Five statistics about dogs, Christmas and canine healthcare that should give dog owners pause for th

Five statistics about dogs, Christmas and canine healthcare that should give dog owners pause for th

Health & Safety

Christmastime can be either really enjoyable or really stressful, or for many of us, a solid mixture of both; and the same may well be true for your dog. Christmas can actually be a rather risky time of the year for dogs too, for a variety of reasons!

Dogs are very inquisitive animals as well as tending to be very food-oriented and highly opportunistic, which coupled with poor self-control and a very blasé attitude to eating things that we as humans find repellent, means that stopping our dogs eating things that might harm them can be a challenge at any time of the year.

When you also factor in how Christmas means the introduction of a wide range of new and novel seasonal foods to the average household, the presence of visitors and friends in many cases, and owners that are distracted or not paying as much attention to the dog as normal, it is easy to see how every year, many dogs end up making a festive pilgrimage to the local vet’s.

Nobody’s idea of a good Christmas is sitting in the vet’s waiting room whilst an unlucky team of veterinary staff try to induce vomiting in a dog that managed to eat a whole box of mince pies or a tub of chocolate; except perhaps the credit card company financing the whole endeavour!

However, every year, this is unfortunately how Christmas day, Boxing day, or one of the other bank holidays of the season look for a small but unlucky number of dog owners and vets; and Christmas is actually a surprisingly busy time in the average veterinary clinic.

Taking pains to avoid joining them is of course a very wise move, and there are a great many things you can do to reduce the hazards and risks that may face your dog around Christmas in order to keep your dog safe. But how common are Christmas dog emergencies really, and how many dog owners take risks, or face a problem over the festive season that requires veterinary help?

This article will share five fascinating statistics about dogs, Christmas hazards and veterinary care that should give all dog owners pause for thought! Read on to learn more.

There’s around a 40% rise in emergency calls to vets over Christmas compared to other times of the year

Christmas day is the last day of the year that any of us would wish to have to call the vet on, both because this will have a huge impact on our festivities and also of course, be apt to be very expensive.

However, the Christmas period in general is one that sees a big uptick in emergency calls to veterinary clinics up and down the country, and there is in fact a 40% increase in emergency calls made to vets over the Christmas period specifically, although of course not all of these will result in a visit to the clinic.

National veterinary chain Vets Now sees a massive 309% increase in presentations of chocolate poisoning in dogs at Christmas!

Vets Now is one of the largest veterinary chains in the UK with over 1,400 clinics, and so is seems fair to assume that the type and frequency of conditions and problems faced by dogs treated by the Vets Now chain are likely to be reflected across other practices too.

This means that published data from Vets Now indicating that their chain alone sees a huge 309% increase in cases of chocolate poisoning in dogs treated over the festive period is quite shocking, and demonstrates just how easily it can happen if you’re not vigilant about your dog and where the snacks are!

Around a third of all dog owners inadvertently feed their dog something dangerous at Christmas

Around 26% of people in the UK own a pet dog, which is over 17 million people. Based on owner surveys, an estimated 5.5 million of them, or around a third of all dog owners, have inadvertently fed their dog something at Christmas that was either toxic, poisonous or otherwise dangerous to them.

61% of dog owners give their dogs a human Christmas dinner

Many of us want to give our dogs a special Christmas day dinner all of their own, and it can seem very mean to sit down to a feast with the whole family and leave the dog out entirely! However, it is not a good idea to give your dog a plate of all of the food you and the family are having; for a start this will be too much food, much of which will be rich, fatty, salty or overly sweet.

Even more importantly, a great deal of Christmas dinner foods contain ingredients that can be toxic to dogs, like onion, garlic, alcohol, and much more.

This means that the 61% of dog owners who give their dogs a human Christmas dinner are taking some risks, unless they’re incredibly conscientious about checking and researching what is in everything they give to the dog first.

15% of dog owners have asked for veterinary help for their dog on Boxing day

Finally, based on published data from Vets Now once more, a total number of 15% of dog owners have had to ask for veterinary help for their dogs on Boxing day at some point! Whilst this might only happen once, a trip to the vets on Boxing day can be just as costly as attending on Christmas day itself, and is of course best avoided entirely by being vigilant and keeping your dog safe and out of mischief.

Newsletter icon
Get free tips and resources delivered directly to your inbox.


Pets for StudWanted Pets

Accessories & services


Knowledge Hub


Support & Safety Portal
All Pets for Sale