A Furry Merry Christmas

Top veterinary tips to help you have a dog safe Christmas



Kathleen Pohl

Kathleen Pohl, My Family Pet Vet and Vet Surgeon at Zetland Vets in Bristol, shares her top tips for making Christmas as dog-friendly as possible…

Keep dangerous foods and plants away


Take care with:


  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Mince pies
  • Christmas cake/pudding
  • Cooked bones
  • Xylitol (sweetener)
  • Corn on the cob
  • Garlic
  • Fatty foods

Even small amounts of these foods can cause your dog great harm. When you leave treats for Santa, make sure your dog can’t get to them – and the same goes for holly, mistletoe and other toxic plants.


Watch that weight!


Dog walks tend not to last as long in the colder weather, so be extra careful not to feed too many snacks. 


Keep your dog at a healthy weight by sticking to their recommended food portion at all times.


Put decorations up gradually


A change in your dog’s environment can be stressful for them, so it’s best to put your decorations up slowly, preferably over the course of a few days. 


Aim never to leave your pooch alone with tinsel, Christmas lights, baubles or any other trinket they could swallow.


Take care of your Christmas tree


Smiley Border Collie by a Christmas Tree
Doggy member Pip

If your tree is a real tree, take care that the needles don’t get onto your carpet – they could damage your dog’s paws. 


You can stop the needles falling out by watering your tree regularly. Just make sure the water is covered so your dog can’t get to it!


Give your dog a pressie


This will keep them occupied and away from your own presents! Puzzle feeders are useful, they help to combine your dog’s playful nature and their love of food.


Alone time


Create a safe zone for your dog. The people, objects, smells and noises may excite them at first but it can also cause stress, so it’s important for them to be able to escape when they need to. 


Even placing a blanket over their crate can help – that way, they can’t see out and no-one else can see in. 


Is your dog invited to your friends’ or relatives’ house? 


If you’re heading out for Christmas, check a few things out with your family and friends. You might need to make other arrangements and if so, it’s best to have plenty of extra time to figure this out.


Pheromones and calming products


Pheromone sprays or diffusers can work wonders at calming anxious dogs. The same goes for products like Vetpro: Stress & anxiety. If you think a calming product might be best for your pet, talk to your vet about which one would work best.


Stay aware!


Last but not least… keep watch over your dog at all times. Don’t leave them alone with your tree, any presents or decorations that could get lodged in their throats or any poisonous/harmful treats.


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