As the festive season rolls around, households are likely to be stocking up on chocolate – whether that be a large tub or an advent calendar. Did you know that an estimated 16 million chocolate advent calendars are sold in the UK each year?


Statistics show that the number of dogs treated for poisoning rises around Christmas – possibly due to more chocolate in the home or other festive snacks like mince pies.


Make sure you take a look at our Festive Foods advice so you can be aware of the dangers and avoid a trip to the vets this Christmas.


In order to enjoy any festivities without disasters, make sure chocolate is kept safely away from curious paws. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine which is highly toxic to dogs, cats and rabbits. The severity of chocolate poisoning depends on how much has been eaten and its cocoa content, although even the smallest amounts can give them an upset tummy. The most serious cases can lead to heart failure and even death.


For more information regarding chocolate poisoning – including signs to look out for – click here.


As well as being way around food, also be mindful of the dangers that Christmas decorations can pose to your pets. Things like baubles and tinsel can cause blockages if attempted to be swallowed. To minimise this risk, try hanging decorations further up your tree. Similarly, fairly lights can be tempting for dogs to chew, so try to keep the cables as tidy as possible and turn them off at the mains when not in use. Supervise your pets around the Christmas tree so you can react quickly to any mischief, and it would be a good idea to keep them out of the room when you are not at home. 

Traditional festive plants - like poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, ivy and potpourri - are toxic to dogs so keep them at a high level that they will be unable to reach.