potentially fatal to cats.

Christmas trees and decorations
Christmas trees are sometimes treated as lamp posts, twinkling fairy lights chewed and hanging decorations nibbled, so keep a close eye on your pets. And don’t wrap or hide food under your tree as this will entice your dog to explore it even more.

Christmas holidays
If you and your dog are off on holidays together make sure you have everything you need- their food, any medication and double check your Pet Passport and Rabies vaccinations are still valid if going abroad.

Christmas chaos
With family, friends and neighbours calling around Christmas can be chaotic and stressful for your dog. Prepare their crate or somewhere quiet where they can retreat to away from the festive excitement. When your pet is in their quiet spot, make sure they are left alone and not disturbed by children or other guests. For more advice on keeping your dog safe during stressful times, read our tips on firework season here.

Winter walkies
You may not feel like going for a walk in winter, but the exercise will keep your dog happy and healthy. If snow is on the cards, their paws will need some extra protection. Consider applying a paw balm to protect their pads and carefully clip long fur around their toes. Be aware that salt and antifreeze is dangerous to our pet friends, so immediately after a walk, wash your dog’s paws with warm water to prevent burns or ingestion of any chemicals.

Winter wildlife
Hard frost or snow can see our wild birds struggle for food. Forget bread, what they really need is seeds, nuts and insects. These can be bought at most supermarkets and pet shops.

Just in case
Keep a number of an emergency vet on hand in case of accidents or if your dog eats something they shouldn’t or call the Animal Poison Line. And if your pet is on medication, make sure you stock up before the holidays.

Warm woofs and wishes,

Dr Ciara