Deck the Halls: Dangerous Decorations

If you’re anything like the family of PFBR Founder, Teresa Cargill, you will LOVE to decorate your home in the full spirit of Christmas. There are, however, a few items that you should be particularly cautious about this season as we all know the saying “curiosity killed the cat” and it doesn’t fare all that much better for our canine pals either…

Several of our Christmas favourites come with rather striking berries – take holly and mistletoe. While the foliage for either of these plants are considered to be low toxicity, the berries can be a different kettle of fish entirely. Keep these to their traditional locations above doors and atop fireplaces, or your dog may have a poorly tummy and be unfit to greet Santa Paws on the big day…

Those beautiful red leaves in a big bushy arrangement have become a favourite for British people. You will see them available in most supermarkets, as well as DIY stores and home furnishings shops. It goes without saying that a lot of plants have natural defences that make them toxic to consume (it’s how they survive in the wild) and so the same is true of the poinsettia. If you see your pooch chancing a nibble, shoo them away. Consumption of this beautiful plant can cause irritation and, occasionally, vomiting. No one wants to add vomit to their Christmas decorating scheme!

Christmas Tree
Christmas tree, O’ Christmas tree… how lovely are your branches! And probably tasty, too. Well, they sure do smell good anyway! Try not to let your dog casually gnaw at a Christmas tree branch this year. For one, it will ruin the symmetry of your tree (!) and secondly, those needles can be as sharp as their name suggests. Make sure to hoover up when they drop to stop the sharper varieties posing a risk to your pet’s digestive system. We’ll talk more about artificial trees and needles when we get to some more seasonal favourites.

The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown… can both cause a tummy upset! Isn’t that how the song goes? Whilst poison ivy and the kind of ivy contained in our wreaths and arrangements are usually very different, you should still be mindful of poorly bellies if consumed, and the potential to allergic skin reactions for all new plants brought into the home.

Tinsel, Baubles and your VERY Convincing Fake Tree
Now, our fake Christmas tree is very convincing and so I am being polite by assuming that yours must be also. However, as natural as it may look, it’s still a foreign object in your home. That and the sparkly, fluffy tinsel, and ALL these ball-shaped baubles look like playtime galore for your dog! The only problem is that these things are not made of natural products. They will fail to digest and may also break, causing damage and blockages in the digestive system. Most small items may pass through without much issue, but if you suspect your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, watch for signs of discomfort, difficulty toileting, bloating, and pain reactions. You could need to see your vet quite quickly…

Otherwise, rock those jingle bell dog collars, catch those trees when zoomies send them flying, howl out your favourite carols, and most of all – haveĀ a very merry Christmas!

Note: Information from the Blue Cross article on Christmas Dangers and The Kennel Club. See their sites for more Christmas Dangers and how to be vigilant this Christmas. Photo from


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