Puppy wrapped in Christmas fairy lights Puppy wrapped in Christmas fairy lights

15 Christmas Dangers for Dogs

Read time: 5 mins

16 Nov 2023

The festive season is a time of joy and celebration, marked by delightful decorations, delicious treats, and cheerful gatherings. Amidst the merriment, however, lie potential hazards that can pose significant risks to our precious pups. It's crucial to remain vigilant and informed about the various dangers that the holiday season can bring for our beloved dogs.

1. Nuts

As the season rolls in, so do the nut-filled delights in various holiday dishes and treats. While these crunchy munchies can be tempting, certain nuts, especially macadamia nuts, pose a serious threat to our dogs. Eating macadamia nuts can lead to symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. It's imperative to keep such nuts out of reach to ensure the safety of your furry companion.

2. Onions, shallots, garlic, and leeks

The aromatic essence of onions, shallots, garlic, and leeks enhances the flavours of many festive dishes. However, these kitchen staples contain compounds that can be harmful to dogs. Eating any of these ingredients can lead to oxidative damage to a dog's red blood cells, potentially causing anaemia. Pay careful attention to ingredients and keep these seasonings away from your dog's reach is essential to prevent any accidental consumption.

3. Alcohol

While celebrations often include alcoholic beverages, it's crucial to understand that alcohol consumption can have severe consequences for dogs. Even small amounts of alcohol can result in intoxication, leading to vomiting, coordination problems, difficulty breathing, and in severe cases, coma or death. 

To ensure your dog's safety, keep all alcoholic beverages securely stored and away from their reach during festive gatherings. Avoid placing them on the floor and other accessible places.

4. Bones

The image of a dog happily gnawing on a bone might be a common sight, but during the holidays, this can pose significant dangers. Cooked bones, especially from poultry or fish, can splinter easily and cause severe internal injuries to dogs. Avoid offering bones as treats or leaving them accessible, especially during holiday meals, to prevent potential harm to your furry friend.

5. Decorations

Baubles, tinsel, and ornaments add a festive sparkle to our homes, but they also present potential hazards for curious canines. These decorations, if ingested, can cause serious issues such as intestinal blockage or damage. 

To safeguard your furry companion, ensure that decorations are placed out of your dog's reach or securely fastened to avoid any temptations.

6. Pine needles

The allure of a beautifully adorned Christmas tree often brings the outdoors inside, but it also introduces potential risks. The needles from Christmas trees, while visually appealing, can be sharp and cause irritation or injury if ingested by dogs. 

Regularly sweep up fallen needles to prevent accidental ingestion and to maintain a safe environment for your furry friend.

7. Poinsettia, mistletoe, and holly

Traditional holiday plants like poinsettias, mistletoe and holly add a touch of festive spirit, but they harbour hidden dangers for dogs. 

Eating these plants can lead to gastrointestinal upset or, in severe cases, more serious complications. It's crucial to keep these plants out of your dog's reach or consider opting for artificial alternatives to ensure your furry friend's safety.

8. Toys

The excitement of gift-giving often includes toys, but not all toys are suitable for our canine companions. Small toys or those with detachable parts pose a choking hazard or risk of intestinal blockage if swallowed. 

Opt for dog-friendly toys that are durable and suitable for your furry friend's size, and always supervise playtime to prevent accidents.

9. Wrapping paper and ribbons

Amidst the joy of unwrapping presents, the leftover wrapping paper and ribbons can entice dogs. However, ingesting these items can lead to digestive issues or blockages in dogs. After unwrapping gifts, promptly clean up and store these materials away from your furry friend to prevent any potential hazards.

10. Batteries

As gadgets and toys powered by batteries become commonplace during the holidays, it's crucial to be mindful of their risks. Batteries, if chewed or ingested by dogs, can cause chemical burns or heavy metal poisoning. Safely store and dispose of batteries to prevent any accidental ingestion by your furry companion.

11. Chocolate

A quintessential holiday indulgence, chocolate is a grave threat to dogs. It contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are highly toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures, and, in severe cases, death. Safeguard your furry friend by keeping all chocolate treats securely out of their reach.

12. Sweets

Sweets and candies, especially those containing xylitol, can be highly toxic to dogs. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, can lead to a rapid release of insulin, resulting in dangerously low blood sugar levels, seizures, and liver failure in dogs. Ensure that all sweets are kept away from your furry friend to avoid any potential ingestion.

13. Christmas pudding and mince pies

These traditional desserts often contain raisins, sultanas, or currants, which are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. Make sure these sweet treats are stored safely away from your furry friend, and be cautious while sharing food during the festive season.

14. Lights

The sparkling lights adorning homes can be enticing, but they also present electrical risks to dogs. Chewing on electrical cords or lights can lead to burns or electrocution. Keep cords out of reach and secure them properly to prevent any accidents.

15. Candles

Lit candles, while setting a cosy ambiance, can pose dangers if knocked over by wagging tails or inquisitive paws. Opt for flameless alternatives or place candles in areas inaccessible to your furry friend to avoid any potential burns or fire hazards.