Vet warns dog owners to avoid Christmas crackers this year

Christmas is an exciting time of year for many families, and even for our four-legged friends. Many will enjoy the most festive traditions on Christmas Day, from feasting on a Christmas dinner, to opening presents under the Christmas tree. But for dog owners, these famous festivities can be unknowingly harmful for our pets.

Matalan have teamed up with Veterinary expert, Tilly Wild, who reveals why dog owners should avoid one of the most popular Christmas traditions – Christmas crackers.

Tilly said: “It’s not unusual for a showering of debris after the pulling of crackers and party poppers. With little gifts and plenty of rubbish likely to end up all over the table and floor, keep an eye on what your dog might pick up and swallow.  Small prizes from crackers could be a choking hazard or cause internal blockages, so if possible, do these types of activities away from your dog and ensure a quick tidy up!”

Below are other common traditions that Tilly warns dog owners should be wary of this Christmas.

Fairy lights

Fairy lights around the home are common at Christmas, and who doesn’t love to sit around a brightly lit Christmas tree. Tilly adds:

Tilly said: “Lighting up your home for Christmas is very common. However, vets warn of Christmas lights causing electric shocks, mouth damage or intestinal blockages if your pup tries to eat them. So make sure you don’t leave your dog unattended and that the lights are out of reach!

With more wires around than normal too and curious canines sniffing around, make sure any wires are blocked off or tidied away neatly to avoid your dog getting tangled up in them or in very serious cases, receiving a dangerous electric shock.”


Christmas trees

Real Christmas trees are incredibly popular but can also be a real cause for concern when it comes to dogs. Tilly said:

“Whether it be real or fake, a tree indoors is likely to be a strange sight for your dog! Chances are they will come for a sniff around, so ensure that your tree is securely anchored to decrease the risk of it being knocked over and causing an injury and/or a big mess”, adds Tilly.

Also, make sure you hoover up regularly to minimise your dog’s ability to ingest any pine needles or getting them stuck in their paws. Whilst pine is not toxic to dogs, ingesting too much could cause irritation to the digestive system, and needles can be sharp.”

Christmas dinner

Whilst tucking into a long-awaited Christmas dinner, you might be tempted to share any leftovers with your dog. Tilly strongly warns against this, explaining:

“Though undeniably delicious to us, several festive foods from your Christmas dinner can actually be poisonous to dogs! It may seem like a seasonal treat, but letting your pup have anything from your dinner plate that contains chocolate, mince pies, Christmas pudding, onion gravy or alcohol could be very dangerous for them – so avoid the urge to let your dog enjoy your Christmas dinner too.

If you’re leaving the table without clearing the plates, make sure someone has eyes on the dog to ensure they don’t lap up some leftovers on their own accord!”

When it comes to exchanging presents, our furry friends shouldn’t be forgotten about. Matalan also partnered with certified animal behaviourist, Caroline Wilkinson, to gain insights into dog traits and behaviours, to help uncover the perfect gifts for every four-legged friend this year.

Simply answer the quiz questions with your pooch in mind, and the tool will match your dog with two paw-fect gifts.

Take the quiz here: