Keeping Your Pet Safe This Christmas

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Christmas

A Very Merry Christmas for your Dog

Christmas should be great fun for all the family, unfortunately for our pet dogs, it can be a time of stress, trauma and dangers. Here are our top tips for how to keep your pet happy and healthy this Christmas and New Year.


For many dogs it can be a highly stressful period: lots of visitors, new sights, new sounds, new smells and new noises. In addition, if you are out more than usual and with the darker nights, their usual routines can get very easily disrupted. And then throw in fireworks!

To reduce stress and anxiety, keep to as much of a routine as possible:

Use interactive toys, such as licki/snuffle mats, or kongs to challenge the brain, ease stress and make your dog feel safe and happy. PetStop stock lots of interactive toys, and have the Holistic Hound Mutz Nutz organic peanut butter which can be used with these toys!

Don’t forget to regularly let them out for wees! Once dogs are housetrained they hate having to go indoors and can often cause themselves a mischief if they have to hold on too long.

Create a safe space for your dog to retire to if they need to just have a moment. Crates can be ideal for this, but only if your dog is used to a crate and if they are used appropriately. Otherwise, just put their bed out of the way in a quiet and darker area.

For dogs that are more sensitive, or with a tendency to hyperactivity when over excited, we would recommend using either the Holistic Hound Calm & Balmy spray, ideal for one off situations; or the Calm Canine that can be given to food on a daily basis to maintain tranquility in the house.

Christmas at home can look beautiful but for an opportunistic dog it can be a minefield! So be on your guard. Even the best of dogs can get tempted by big plates of food left laying around or shiny sparkly things that aren't normally there.

Take specific care with:


Crisps and snacks are refined carbohydrates, high in glucose and usually contain lots of salt. So keep them out of reach.

Desserts - Christmas pudding, cake/cake with dried fruits and mince pies that contain sultanas and currants can cause acute kidney damage. Unfortunately, there’s no clear link between the size of your dog and the amount eaten, and symptoms may only start showing hours after. So, it is always best to seek veterinary advice if you suspect your dog has eaten any of these.

Alcohol is a big no no for your dog. Luckily, alcohol tends to be distasteful to dogs. However, on occasion, curiosity can get the better of them, but even small amounts of alcohol can be dangerous. Dogs respond to the effects of alcohol much like humans, and the impact is often mild. However, dog livers aren't equipped to break it down, and they can experience alcohol poisoning much quicker than humans.

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and could make them very unwell. No matter how much your dog begs for a piece of chocolate, remember dogs and chocolate don’t mix. Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine which is toxic to dogs as they aren’t able to break it down or metabolise it. If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, in any form you must seek veterinary assistance. Try to work out how much they have eaten and when they ate it and if possible take any wrappers to the vet as this information will help the vet to work out whether your dog has eaten a toxic amount of chocolate and how best to treat them.

Tinfoil! Plenty of dogs have eaten their way through some aluminium foil to get to the delicious contents lurking inside. This is usually not a big deal and most dogs will just poop it out and be no worse for the wear. However, if they eat a lot of it, it can cause intestinal obstruction, and in rare cases it may cause aluminium toxicity. Try to assess how much your dog has eaten, and then monitor your pup for the next 24 hours and check his poop to make sure most of it has come out. If your dog starts behaving oddly, with any tremors or loss of balance, then seek veterinary assistance.

Tinsel – you’d be amazed at how many dogs eat tinsel! Eating this can potentially lead to intestinal blockages and rupture as it tends to wrap itself around and get stuck.

Christmas Crackers – great fun, but often contain teeny tiny nonsense toys that get left lying around for willing dog mouths. If your dog eats these they can cause a blockage. So make sure to clear up properly, and learn about the symptoms of a blockage in your dog – hard tummy, stretching, yawning, drooling, straining to go to the loo etc.

Batteries – lots of new toys and gadgets means lots of batteries left lying around or integral batteries that are fun to chew. There are a growing number of balls, and other toys, which now contain flashing lights or make noises powered by batteries. When a battery is punctured or swallowed, the alkaline or acidic material can leak out and cause corrosive injury to the mouth and other body tissues. If you suspect your dog has punctured a battery, attempt to flush out their mouth for 15-20 minutes with tepid water to help reduce any chance of ulceration and burning, and then seek veterinary advice. Do not encourage the dog to vomit as the corrosive contents of the battery can cause further damage to the throat.

Other balls and toys can have squeakers, and again these can be a choking or blockage hazard if swallowed whole. Purchase size appropriate and keep an eye on your dogs when they are playing.

Christmas Trees are general low toxicity, but oils from the needles may be irritating to the mouth and stomach if chewed. Needles from these trees are sharp and could cause physical injury in your dog’s mouth and throat. If your dog does show interest in your tree you could use a tree guard or put up a dog gate around the tree. The water used to keep a real tree fresh can be a health hazard for dogs and cats; it may contain bacteria, mould, or fertilizer and other chemicals that can be toxic to your pet. Make sure the tree water is covered and inaccessible.

Christmas plants - Amaryllis, Holly, Ivy, Mistletoe and Poinsettia are all dangerous to dogs. Consumption can lead to tummy upset, diarrhoea, excessive drooling, a drop in blood pressure, vomiting and respiratory distress if left untreated. So always best to keep these well out of reach.

We would recommend having Holistic Hounds Tummies on hand should your dog get hold of anything it shouldn’t, or maybe has a few too many treats or turkey dinners! This will help to quickly soothe and heal any tummy upsets and re-establish their good bacteria.


And finally, should we have snow….! Snow, ice and path salt can be harsh on your doggos paw pads, so make sure they are checked and wiped after each walk. You can use the Holistic Hound Snout & Paw balm to protect and nourish their paws during these times. And we would also recommend having the Heal Me Quick spray to hand so that any cuts or abrasions can be quickly dealt with, avoiding trips to the Vets during the Christmas season.


Written by Jo Arbon, Holistic Hounds



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