10 Christmas hazards you need to know to avoid spending holidays at the veterinarian

10 Christmas hazards you need to know to avoid spending holidays at the veterinarian

The countdown to Christmas has begun, for the enjoyment of young and old alike. Lights are bright and colorful all around. Everyone is impatiently waiting for the Christmas Eve, for the family feast and Santa’s gifts under the tree.

During this festive time, our pets are as excited as we are: yummy treats or leftovers are numerous, glittering ornaments are fun to play with, Christmas plants or chocolate are set on the coffee table and enjoyable to chew at, just like those cables that lead to the pretty lights that decorate the house.

As delicious/interesting as they may seem for our four-legged friends, those holiday items prove to be hazards which can endanger their health and even their lives.

At Eat Small, we care about your pet’s health by providing delicious and healthy dog food & cold pressed treats with insect protein. But in addition, to help our community to have a happy holiday season away from the veterinary clinic, our veterinarian Véronique has identified for you the potential risks to your dog associated with «The most wonderful time of the year».


Sadly, almost every Christmas plant is dangerous for our pets. The beautiful red leaves from poinsettias are an iconic Christmas symbol. Unfortunately, they are filled with a milky white sap full of chemicals that can have severe impacts if your friend decides to taste them: drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, eye or skin irritation. This is no fun at all.

If the kiss under the mistletoe is one of the most romantic Christmas traditions, its white berries, when eaten by your four-legged friend, can result in gastrointestinal irritation (with drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and pain). Large amounts ingested may lead to abnormal heart rate, hypotension, ataxia (walking drunk) or seizures and in extreme cases… death. Think of it, a kiss under the snow is as romantic, and much safer!

No one thinks that a dog would chew at the spiny leaves from a Christmas holly. Well, our pets can surprise us. If your friend shows excessive drooling or head shaking, it can be because he ate some hard, sharp holly leaves. With a pet at home, hollies are nicer outside: they even keep their leaves with the snow!
Ideally, those plants should be avoided or carefully kept out of reach when a cat or a dog (or even a very young child) lives in your house. If your pet has eaten a Christmas plant, immediately consult your veterinarian.


Christmas decorations with their paw. We all know that they often succeed!


Broken parts of glass balls can be swallowed, just like little toys, tinsel or worst: icicles tinsel… All those tree ornaments can turn into foreign bodies responsible for gastrointestinal bleeding and obstruction. When you decorate the tree, be sure that none of the ornaments are at your pet’s reach. They are much nicer higher on the tree than on an X-ray of your pet at the vet.

Don’t forget to keep Christmas lights electric cables hidden in special tubes or out of reach to prevent mouth burns – or worst – resulting from chewing.


If the Christmas meal is a beautiful family moment and the occasion to enjoy delicious food, make sure that your four-legged friend doesn’t take part to it. Our « human » food can be dangerous for him and can lead to life-threatening conditions.

You really don’t want to show up at the emergencies on a Christmas Eve with your one- year- old labrador who just ate a complete bag of Christmas chocolate balls… aluminum paper included (true story)! Chocolate (cacao) is toxic for dogs and can cause symptoms ranging from abdominal pain to cardiac arrhythmia, seizures and even death.

A crispy turkey or the tender meat of a goose is a delightful meal during holidays. Your four-legged friend will certainly stay close to the table to get some of it. Fatty leftovers or too much of unusual food can cause vomiting, diarrhea or worst, acute pancreatitis! Don’t give poultry bones to your pet. They are small and can break easily, leading to gastrointestinal pain, obstructions or even perforations.

Macadamia nuts or grapeare often part of Christmas desserts. Fresh grapes go along perfectly with cheese and wine. Remember that those nuts and grapes are highly toxic for your dog. Don’t let your friend touch them (instead give him a treat made with insect protein, they are yummy!).

And finally, don’t leave the bowl of eggnog on the coffee table. Alcohol can lead to severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hypotension and decreased body temperature. Think of it: alcohol is not only found in glasses. Many desserts are made with fair volumes of strong alcohol like rum or liquors.

During holidays, avoid giving your dog sweets or leftovers and be sure that food and drinks stay out of its reach when you cook or when you dress up the table. It’s the best way to stay away from the vet.


But what if your four-legged friend has been a good boy or a good girl all year? Of course, you want to show your love with a Christmas present. And what pleases dogs the most?! Unsurprisingly, food comes first on their list to Santa’s dog.

Eat Small thought that you’d love to get something special to treat your friend like he deserves. Only for the holidays, get our «Santa dog’s 4-packs». Filled with yummy food and insect power, it comes in a vintage-look jute bag that fits perfectly under the Christmas tree or in Buddy’s Christmas stocking. In his Santa dog’s 4-packs, your dog will find out our 3 lines of cold-pressed treats plus a tasting-size bag of our dry food WALD.

To get your Santa dog’s 4-packs, visit our online shop. But hurry, stocks are limited.

Veronique Glorieux is a canadian-board veterinarian who cumulates more than 10 years of medical work and experience with dogs and cats. Animal wellfare and environment are 2 topics that moves her. She lives now in Berlin, where she co-founded Eat Small and uses her experience in a different field of practice. With healthy and sustainable insect-based pet food she aims to support both the health of pets and of the planet.

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