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Seven things that could be dangerous to pets this Christmas

RSPCA Christmas Dog

Christmas is a time for fun and family; and our furry friends are a big part of that.

But it’s really important to keep your pets happy, healthy and safe during the festive season too. The RSCPA has shared with us lots of things around the house at Christmas that could be dangerous to your pet. 

Below, the RSPCA talks to 95.9FM Andover Radio and lists those seven things you may not know were hazardous to your pet this Christmas:

Chocolate tree decorations

Most pet owners know that chocolate is toxic to their furry friends; but chocolate tree decorations can sometimes be overlooked. When you’re decorating your tree, avoid hanging chocolate decorations and, instead, pop the family’s sweet treats somewhere safe and out of your pets’ reach.

Tinsel and wrapping paper

Tinsel and wrapping paper might be tempting for your pet to play with – but make sure they don’t eat it! Cardboard boxes can be great fun for our pets, however, and you could use leftover boxes from presents to make your cat a special castle

Festive bakes

We all love a Christmas pudding and tasty cake over the holidays but did you know some of the popular ingredients can be incredibly dangerous to your four-legged friends? Raisins, currants and sultanas – commonly added to festive bakes – are poisonous along with additive xylitol.


Festive plants such as poinsettias, holly, ivy and mistletoe can be toxic to pets. Lilies can be very dangerous for cats. 

Cooked bones and leftovers

Never feed dogs or cats cooked bones as these can splinter and cause internal injuries. Onions, leeks and garlic can also be toxic to pets. Leftover pigs in blankets, gravy and stuffing shouldn’t be fed to pets due to their high salt content but other parts of the Christmas dinner can be fed as treats if you have leftovers; such as small amounts of cooked turkey and carrots (dogs).


You should never give your pet alcohol as this could make them sick.

Silica gel

Small sachets of silica gel are often found in packaging and may be inside Christmas presents. The gel can cause your pet stomach upset if ingested.

Plan ahead this Christmas

RSPCA pet welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said, “Keep your pets safe this Christmas by swotting up on what can be dangerous; no one wants an expensive vet visit this festive season! 

“Other tips for the holiday period include making sure your pet doesn’t feel stressed during the chaotic Christmas holidays by keeping their routine as normal as possible and providing them with somewhere quiet and cosy to retreat to if the way. Always ensure you have plenty of food and medication for the holiday season – when shops may be shut – and know contact details for your nearest emergency vets just in case you need help.

“Remember, the RSPCA is open 365 days a year and we’ll be working over Christmas to help in  emergencies. We’re asking people to Join the Rescue this Christmas to help bring animals to safety.

“Please call us on 0300 1234 999 for advice over the festive season.”

To join the Christmas Rescue and help RSCPA rescuers be there for the animals in need this winter, please visit

About the author

David Harber

David Harber is the founder and Managing Director of Love Andover, including the Love Andover Observer newspaper and 95.9FM Andover Radio. He is a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and a card carrying member of the Nation Union of Journalists.