Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 8:30 pm
Saturday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Sunday 9:00 am - 1 pm

Although Christmas is still a little time away (where did the year go?) many homes are already getting those festive treats in preparation for the holiday. It is nice to have these treats, but not such a luxury for your pets, as many human foods can be toxic for our furry friends. This blog is going to look at some of the more common poisons that are seen around Christmas and New Year.

8613_Protexin_ChristmasCampaign_SocialImages_1200x1500.jpg (1)Chocolate

This always tends to be first on the list and although it is well-known that chocolate is toxic to dogs (and cats, although them eating it is quite rare), cases are still regularly seen.

Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which is a stimulant that is related to caffeine. Theobromine is toxic to dogs (as is caffeine) and it can cause the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Muscle tremors

  • Heart problems, such as abnormal heart rate

  • Seizures

  • In severe cases, it can be fatal.

There are many sneaky pooches out there that will try and snaffle some chocolate, so be wary! If you know your dog has eaten any, but they are not showing any symptoms as mentioned above, we still need to see them urgently. We can induce vomiting in them and although they will be very unhappy, it will stop the majority of the toxins being absorbed.

If the symptoms have appeared, then your dog will need to be hospitalised and given intravenous fluids and treated with medication to manage any symptoms, including anti-vomiting drugs, anticonvulsants for seizures, and drugs to control any abnormal heartbeats.

Raisins, sultanas, and currants

Of course, all of these fruits are found in many Christmas treats including Christmas cake, pudding, and mince pies. These all contain a compound which is still being researched, however, it can affect pets and lead to severe kidney failure. If your dog has eaten any of these fruits, the effect is usually not seen straight away, but symptoms can appear after 6 to 12 hours. The effects on dogs of eating these fruits are:

  • Vomiting

  • Lethargy

  • Inappetence

  • Dehydration

  • Increased thirst

  • Shaking and tremors.

In many cases, because of the kidney damage, urine output will dramatically slow down or even stop. Within 72 hours the dog can go into kidney failure, which is, unfortunately, normally fatal.

As before, if your dog has not long eaten some raisins, we would make them vomit, however, if it’s a couple of hours afterwards, or they have consumed a large amount, we will hospitalise them. If they are hospitalised we would give them large amounts of intravenous fluids to help flush the kidney system, and manage each symptom with relevant medication.


If your dog consumes some nuts they will more than likely have vomiting and diarrhoea, which is not nice in itself, however, there are generally two types that can make matters worse.

Salted nuts – peanuts, cashews etc. If a large enough amount of these are eaten, it can lead to salt poisoning. Because of the salt content, it can cause severe thirst and if not treated, water can be drawn from the brain causing tremors and seizures. Ultimately, without treatment, the dog could collapse, suffer a coma and die. Treatment for dogs that have eaten salted nuts is again high intensive nursing.

Macadamia nuts – Again, common around Christmas time, these nuts can cause some very horrible symptoms for a dog including:

  • Weakness

  • Lethargy

  • Vomiting

  • Unsteadiness on feet

  • Muscle shakes

  • In some cases, a high body temperature and possible organ damage.

The good thing is, ingestion of these nuts is usually non-fatal, but does require proper supportive care from the veterinary team.

Sugar-free treats

They may be sugar-free, but they often contain an artificial sweetener, and the one called xylitol is the worst for dogs. If the dog does eat anything containing xylitol (it is even found in cakes) it can cause a huge drop in blood sugar levels, putting the dog into hypoglycaemia. You may see signs within half an hour to a few hours and the hypoglycaemia can lead to: 

  • Vomiting

  • Weakness

  • Unsteadiness on feet

  • Collapse

  • Seizures and tremors

  • Coma

  • And, unfortunately, death.

This is why if you suspect your dog has eaten something containing this chemical sweetener, they will need emergency first-aid. Spread something sweet such as honey on their gums and then call us immediately. Don’t be surprised if we keep them in to monitor them because, unfortunately, some dogs can go into liver failure even after they’ve been brought out of hypoglycaemia, so we will need to monitor their blood sugars and liver levels.

The best way of avoiding any of these situations is by keeping sweet treats and interesting smelling foods away from your pets – we want them to enjoy Christmas as much as we do. If you have any worries that they may have eaten something they shouldn’t have, please contact us straight away.

From all the team at Cedar Grove, we’d like to wish all our clients and their pets a very Merry Christmas and thank you for all your support in 2018.

Festive Opening Hours   

Christmas Eve   8.30am – 7.00pm    consultations by appointment

Christmas Day 10.00am – 12.00 pm  Emergencies only by appointment

Boxing Day  10.00am – 12.00pm  & 2.00pm – 4.00pm  consultations by appointment

New Years Eve  8.30am – 7.00pm consultations by appointment

New Years Day 10.00am – 12.00pm  & 2.00pm – 4.00pm consultations by appointment

Outside of these hours our service is provided by VetsNow 

All other days are normal hours


Leave a Reply



Post a comment

Please correct the following:
Your Name
Your Email
Your Location
Your Review

Newsletter Signup

Offers, events and animal advice

Follow Cedar Grove

Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus & YouTube