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54% Of British Pets Get Injured Over Christmas
54% of British Pets Get Injured Over Christmas

54% of British Pets Get Injured Over Christmas

  • Vets urge pet owners to take care at Christmas
  • Animals risk choking on turkey bones, swallowing pine needles… and drinking alcohol

13 December 2022, London: Suffering burns from a fireplace, swallowing pine needles and drinking alcohol are some of the accident’s British pets have endured over previous festive seasons reveals new research by Vetster. Over half of British pet owners (54%) admitted that their animals have been injured over holidays past, as vets urge owners to be on guard this year.

The findings by the digital platform which connects licensed veterinarians with pet owners, virtually, showed that top injuries over the festive season included pets playing and eating baubles (17%), followed by fur babies eating food they shouldn’t (14%). Pets getting distressed by too many guests were also top of the list, followed by pets climbing Christmas trees (11%) and ripping open presents under the Christmas tree (11%).

Moreover, 5% of owners have caught their animal’s drinking alcohol, (5%) of pets have been burnt by an open fire and 4% said their animal had swallowed pine needles from the Christmas tree. 16% of pet owners had to take their animal to the vet after it was injured over the festive period.

Dr Jo Myers, a practicing veterinarian at Vetster, said: “It’s really important to keep an extra eye on pets over Christmas. Many will find the period quite stressful with new faces in and out of the house and lots of noise as excitement levels start to escalate.

“Ensuring pets are supervised and have a safe place to retreat to when it all gets too much will help reduce the risk of accidents. It’s also vital that harmful foods such as chocolate are well out of reach, along with candles which may catch a waggy tail.

“Pet owners should also tell their guests not to feed an animal unless they ask first to not only reduce the problem of ingesting something bad, but also to ensure the animal sticks to its usual diet which is key to managing their stress.”

While keeping a dog out of harm’s way at Christmas can be stressful, the research showed some owners are only too happy to have the animal around and use them as excuses for their own Christmas mishaps.

Almost one third (28%) admit to walking the dog to take a break from Christmas guests and more than one in 10 (12%) have opened a present early and then blamed it on the dog.

If your pet needs a veterinarian over the festive period, Vetster offers 24/7 online appointments and can help with dermatology, gastrointestinal, respiratory, urinary tract, ophthalmology and musculoskeletal issues, to name a few. Please visit


Five Tips to Keep Pets Safe this Christmas:

By Dr Jo Myers, a practicing veterinarian at Vetster:

  1. Guests. The run-up to Christmas often means a busy house with new faces for your pet to meet. Some dogs will no doubt enjoy these seasonal greetings, but cats tend to scarper. Ideally a well-trained dog won’t be jumping up and licking the face of each visitor, but will no doubt still be excited. If it all becomes a bit much, dogs will benefit from some alone time as they calm down. Children need to be warned that forcefully cuddling any animal can induce stress and if a pet decides to take itself into a quiet room, it shouldn’t be disturbed. Sticking as closely as possible to the pet’s usual routine will help to quell its stress levels so don’t be tempted to walk your dog less just because it’s chilly outside and you’re keen to return to your guests.
  2. Food. It’s really important to talk to your guests about your pet’s diet. Watch out for those chocolates dangling on the Christmas tree and keep them well out of reach. Keep other festive foods like mince pies and blue cheese out of reach and tactfully ask your guests not to feed your pet at all. The same goes for cats. Most people think it’s fine to give them milk, but drinking enough can make them sick and it does not give them any health benefits. In a recent survey, Vetster found only 38 percent of pet owners are ‘very confident’ when it comes to knowing what their pet can and cannot eat. It’s always important to check whether a food is safe before scraping Christmas leftovers into your pet’s bowl.
  3. Harmful ingestables: It’s not just human treats which need to be considered: Ingesting Christmas tree parts or knocking them over can also cause problems. While these will most pass without an issue or maybe cause a little vomit or diarrhea, eating a large amount could cause more serious problems like a blockage. Monitor for signs of this, such as salivation, excessive vomiting or diarrhea or abdominal pain, in which case, book an appointment with Vetster and seek help from a vet immediately.
  4. Lights. Fairy lights look great strewn around pictures and mantelpieces, but as with all electrical equipment, they should be used with care. As they twinkle and dangle, pets may naturally be drawn to them, and may be tempted to chew them. They are especially a risk to pets who are likely to chew through them or get hung up in them, so it’s best to keep them well out of reach and unplug them if you’re leaving your pet unattended in the room. Electrocution causes burns to the skin, but it can also be fatal. Candles also pose a risk and can be easily knocked over by a waggy tail or a prowling cat.
  5. Don’t forget your rabbit. With the colder temperatures, your rabbit may need the equivalent of a hot water bottle to stay warm and toasty. There are plenty of options for chew-proof heat pads and the hutch should be checked over for any cracks and holes to ensure it remains draught-proof. It’s tempting to bring a rabbit inside at Christmas, but this can cause chaos if the animal isn’t used to being let loose indoors. Stress in rabbits can kill and increased levels of noise and excited children at Christmas time is dangerous. You’ll also need to watch out for the added dangers of any munching on Christmas lights and nibbling on human food, so if your rabbit hasn’t previously roamed around the house, the festive period is not the time to try this out.

