Christmas is a time for fun and family, including the furry friends who share our home.

However, this time of year can create additional hazards for pets which is why the RSPCA have issued a list of seven hidden dangers in the home.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Lots of things around the house at Christmas could be dangerous to your pet; so it’s best to know ahead of time what to look out for and how best to keep your pets safe.”

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Seven dangers to pets at Christmas

Here is the RSPCA’s list of things you might not know could harm your pet during the festive season.

Chocolate tree decorations
Most pet owners know that chocolate is toxic to their furry friends; but chocolate tree decorations can sometimes be overlooked. When you’re decorating your tree, avoid hanging chocolate decorations, instead, pop the family’s sweet treats somewhere safe and out of your pets’ reach.

Tinsel and wrapping paper
Tinsel and wrapping paper might be tempting for your pet to play with - but make sure they don’t eat it! However, cardboard boxes can be great fun for pets - perhaps use leftover boxes from presents to make your cat a special castle!

Festive bakes
We all love a Christmas pudding and tasty cake over the holidays, but did you know some of the popular ingredients can be incredibly dangerous to your four-legged friends? Raisins, currants, and sultanas - commonly added to festive bakes - are poisonous along with the additive xylitol.

Festive plants such as poinsettias, holly, ivy and mistletoe can be toxic to pets. Lilies can also be very dangerous for cats.

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Cooked bones and leftovers
Never feed dogs or cats cooked bones as these can splinter and cause internal injuries. Onions, leeks and garlic can also be toxic to pets.

Items such as leftover pigs in blankets, gravy and stuffing shouldn’t be fed to pets due to their high salt.

If you do want to offer your dog some Christmas dinner leftovers, small amounts of cooked turkey and carrots are a good choice.

St Helens Star: Some Christmas dinner leftovers can be hazardous to pets. Picture: RSPCASome Christmas dinner leftovers can be hazardous to pets. Picture: RSPCA

This is just a no go. You should never give your pet alcohol as this could make them sick.

Silica gel
Small sachets of silica gel are often found in packaging and can also be found inside a variety of Christmas presents too. The gel can cause your pet stomach upset if ingested.

How to keep your pet safe at Christmas

RSPCA pet welfare expert, Dr Samantha Gaines, said: “Keep your pets safe this Christmas by swotting up on what can be dangerous; no one wants an expensive vet visit this festive season.

“Other tips for the holiday period include making sure your pet doesn’t feel stressed during the chaotic Christmas holidays by keeping their routine as normal as possible and providing them with somewhere quiet and cosy to retreat to.

“Always ensure you have plenty of food and medication for the holiday season - when shops may be shut - and know contact details for your nearest emergency vets just in case you need help.

“Remember, the RSPCA is open 365 days a year and we’ll be working over Christmas to help in emergencies."

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Join the RSPCA Rescue Team

Dr Gaines is asking people to support the RSPCA's effor to keep animals in need safe this winter by joining the rescue team and making a donation.

Dr Gaines said: “We’re asking people to Join the Rescue this Christmas to help bring animals to safety. Please call us on 0300 1234 999 for advice over the festive season.”

To Join the Christmas Rescue and help RSPCA rescuers be there for the animals in need this winter, visit