Keeping your dog safe at Christmas.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Its also a time full of hazards for our four legged friends so it’s incredibly important to be vigilant and keep them safe.

In this months blog I talk about what you can do to make sure everyone has an enjoyable festive period and how you can make it as stress free as possible.

From 1st December until Christmas Day I will be posting hints and tips on my Facebook page in an advent calendar style. Feel free to like my page if you want to read these.

Food and drink…..

There are so many food and drink items that are toxic to dogs and at Christmas they seem to be readily available. From chocolate, to alcohol, to raisins It’s easy to leave something on the coffee table or to forget the kids advent calendar is on the floor. Before you know it you’re wrestling to get something from your dog’s mouth or you’re rushing to the vet.

The following list contains items that you need to keep away from your dog as they could pose a choking hazard or could be toxic.

  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Cooked bones
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Caffeine
  • Xylitol (artifical sweetener)
  • Salt

If you think your dog has ingested any of these items contact your vet for advice.

A small resource I wrote for Dog Training College a couple of years ago.

Presents…..for your dog

Everyone loves to spoil their dog at christmas but it’s important to be aware just a tiny bit of excess weight can have a huge impact on a dog’s health.

If you want to treat your dog buy healthy treats that are low in fat. I always recommend to my clients as this unbiased website grades food on nutritional value from 0%-100%. It includes everyday food aswell as lots of different treats.

One thing to avoid is rawhide. It is very difficult for your dog to digest and it’s made with glue and bleach, In my opinion it’s disappointing that shops still sell it but aslong as there is a market for it they will. If anyone buys this for your pooch politely say thank you and pop it in the bin when they’re not looking!

I wrap Vinnie’s presents and let him open them himself. Obviously supervise your dog if you do this but they may enjoy it just as much as the gift they unwrap.

Wrapping paper with glitter on can be harmful to dogs so please keep that for the humans in your house..

Presents…..for you

We all love putting gifts under the tree but if you know your dog in inquisitive or a chewer make sure things are out of reach. You may have a Secret Santa from a work colleague that contains chocolate, or you may have children that have small pieces of lego. Lots of dogs will be tempted to open these and either eat them or chew them. Rather than calling the vet on Christmas Day, be safe and keep them away from your dog.

Kobe enjoying the gifts.

Fancy dress…..

Lots of shops sell outfits for your pet but it’s important to remember that not all pets like to be dressed up. If your dog is backing away, cowering or trying to get the clothing off I would assume your dog doesn’t like it. It’s very easy to anthropomorphise (to humanise) your dog but please remember Christmas should be enjoyable for everyone, including your pets.

Woody the ‘angry elf’!


As 2020 has been an awful year for many lots of people have put their decorations up early. There are many items that can be harmful to your dogs so please be mindful as to where you place things.

There will be lots more wires due to lights, the Christmas tree is and obvious hazard, baubles, tinsel and even cards with glitter on can all mean a vet visit.

Vinnie helping me decorate the tree.

Don’t be afraid to fence your tree off or go for the minimalist look. A nicely decorated house is great, but safety should always come first.


Christmas is going to be slightly different for most this year but most will still have a few visitors.

Make sure your dog has a nice, quiet place to go to if it all gets too much. If your dog doensn’t want to be constantly petted and played with don’t be afraid to tell people to stop. Well meaning guests may try feeding your dog from their plate but if that’s something you don’t encourage make sure you are quite clear with this.

Father Christmas paying a visit to Coco.

It’s worth investing in some enrichment items (even put them on your dog’s Christmas list!) so you can use these when poeple are there. Lickimats, snufflemats and kongs are all great as they will keep your dog amused while helping to release relaxing endorphins in your dogs body.

Be merry…..

The most important thing is to enjoy yourself. 2020 has been a fairly rubbish year so make the most of Christmas.

Norman ready for Christmas Day.
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