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How to keep your dog safe at Christmas

[Updated November 2023]


Ah, Christmas…. It’s a wonderful time for all the family (furry members included, of course) to get together, celebrate, feel good and enjoy life.

We all love to treat our pets at Christmas time, but along with all the fantastic ways you can share some holiday cheer with your dog, there are also a few key points to consider to ensure they stay safe while the festivities are underway.

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The things to be mindful of include…

  • Decorations
  • Food
  • Guests
  • Wrapped presents

Let’s take a closer look!

Dogs and decorations

The tree

If you have a real Christmas tree in your house, there are two main things to look out for – pine needles and sap.

Pine needles can be a hazard if they’re on the floor where your dog walks or rolls, as they can become stuck in your pup’s coat or paws. Be sure to vacuum or sweep up any that you spot on the ground.

Sap can be a hazard as it may be toxic to dogs while simultaneously having a smell that some dogs find appealing. To keep your dog from lapping up any sap that your Christmas tree may be releasing, make sure the trunk is well-covered and inaccessible. A good tree stand can help to achieve this.

Artificial trees don’t pose those exact same risks, but due to being plastic and often structured with wire, they can be very hazardous if your dog decides to chew on them.

Lights (camera, Dachshund)


Jack Russell in front of a tree


Flashing lights might appeal to your pup’s inner diva, but they could also seem like part of an exciting toy, worth a curious chew. Obviously, there are many serious hazards connected to your dog trying to gobble the Christmas lights down, ranging from internal injury to possible electrocution.

If you know your dog loves anything shiny or sparkly, be sure to keep the lights as far out of their reach as possible.

Glass ornaments, baubles and bouncy dogs…

We know it’s not always possible to cut out all glass baubles or other Christmas-related glass ornaments, but you should certainly always aim to keep them out of your dog’s reach. It goes without saying that smashed glass from an excited and bouncy dog could result in injuries to paws, snout, mouth and more, depending on how curious your pup happens to be.

Tinsel and tummies

Tinsel can be a real safety hazard to your dog if chewed or swallowed. If possible, leave it off your ornaments list – and place it well out of reach if you do choose to use it.

Toxic food for dogs

One of the most iconic parts of Christmas is – obviously – the feasting! Between rich roasts, sumptuous sides and decadent deserts, it can seem miraculous that anyone manages to get anything done during the festive period.

Be aware, though, that a number of popular human Christmas foods can be toxic to our canine companions and shouldn’t be fed to them under any circumstances. These include:

  • Christmas pudding, mince pies and Christmas cake (as they contain currants, sultanas, and raisins)
  • Chocolate
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Anything that contains onions (garlic, shallots, or chives) – this could be your Christmas dinner
  • Alcohol

Guests giving treats

There’s a good chance you’ll have guests visiting over the festive period who may not know the best dietary guidelines for dogs and who may try to feed your pup from their plates. It’s definitely worth letting them know in advance that your dog is only going to be eating pre-approved treats this year!

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Even if the food they’re fed isn’t toxic, excessive indulgence over the holidays can cause your furry friend’s weight to creep up unhealthily.

Mince pies and holly

Festive plants

Decorations aren’t just limited to baubles, trees and lights. You might also be partial to traditional festive plants that can make your home even more vibrant over the Christmas period.

The following are toxic to dogs and should be kept well out of reach:

  • Poinsettia
  • Holly
  • Mistletoe
  • Ivy

Presents and your pup

Letting your dog get too close to the Christmas presents is never a great idea. Beyond the possibility of them damaging gifts before they’re even unwrapped, they might also chomp down on some wrapping paper and packaging, which isn’t going to do them any good!

Consult your vet

If your dog has managed to get themselves into any trouble over the Christmas period, your first step should always be to consult with your vet. They can check that your dog is alright, treat them if there are any issues, and answer any seasonal pet-care queries you might have.

If you’re a YuMOVE subscriber, don’t forget you get free 24/7 phone, text or video access to a vet with your free PawSquad membership. Not subscribed yet? Find out more. This exclusive member perk may prove invaluable over the festive season.

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