BVA issues plea for Christmas caution on food and decorations

18th December 2023
Industry News

The BVA has urged pet owners to be aware of the risks posed by many common food and decorative items found in homes over Christmas.

According to its figures, four in every five companion animal vets saw at least one case of toxic ingestion during the 2021-22 festive period.

Chocolate, many dried fruits, onion, garlic and even decorations like holly or mistletoe can be dangerous, or even fatal, to pets and the association has pleaded for owners to take care with them around their pets.


Making a plea to owners, BVA junior vice-president Elizabeth Mullineaux said: “Vets across the country will be on call over Christmas, but there’s nothing we’d like more than empty waiting rooms and all of our patients safe at home.

“Unfortunately, the fun human festivities include a lot of potential perils for pets. So we strongly recommend being vigilant and taking a few key precautions to keep your pets happy and healthy over the festive period.

“Keep all tempting treats, decorations and anything else a pet may mistake for food out of their reach to prevent an emergency visit to the vet.

“We also recommend keeping pets to their normal diets and avoiding feeding them any human food.

“But if you are concerned your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t, please do contact your vet as soon as possible.”


Three-quarters (76%) of vets reported seeing cases of chocolate-based poisoning, based on the BVA’s latest figures, with 69% seeing dogs taken ill after eating raisins or sultanas.

Almost one in five (19%) reported cases related to the artificial sweetener xylitol, while gifts for humans (14%) or pets (12%) also caused problems.

Although many cases involve dogs, more than one in four respondents (27%) also reported seeing cases of toxic ingestion in cats.

Among the most common substances found in cats were holly or mistletoe (18%), foreign bodies (13%) or antifreeze (7%).


Credit to:  BVA issues plea for Christmas caution on food and decorations (Vet Times)

Vet Times. (2023).  BVA issues plea for Christmas caution on food and decorations [online]

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