Momo Awolesi, 22, London

Momo has a family dog called ‘Digby’ (pictured above) who is a 2-year-old Pug. She got him when he was only 3 months old, and he is her pride and joy. Digby had his first Christmas with his new family last year, he was playing around the Christmas tree, when one of the baubles fell onto the floor and smashed. Digby (being a playful puppy), went closer to the smashed bauble and injured his paws.

Momo immediately called the Vet, however, was told as it was Christmas, she would have to wait a while. Luckily, Digby’s cut wasn’t too deep thankfully, and Momo was able to fix it up the best she could. However, it wasn’t done professionally, and he hobbled around for the next week until she could get an appointment in the new year.

Momo Awolesi, 22, comments: “My puppy is my joy, I remember seeing him in pain because he injured his paws and as a pet parent it’s upsetting when you don’t know how to help. I had to wait over 2 weeks for Digby to be seen by a Vet, luckily his injury wasn’t as bad as it could have been. However, now that we use Vetster, I will never have this issue again because they can provide me on demand 24/7 appointments, no matter how busy the Christmas period gets.

Tatiana Audi, 34, London

Tatiana lives with her partner and her pet cat ‘Miso’, a 13-year-old British shorthair. A year ago, Tatiana wanted to have a magical Christmas in her home with a massive tree, lots of presents, decorations, and fake snow all over the tree!

However, on Christmas Eve Tatiana’s cat Miso jumped onto the tree and ingested a small amount of the fake snow, causing her to throw up continuously. Tatiana, managed to get Miso to the vet as it was an urgent matter, however, the cost of the appointment was so expensive.

Tatiana Audi, 34, comments: “Our Christmas last year was eventful, Miso really gave us a scare. We had to wait in the waiting room for hours to be seen, our actual appointment lasted under 10 minutes and could have been done over the phone. Luckily, a friend of mine told me about Vetster and that’s all we use for Miso now. We get appointments easily and the price of each appointment is cost friendly”

Priyanka Dave, 30, Maidenhead 

Priyanka has a dog called ‘Dixie’, who is a 2-year-old Standard Dachshund.

A year ago, Priyanka was baking Christmas biscuits with her family for Christmas day. The chocolate was left out and Dixie managed to get her paws on it. She overindulged so much that it caused her to become extremely sick. Priyanka called the vet immediately.

Priyanka found herself in a position where she wasn’t able to get any local appointments, the only vet that offered her one was two hours away from her home. No one in her house could drive, so she had to take Dixie on a train, in the cold which she found very unsettling.

Priyanka, 30 comments: “Thank goodness Dixie was alright, travelling in the cold for over 2 hours whilst she wasn’t well, was not a great experience. I was shocked that I couldn’t find a vet closer to my home, however, I won’t have this issue again as I now use Vetster – which allows me to have appointments from the comfort of my own home.




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