Thank God it’s Christmas

Who’d have thought Christmas would come around so soon – again? With three kids, however, I have noticed time dilation appearing in all corners of my existence. This will be our little Bear’s first Christmas. I reckon it’s easy to stay on the nice list when you can’t walk or talk, so Santa better bring a booty for his (tiny) stockings.

Professionally, it is meant to be my duty to remind pet owners of the potential hazards that pets face at Christmas time. I’m not talking about drunk drivers or kids pepped up on sugar-balls chasing the cat with their new lightsaber. Rather, my heightened concerns are regarding our indulgence of the ‘good stuff’ in the festive season. Perhaps this ought to be a list for ourselves, as well:


Yes, the list always starts with chocolate. Too much chocolate will certainly kill a dog. The smaller the dog, the more susceptible they are to the toxic effects. Also, dark chocolate is the most dangerous type, dropping down to white chocolate as the least. If you are worried about chocolate toxicosis in your dog (signs are extreme restlessness, excess panting and rapid heart rate), there are various ‘chocolate toxicity calculators’ you can find on the internet. You can use these to see if your dog has a chocolate dose that is relatively safe (or not). You can always call your vet, too!

Mince pies/Christmas cake

These Christmassy treats are full of raisins and sultanas, and dogs have a peculiar toxic sensitivity to these dried fruits. Even small amounts of these can cause acute kidney failure in dogs. If you see your dog scoffing a mince pie, call your vet so they can make it vomit before the toxins absorb and travel to the dog’s kidneys.

Sweets/Rennie tabs

Rennie (tummy antacids) and some sugar-free sweets contain xylitol. This particular sugar-alternative will cause extreme liver damage to dogs if ingested. If you need a Rennie after Christmas dinner, put the packet well out of the way afterwards!

Macadamia nuts

These can cause neurotoxicity and ambulation problems in dogs. Other nuts, in excess, can also cause constipation in the colon.

Onions (including garlic and leeks)

Be careful with leftover gravy and other things which may have onions in them. These cause a problem with canine haemoglobin. In sufficient quantities, dogs can die because of an inability to transport oxygen through the blood.


This is a cat problem. If you are reaching for paracetamol for your Boxing Day fuzzy head, keep it out of the cat’s reach. One paracetamol tablet will kill a cat (i.e. don’t ever let a cat have access to ANY paracetamol). 

Other more obvious dangers are tinsel and ribbons getting stuck in tummies and intestines. As always. Fatty leftovers can cause pancreatitis in your pet, too.

Anyway, I don’t want to come over all ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’ … Christmas is about family and your furry mates should not miss out. Dress them up like your kids and they can feel just as awkward. You can speak to your vet, or call our receptionists and get some ideas for treats and presents for your little mate this Christmas, too!

Remember, a dog may be for life – but it is also for Christmas!

Have a lovely Christmas, everybody. Stay safe, be merry and enjoy your Christmas, one and all – from all of us at the Lagos Vet Clinic.

See you next year!!!

+351 282 782 282


Share this edition