Christmas - the best time of the year. Everywhere it glitters, sparkles and shines, and the scent of cookies and mulled wine is enchanting us. But is this time also great for our animal friends? Christmas decorations and chocolate cookies can be a source of danger for your four-legged friend.\nHazard # 1: chocolate and wrapping\nIn fact, the snack plate is the number one source of danger. Our little friends are all too happy to grab candy and end up in the clinic a short time later with suspicion of chocolate poisoning, because chocolate in large quantities is poisonous for dogs and cats. This is due to the substance theobromine in cocoa beans. While humans can break down theobromine through the enzyme cytochrome, dogs and cats cannot. The higher the cocoa content, the more dangerous it could be for your dog, and dark chocolate can even cause poisoning.\nSymptoms, prevention, and first aid measures for chocolate poisoning\nThe first signs of poisoning are: nervousness, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, palpitations, cardiac arrhythmias, tremors and cramps. If you catch your four-legged friend snacking or if he shows symptoms of chocolate poisoning, you should see the vet immediately.\nIf the chocolate was ingested less than two hours ago, it is still in the stomach. Then we let the animal vomit in a controlled manner, which significantly reduces the poisoning risk. If your pet was alone for the day and feasted on the Advent chocolate plate, we need to apply detox therapy including infusions and specific drainage. Often it is not certain how much chocolate the animal has consumed. A visit to the vet is a good precaution – better safe than sorry!\nThere is only one way to prevent chocolate poisoning: chocolate is an absolute taboo for your four-legged friend! Keep all chocolate out of reach of your pet, even at Christmas time.\nWrapping inside the dog's stomach\nDogs usually do not unpack treats; they are often eaten whole, leading to gastrointestinal problems and the visit with the vet should not be delayed. If possible, take the rest of the chocolate with you to the vet to indicate how much was eaten.\nHazard # 2: Christmas tree with tinsel and Christmas ornaments\nShiny tinsel, colorful glass balls - the trimmed tree is the symbol of Christmas and at the same time a great source of danger for your pets.\nThe tree should be stable and ideally secured to the wall with strings so that it cannot fall over if one of your pets tries to jump onto it. Make sure that your dog or cat cannot access the water in the tree stand, as it can contain preservatives, pesticides and the poisonous essential oils of the conifer. It is best if you don't leave your animals alone with the tree at all.\nChristmas ornaments can be a real danger\nDogs and cats love to play with the glittering glass balls. There is a great risk that the balls will be broken and eaten in the process. Every year vets marvel at the most incredible things on x-rays of the abdomen. And swallowing is not the worst, as long as we notice it in time: if the dog chews the ornament, it can also lead to nasty injuries in the gastrointestinal tract.\nTinsel is poisonous!\nThe play instinct of cats is immediately aroused with glittering tinsel. However, the colored threads not only often contain lead, but can also lead to massive digestive disorders and an occlusion of the intestinal tract. It is best to avoid tinsel entirely or use paper tinsel and hang up the Christmas tree decorations at a height that your four-legged friend cannot reach.\nWhat to do if Christmas decorations have been eaten?\nDid you watch your cat or dog messing with Christmas decorations, then go depending on the severity - was a whole thread of tinsel swallowed? Have pieces of an ornament been swallowed? - straight to the vet. And watch closely for symptoms like vomiting, gastrointestinal noises, diarrhea, cramps or loss of appetite – take your pet to the vet immediately.\nIf a dog or cat is brought to the veterinarian on the suspicion that a foreign body has been swallowed, the veterinarian begins the examination by palpating the animal's abdomen. A contrast agent makes the foreign body visible when the chest and abdomen are x-rayed. If the foreign object is in the stomach, the foreign body is being removed with the forceps. If, however, the object has reached the intestine and has possibly caused an intestinal obstruction, in the worst case your four-legged friend is about to have surgery.\nHazard # 3: candles \u0026amp; fairy lights\nChristmas without candles? Difficult to imagine! But the curiosity of our four-legged friends can lead to burns of the whiskers or the inside of the nose. In general, you should not leave your pets alone with burning candles under any circumstances, because if the dog is wagging his tail or the cat is playing, Christmas decorations can become a real fire hazard. Light them only out of the reach of your four-legged friends.\nFairy lights are also not safe. If the cables are being nibbled on, there is a risk of painful electric shocks. If you have a “nibbler” at home, then hide the light chain cord or pull the plug. After all, once the Christmas hustle and bustle has set in, nobody can watch their pets all the time.\nHazard # 4: Advent wreath and Christmas plants\nA beautifully decorated Advent wreath will delight not only you, but also your pets. Candles and the fragrant scent of fir on the table - that arouses curiosity to touch or nibble on, because you don't get something like that every day. But: pine needles can be poisonous for pets. The same applies here: always set up the wreath out of the reach of your animals or lock it away as soon as you leave the room.\nSeveral house plants are poisonous to cats, including many traditionally popular Christmas plants. In cats, consumption can cause vomiting, tremors, pulmonary edema, apathy, delayed reflexes, increased salivation or even death. Plants such as poinsettias, Christmas roses and mistletoe are very festive and certainly beautiful to look at, but have no place in a household with animals.\nThese plants should be kept out of reach so that the animal cannot get poisoned. Of course it’s best best if you do without the beautiful floral decorations entirely. Otherwise you can switch to non-toxic plants, e.g. the Christmas cactus, which also looks great.\nHazard # 5: wrapping paper\nWhile we unpack the presents, our dear four-legged friends are almost magically attracted by the glittering and crackling foils, ribbons, bows and the colorful paper. Cats and young, playful dogs tend to play with and sometimes eat the packaging material. Here, too, digestive disorders can occur. You should see the vet if your animal shows signs of discomfort. Small amounts of wrapping paper or decorations are not healthy, but usually also not dangerous for your four-legged friend.\nHazard # 6: spray snow\nThe popular spray snow looks particularly nice on the Christmas tree or the windows. However, as a dog and cat owner, you should be careful with this decoration idea. Even a small amount of the spray snow can lead to poisoning because it contains lead.\nCats in particular lick a number of things and can also absorb these toxic substances out of curiosity. Use natural materials as Christmas decorations in your household, such as wood or straw.\nHazard # 7: the feast\nWe have talked about the consumption of chocolate and other sweets above, but we should also mention the holiday feast. A moment of inattentiveness is enough and the holiday roast is nibbled on or stolen entirely. Depending on the spices and their intensity in our Christmas dishes, they can cause gastrointestinal complaints in your animals. Poultry bones can split easily and, like fish bones, can be dangerous for your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Exercise caution: Christmas chefs with pets should always keep an extra eye on their four-legged friends.\nWith these precautionary measures, nothing can go wrong during the Christmas holidays!\nWe wish you, your family and your furry friends a Merry Christmas!