Christmas and dogs, safe and dangerous toxic foods, treats and plants / chocolate, mistletoe, poinsettia, mince pies / Photo of Cooper, sable cocker spaniel puppy with santa clause by Natalia Ashton, perfect cocker spaniel (C)

Your dog friendly Christmas check list

With the holiday season stepping on our “misle-” toes, don’t forget that your beloved pups need extra attention, too. And I don’t mean getting them presents and having fun unwrapping them together. As a self-proclaimed bore, I am talking about “health and safety” rules to keep your lovely curious spaniels happy and well this Christmas…

Put poinsettias out of your dogs reach (or better still, get a faux plant) The chemical compounds called diterpenoid euphorbol esters found in the plant can cause digestive upsets and skin irritation.

Same goes for the mistletoe. The berries contain polysaccharides, alkaloids, and lectins known to be toxic to dogs. The signs of poisoning include digestive issues, low blood pressure, lack of coordination and seizures. Large quantities can be fatal.

Holly contains saponins, methylxanthines and cyanogens that can cause drooling, digestive upsets. Sharp leaves can also cause physical injuries of the mouth and throat.

No Christmas goes without a tree. Be aware of the needles that can get stuck in pups paws. Also watch out for glass baubles (broken glass), vintage decorations (old paints were toxic to pets sometimes), and tinsel (can cause digestive blockages and injury if swallowed).

Christmas dinner is best to be left for humans. The meats and roasted vegetables can often be high in fat increasing risk of pancreatitis and digestive upsets. Most dinners will be made with garlic, onion, leeks or all of them increasing risk of poisoning & haemolytic anaemia.

Mince pies, Christmas puddings and cakes are made with raisins, sultanas, currants & alcohol, all extremely toxic to dogs.

Chocolate contains theobromine that can cause anything from digestive upsets to seizures. Some sweets are also made with xylitol that can cause liver failure and death due to fast drop in blood sugar.

Candles and room fragrances made with paraffin, cheap waxes & artificial fragrances may affect breathing, cause irritation and allergies. Be safe and use organic soy or beeswax based candies for short periods of time.

Happy holidays!

Photo source: Cooper with a Santa Clause photographed by me


We Love | Best natural paw balms

We literally walked into the “issue”. Went for a walk tonight and found ourselves stomping through the remnants of the de-icing salt. I swiftly grabbed the boy and carried him away rumbling a few words that polite people do not put on the blog for all to see. Indeed, I was frustrated and very worried about Coop.

We had a bit of snow a couple of days ago, nothing major – we live in England, not Alaska, after all. At least that’s how most people feel about it. And clearly, there are a few others who do, indeed, sprinkle the pathetic “snow” with sand as if it’s going to make any difference.

The problem is that the only difference the rock salt makes is creating the risk of toxic exposure for the dogs. Yes, unfortunately, the little ones can suffer from it because the crystals can cause irritation and cracks on their paws and any residue – toxic poisoning if licked off.

So comes winter, we need to be prepared to deal with it by following a few simple rules.

First of all, make sure the neighbours are aware of the dangers because many people simply aren’t.

Secondly, wash your dogs paws as soon as you return after a walk and dry them properly with a hair dryer.

Thirdly, use protection and treatments. If you live in an area heavily covered with the salts and de-icers, consider booties (tiny dog boots or rubber pull-ons). If you don’t need to worry about the residue too much, treat the paws with some lovely balm once a day for the pleasure of it.

I have been using the Pawtection by the Natural Dog Company for as long as the balm became available in the UK. Made with combination of healing oils and essential oils, the balm is also free from beeswax (it contains candellila wax instead), so it can be used on puppies and young dogs under 12 months old.

It is very easy to apply because you can dispense just enough to spread over the paws before massaging it in. My boy loves it. It smells lovely, too.


The other puppy-friendly paw balm I love is the Hemp Skin, Nose & Paw balm by HOWND.


Style conscious dog parents would appreciate the goodness and look of the Dug & Bitch balm and Lila Loves It Little Paw Care. These are wonderfully nourishing and healing, but do contain beeswax, so not suitable for dogs under 12 months of age. On my wish list.


For the travellers and dog mums who, like me, carry their dogs life essentials in a huge holdall, the tins of No. 1 Pawmade protecting balm and First Aid ointment by Loyal Canine Co. are just perfect.


For the sceptics, we are not affiliated to not have been compensated by any of these companies and brands. We imply wanted to share the love and useful tips. You can shop these balms by following the links or visiting Maison Le Lou, Mungo & Maud, Dug & Bitch, Hownd, Healthful Pets  and Houndworthy.