December 7, 2020

‘Christmas pudding is toxic!’: PDSA’s Christmas Pet Survival Guide for Cumbria

By haziqbinarif

For many of us, the challenges of 2020 have meant Christmas has come even earlier this year. But our pets can find the festivities unsettling; so how can we make sure they enjoy the Christmas period as much as we do?

PDSA Veterinary Nurse Nina Downing said: “For some pets, the changes to routines and decorations can worry them. With a little planning though, we can help our furry friends enjoy the festive period too.”

Here are Nina’s top tips for a pet safe Christmas:


Dogs explore things with their mouths, so it’s easy for them to nibble or even swallow decorations. Christmas trees also make a tempting climbing frame for cats but can lead to injuries should they fall or break decorations. And for both, a decoration that gets swallowed could lead to a dangerous gut blockage.


New toys rather than food presents can be much better for their waistlines, to avoid them piling on unnecessary pounds. Presents for you or your family that might contain something tasty could be toxic to your pet (like chocolate).


Some pets have very sensitive stomachs, so any change to their diet, especially including rich food, can lead to sickness, diarrhoea or even pancreatitis.

Some festive foods can be highly toxic to pets, such as mince pies and Christmas pudding, because they contain raisins and sultanas. Chocolate is also poisonous to pets, so make sure they’re kept out of paw’s reach!


Christmas can be a noisy time so creating a den can be ideal to allow dogs to hide in a quiet room. Cats feel safest when they’re high up, so give them a cosy place to curl up on top of a secure shelf or cupboard.

Pheromones can help keep pets relaxed so they can enjoy the festivities – ask at your local vets for advice.

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