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Abbey Veterinary Group
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Christmas Poisons to your Pet


Chocolate poisoning is one of the most common happenings at this time of year. The severity of the poisoning depends on two things, the amount eaten and the type of chocolate eaten (i.e.milk or dark). The amount of theobromine (which is similar to caffeine) in milk and dark chocolate differs considerably. The most common signs of chocolate poisoning are vomiting and diarrhoea, and as the obromine is a diuretic, several animals may become dehydrated. Some animals may become hyperactive and in extreme cases suffer tremors and convulsions. If your pet has eaten any chocolate seek immediate veterinary attention.

Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas

These fruits can cause renal failure in dogs. It is possible that cats are also susceptible. Some dogs seem able to eat large quantities without any effects, whilst others develop renal failure after as little as a few grapes or a small handful of raisins. Some dogs may initially develop vomiting and diarrhoea and develop renal failure some 24-72 hours after eating them. Foods to watch out for at this time of year include Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, Stollen and mince pies. If your dog eat any of these fruit seek immediate veterinary attention.


Peanuts (including monkey nuts) can cause adverse effects in some pets showing symptoms of gastrointestinal problems.

Macadamia nuts are also toxic. Both of these can come chocolate coated. If your pet consumes any of these seek veterinary attention.

Onions, garlic and leeks

Any food that contains these should not be fed to your pet so at Christmas avoid adding onion gravy and sage and onion stuffing to their Christmas dinner!


An artificial sweetener found in some chewing gums and can be used to sweeten home cooking. Although fine for humans it can cause hypoglycaemia and liver failure in dogs.

Poisonous plants at Christmas

Holly and Ivy

Both of these if  ingested usually result in drooling, retching or vomiting. However ivy can be more serious if eaten by rabbits.


Seems to result in retching, vomiting and salivation.


If ingested usually causes gastric irritation but can be toxic to cats.


These are very poisonous to cats and can cause kidney failure, and would appear that all parts of the plant are poisonous where even a small exposure to the pollen can potentially be dangerous. If you have any concerns seek immediate veterinary advice.

Christmas foods for your pet to avoid:

Please keep your pet safe over the festive period....

Ideally all of these plants should be kept well out of reach of your pets to prevent any problems over the Festive period.

© Daniel Gilbey

© Laurie Barr

© Pamela Hodson

© Pamela Hodson

© Donna Devine

© Suto Norbert