How to keep our cats and dogs full of Christmas cheer

However much we all value our local veterinary surgery, none of us really wants to spend Christmas there. So, here are our top tips for keeping your cats and dogs happy, healthy and safe from hazards over the festive period.

While Christmas is all about entertaining, most dogs and cats are not party animals. They get anxious and scared by loud and unfamiliar noises. If you’re having a family gathering, or entertaining a large group of people, make sure your pet has access to a quiet room in the house to escape and feel safe without interruption.

Paws before sharing these festive foods with your pet:


Although chocolate is a tempting treat for humans, it contains an ingredient called theobromine that is dangerous to your pet's health. If a dog eats chocolate, they are at risk of developing problems with their kidneys, central nervous system and heart. So, make sure you keep your advent calendars and edible tree decorations out of reach of your pets.

Mince pies, Christmas pudding and cake

Currants, raisins and sultanas are toxic to dogs, so skip your pets when you’re dishing out dessert.

Gravy, stuffing and sausages

These Christmas dinner must-haves are likely to contain garlic, chives or onion, all of which are harmful to cats and poisonous to dogs.

Avoid a decoration cat-astrophe:

Christmas tree

Our curious fur babies love a new challenge, so once the tree goes up make sure it holds strong and sturdy if they’re likely to try and conquer it. Beware of sharp pine needles on live Christmas trees which can cause a lot of discomfort externally and internally if ingested, so sweep or vacuum up any needles that drop off.


Keep tinsel away from little mouths. If your pet eats tinsel it can cause a blockage in their stomach.

Baubles and ornaments

They dangle, swing like a toy and bounce, making them all the more tempting for our pets to play with. Choose alternative tree decorations instead of glass if they’re going to be in reach of your pet.

Electric cables

How many of us find tell-tale bite marks in our phone charger cable? Electric cables probably look like a tempting chewy snake to playful eyes but can have fatal consequences. Turn off your tree lights at the plug when they’re not in use or if left unsupervised.

Snow globes and liquid-filled decorations

Pretty decorations such as snow globes contain antifreeze which can be fatal if ingested by animals. Glass ornaments can result in sore paws for all if broken.


Bone-shaped, cardboard, paper and plastic toys are all the things our pets would love to gnaw on, but all of these materials carry a health risk if eaten by cats or dogs. What’s more, the loud noises caused by cracker pulling can also scare your pet.

Festive foliage

Poinsettias, holly, ivy, mistletoe and lilies are toxic to our furry friends.

Wrapping paper and ribbon

Once the presents are opened, try to keep your home clear of wrapping and ribbon. It’s such an easy target for pets to play with and chew on but it is also hazardous, causing obstructions if eaten.


Candles create a great ambience but can also burn the paws and noses of curious fur babies. Extinguish candles in unsupervised areas of the home, keep them out of reach or opt for false candles.

And, finally, we all enjoy an extra well-deserved treat at this time of year and it’s tempting to indulge our pets, too. But, they are much better off following their normal dietary routine, with just a little something special, as overeating can cause long-term health consequences, such as obesity.

Well, that’s our top festive tips all wrapped up. We hope that they help you to keep your furry friends safe and wish you a very Happy Christmas!



An educational service from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd, makers of FRONTLINE. FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group. ©2018 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: Dec 2018. PE2702.