Christmas: lots of fun, but potentially hazardous for pets

A cat wearing a festive scarf
Sugarpuff loved Christmas time
  • | by Kristian Dando

Yes, Christmas is a bit of a lark for us humans. But it poses lots of hazards to pets of which you should be mindful.

Here are a few things to think about while you’re getting into the festive swing of things. After all, nobody wants to be on the phone to their pet insurance provider and the vet on Boxing Day because Tiddles has decided to get stuck in to Nan's box of Tia Maria chocolates...


 Here comes Wally Claws!

Make sure that the base is secure – particularly if your cat has a penchant for climbing, like Wally Claws here.

Meanwhile, it looks like Roscoe  is befuddled by being somehow MASSIVE compared to his tree.

A cross-eyed cat in front of a miniature Christmas tree


The above are poisonous to pets - particularly cats who like to chew on vegetation to help with digestion.

Make sure any berries from the plants are swept away, and keep the leaves out of reach!

If you’ve got a real tree, make sure that the base is covered up as the water in it may be loaded with preservatives which will poison your cat or dog.


 A dog with a Christmas hat

If you really insist on sharing some of your festive feast with your pet, for heaven’s sake, make sure it doesn’t have any bones in it. It would appear Kohl the German Shepherd  is totally psyched about his portion of turkey.


A black and white cat under a tree

Cats love to bop low-hanging decorations - just check out Biggie Puss waiting to strike. So keep glass ones out of the way (or just leave them altogether).

Electrical leads for the lights on your tree can easily get mistaken by felines for prey or toys and they could end up attacking them. Keep them covered up! 

Dogs are prone to swallowing Christmas decorations whole, so make sure that they're not lying about on the floor.

A cat under a tree

Tinsel, angel hair and pine needles can get stuck in the back of your pet’s throat, so make sure that the area around your tree is swept up regularly. Ruben  is clearly delighted with the pristine state of the area around his tree.


A close-up of a ginger cat

Pretty, but a nightmare if they get knocked over by an exuberant cat - like Gina here- or dog. Make sure that they’re somewhere where they can’t get at them.



Cats, as a rule, don’t respond particularly well to being dressed as elves or reindeer, so you’d best give it a miss - for your sake as well as theirs. How would YOU respond if somebody dressed you up in a gaudy, dignity-sapping outfit and then started cooing at you? Not very well we'd imagine - although that said, some people pay good money for this sort of treatment in certain 'niche' establishments...

A dog wearing a festive hairband

When it comes to dog clothing, read this guide to canine couture we published earlier this year and judge for yourself - the rule of thumb is that it's got to actually serve a purpose! We're not quite sure what the purpose of this fetching item is, but Barney the collie seems in good spirits all the same.


A dog running across snowy pastures

Let's face it, you'll probably need to get out of the house to get some fresh air and exrcise on Boxing Day as much as your pet will, so get moving! Milly, pictured, is clearly having a whale of a time in the snow.