Tips to keep your pet safe at Christmas

Christmas time is a busy and hectic time for most of us. Households become increasingly busy with family coming and going so Christmas can be a dangerous time of year for your pets. Before having Christmas dinner and enjoying family gatherings, please take all the precautions you can to keep your dogs and cats safe.

It's hard enough for us to cope with visitors and keep our Christmas cheer. But we shouldn't forget that our pets have to deal with these changes too. On top of that, gym's across the country are crammed with people during January all trying to work off those extra pounds gained because of festive Christmas dinner. The temptation is all around! It's not a nice thought, but some of the food we love is actually harmful for our pets. OSCAR Helpline experts are here to offer some handy tips to keep your pets happy during the Christmas period.

Beware of Christmas food! It can be a health hazard for pets

Watch what your pet eats over the Christmas period. Friends and family may not realize that some foods can be dangerous to cats and dogs and mistakenly feed them to your pet. OSCAR Helpline team advises pet owners to avoid the following foods:

  • 1: Turkey Bones - The bones can split inside and injure your pets. They can also get lodged in the throat.
  • 2: Mince Pies - Just like us, our pets can gain weight from unhealthy foods. Fatty foods can cause Pancreatitis. That's why we should give them grain free pet food.
  • 3: Nuts - Nuts for dogs can be extremely toxic. As few as six macadamia kernels can lead to weakness or paralysis.
  • 4: Stuffing - Onions in stuffing can be toxic. The chemical Thiosulphate can weaken red blood cells, causing them to gradually fall apart.
  • 5: Sausages in Bacon - Salty foods cause dogs to drink too much water, and eating or drinking too much, too quickly, can cause a condition called bloat. Dog bloat can be life- threatening.
  • 6: Clementines - Clementine pips and other pip-based fruit contain Cyanide, which is poisonous.
  • 7: Chocolate - Chocolates are extremely poisonous and cause heart arrhythmia.
  • 8: Cheeseboard - Dairy products are high in fat, which can cause Pancreatitis, gas, and Diarrhoea.
  • 9: Alcohol - Dogs are more susceptible to the poisonous effects of alcohol and it can lead to death.
  • 10: Crisps - Salty foods can lead to sodium (salt) poisoning and high blood pressure.
Enjoying Christmas at home

Now we've depressed you, let's look at the things that your pets CAN enjoy this Christmas! Buying your dog or cat a special treat over the festive period is a great way to involve them. Ask friends and family to use healthy dog treats as a reward rather than feeding human food and chocolate. This will keep your pets safe and healthy.

At OSCAR, we understand how important it is to check the ingredients of in treats to make sure there are no unnecessary artificial colors or additives, which could contribute to a negative change in your dog's behaviour. Speak to your OSCAR Nutritional Adviser about feeding Christmas treats. Healthy dog treats should be introduced into your dog's daily feeding allowance because overfeeding poor quality treats can contribute to weight gain and a break down in toilet training.

Offer healthy treats

Christmas can be an anxious time for dogs and cats as households become livelier with all the comings and goings of friends and family. Rewarding your dog with a healthy treat or chew is a great way to involve your pet and to make them feel part of the 'family' at Christmas time. It is also a good way to keep your dog busy if things get hectic.

Enjoying Christmas at home

Feeding treats can also be a useful way to help your dog to be well behaved and feel comfortable over the festive period.  Dogs can become excitable when visitors arrive, so it is a good idea to allow your visitors to hand feed your dog a healthy treat, in reward for them being calm and not jumping up.  Hence, your dog will soon learn that if it behaves calmly when visitors arrive, it will receive a tasty treat for good behaviour!

Make pets comfortable by providing them with a den

Christmas can be a stressful time for dogs who are elderly, nervous, or poorly, as their routine is interrupted. Provide a den for dog or cat to escape to if they feel stressed or anxious when the household is busy over Christmas. If your Christmas celebrations involve fireworks that make your pet nervous, remember to, keep them safely indoors.  Their den will help them to feel safe and secure but, never leave them alone at home if they have a problem with fireworks.

Your pet's favorite place to escape to may be under the table, in a dog den, behind the sofa or under your bed.  Putting your pet's bedding in this area and allowing them to retreat here, will help them to feel secure and safe.  If your pet retreats to their den, friends, and family should be asked to leave them alone. Speak to your OSCAR Nutritional Advisor our range of calming products for dogs and cats.

Pets love Christmas too!

Keep Christmas decorations and ornaments out of your pet’s reach

Christmas trees and decorations can be just as exciting to dogs and cats! So, make sure tinsel, baubles, wrapping paper, holly, and all things festive are kept out of your pet's reach. Some pets may be scared of the unusual festive items in their home environment and may take a few days to adjust to them. Take time to consider where you place your Christmas tree and decorations, and don't place them near to your pet's sleeping or feeding area. 

For the more adventurous dogs and cats, fencing may need to be placed around the tree to stop them from raiding presents or actually climbing the tree.

Do you need further advice?

If you need any further advice, please contact the OSCAR Helpline Team on our freephone number 0800 195 8000 or email

Have you tried OSCAR for your pet?

OSCAR pet food is packed with all the nutrients your dog and cats to stay fit and healthy.Try OSCAR for your pet for just £5 including delivery. Click here if you have a dog and click here if you have a cat.

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