Christmas may be super exciting for people but the run-up to the festive season can be confusing and even dangerous for our favourite furry friends. PETstock vet, Dr Sasha Nefedova offers some top tips on how to keep pets safe during the holidays.

Holiday travel

It’s never been easier to incorporate furry friends into Christmas plans with so many great dog-friendly campsites and pet-friendly accommodation around Australia. If you are holidaying with your pets, remember to make preparations for your pets as well; have bedding, food, medications and water ready to go and make sure you can transport them safely to your holiday destination.

So pets can be identified easily should they become lost while holidaying, ensure registered microchips are up to date and include your details such as your phone number on collars. Most importantly, never leave your pet alone in a locked car as pets can die very quickly from heatstroke, even in milder weather.

Beach safety

Long days and warm nights mean there’s no better time than summer to exercise your dog at the beach over the holiday break. While dogs love a day on the beach, it’s important that pet owners keep a close eye for any potential risks that could spoil a great day out. Things to look out for include signs of heat stroke, ticks and things that can be swallowed such as jellyfish, sea urchins and snakes.

Beach essentials include plenty of water, a bowl, towels, sunscreen (for you and your buddy), toys and waste bags.

Christmas conscious diet

It can be very tempting to sneak a treat under the table to furry family members during the festive season. However, certain foods that we love to indulge in can actually be harmful or fatal to our fur-babies including:

Raisins and grapes

Raisins and grapes can be fatally toxic to dogs, even in small quantities, so no Christmas pudding or cake for our four-legged friends.

Pork, bacon and ham

Some pork products contain a high amount of fat, which can lead to illnesses like pancreatitis. Statistics show an increase of pancreatitis cases in dogs at Christmas time.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are readily enjoyed at Christmas but are poisonous to dogs and can cause vomiting, weakness, fever, muscle tremors and depression.


Ingestion of onions can contribute to stomach upsets and even cause anaemia.


Loaded with sugar and even worse for our pets than they can be for us, lollies can disrupt your pet’s metabolism and eating lollies with some artificial sweeteners can be life-threatening.


While it may seem obvious, allowing our pets to consume any alcohol is dangerous. It can cause alcohol toxicity and even seizures.

Milk and dairy products

It may surprise many to learn that dogs’ and cats’ bodies weren’t designed to process dairy. Consuming dairy can cause stomach upsets, vomiting and diarrhea.

Speak to your vet for more information on a healthy and balanced diet for your pet. Monitor your pet for signs such as odd behaviour, dehydration or general feeling of being unwell. Contact your closest vet immediately if you are concerned.

Keep Christmas decorations out of paws reach

While baubles hanging from the tree may look conveniently like toys or tennis balls to your inquisitive cat or playful dog, if a plastic or glass ornament breaks in their mouth, it could cause serious long-term damage or even pet fatality. Keep edible decorations like candy canes and tinsel or tree lights out of reach to avoid food toxicity or electric shock.

Ensure wrapping paper is cleaned up immediately after presents have been opened as when chewed, wrapping paper and ribbons can be very dangerous for a pet’s intestines.

If you have a real tree, ensure tree needles are cleaned up regularly as they can be sharp and become stuck in your pet’s paw or throat. It’s a good idea to securely anchor the tree so an inquisitive pet doesn’t knock it over. Cover the watering hole from thirsty pets as the water can contain traces of fertiliser and bacteria that can cause your pet to be nauseous.

De-stress Your Pet

If you are hosting celebrations or planning to spend time away from your pet on Christmas day, ensure your pet is properly exercised beforehand to help them de-stress. This will also likely make your pet sleep throughout the day once Christmas celebrations are underway. Create a safe environment for your pet to have some alone time away from guests throughout the day or night.

Do your pets love or hate Christmas? How do you keep them safe during the festive season. Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Always keep an eye out for the food side of things..that and cooked bones that get caught in their Throats


  • A very well worthwhile warning at this time of the year. Thanks for your post.


  • I’m lucky my precious girl doesn’t go near the tree or the wrapping paper. Mind you the tree is a dancing tree and is only 12inches high. She just loves everyone paying her attention.


  • My little miss decided to get into a wrapped box of favourites left under the tree when she was being babysat by my in-laws – and they wonder why we don’t normally let her inside!


  • These can be deadly dangers indeed, thanks for sharing.


  • Thanks for the information above. I was aware of much of it, but it’s always a good reminder… and to share with all members of our family to keep our fur baby safe.


  • Thanks for sharing I didn’t know about raisins.


  • This will be the first Christmas we will have pets!
    We’ll be over the parents house for lunch and dinner so won’t be feeding them anything out of the ordinary.
    They will get a few chew toys and cat and dog treats though!


  • The reason we don’t have a dog is because I think is like having another child and I think 3 kids is enough.


  • I knew that a lot of the food was dangerous and that some dogs would go for decorations but I didn’t think about the rest of it. Thank you. I will be sharing with my friends


  • Some great tips, thanx for sharing


  • I always knew to to give my furry friend onion, grapes or dairy…but the others are new and I’ll be on the look out


  • Great advice for pet owners around the holidays


  • Great tips, thanks. Our 4 year old dog is fine but the 1 year old gets into everything!


  • Our dogs always travel with us and they know the beach. Lots of great tips in this article for newbies tho


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