Thinking about you Christmas dogs safety takes a little extra thought but will keep you and your Shih Tzu safe and well. During the Christmas season, when everything is festively decorated and smells of delicious Christmas food wafts through the home, many Shih Tzu owners want to share the festive food with all the family including their Shih Tzu fur babies.

Many Shih Tzu’s have a real talent for turning on the charm when they get a watery mouth. When they smell the crispy roast turkey and all the other yummy Christmas food expert them to be wanting their share.

Enjoy the seasons but keep you and your dog safe. It’s not just food either! These mischievous pooches can be into anything. They can munch on more than just treats! Christmas wrapping, tinsel and baubles can create some serious issues and result in a trip to the veterinarian if we don’t keep a watchful eye on them.


Christmas Home & Decor Dangers

Fragrance oils, incense and potpourri

Shih Tzu Poison

Essential oils and fragrances can cause severe poisoning in dogs. These essences are what create the delicious aromas in Pot Pouri, incense and air fresheners. In Shih Tzus if this has been ingested it can cause mucous membrane irritation and gastrointestinal complaints. This can sometimes take the form of convulsions.

It’s poisonous to dogs and these fragrant items should be kept out of their reach so they cannot be chewed and investigated.

Symptoms: shortness of breath, gastrointestinal discomfort, convulsions

Danger: poisoning

Candles & tealights

Shih Tzu Christmas Safety

Christmas is full of sparkly and subdued lighting and candles create a lovely ambience during the festive time. Just be aware and think about some simple safety. Candles should not burn unattended especially when animals roam free in the house. Two minutes alone can lead to injury and fire damage if an inquisitive Tzu knocks them over.

It’s easy to do and equally easy to avoid, so keep your Shih Tzu with you to avoid potential risks. Also candle wax if swallowed by dogs, it can lead to gastric blockages. The colorants and fragrances contained in candles can have an irritating effect. The aluminium of tea lights are very sharp and therefore dangerous for your Shih Tzus.

Symptoms: difficulty in breathing, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, fever, burns

Danger: blockage of the respiratory tract, gastric or intestinal obstruction

Road salt & antifreeze

When the snow outside drifts down and the first ice crystals form, children’s hearts beat faster: Sleigh rides, ice skating and snowmen make Christmas and Advent perfect.

So that it does not become slippery for pedestrians and motorists, road salt and antifreeze are used over large areas on roads and driveways. Often road salt is mixed with ethylene glycol, which is toxic even in a very small amount for dogs.

When you’re out walking your Shih Tzu, make sure when you get home to clean their paws as these toxins can be accidentally ingested when they are cleaning themselves. Also make sure they don’t pick up things to eat or chew next to treated areas. It does not take a lot and can be fatal.

Symptoms:  vomiting, staggering gait, accelerated breathing and convulsions

Danger:  severe kidney damage, fatal kidney failure (death)

Christmas Decorations

Glass Christmas decorations / Xmas baubles

Pets often play with the interesting and glittering Christmas decorations. We all know how our Shih Tzus love to play and something shiny can be a great temptation for them.

Christmas tree balls made of glass or breakable plastic can shatter or easily break in inquisitive jaws. The shards hold a high risk of injury for the sensitive paws of your four-legged friend.

Your Shih Tzu may mistake the baubles for a ball, so keep a close eye on them when they are near the tree and it’s advisable to keep baubles (and decorations generally) off the lower branches and out of reach.

Symptoms: Bloody paws, open areas on the body, severe internal cuts and risk of fatality

Danger: Injuries and risk of death if eaten

Christmas Gifts (packaging)

Gift packaging, such as wrapping paper, bows and ribbons can be dangerous to your Shih Tzu. For instance, they can strangle themselves while playing with thin ribbons. In addition, swallowing wrapping paper often causes indigestion or even poisoning as some of the ink used in the paper is toxic.

By all means let them play. In our house, our Shih Tzu’s open their own presents, it’s part of the fun for them and us. We buy pet friendly paper and we keep a close eye on them and then the material is removed when they get to the food or toys inside! (Thought often the paper and boxes hold more fascination than the gifts!)

Symptoms: indigestion, shortness of breath, vomiting, coughing

Danger: poisoning, injuries

Christmas Tinsel

Tinsel is sparkly and fun and it attracts the attention of children and pets. Some older tinsel can be leaded and therefore toxic to dogs if accidentally ingested.

Like with bows and ribbons, your dog can get tangled and it can wrap tightly and cause them to choke. Also, if your fur baby accidentally swallows tinsel this can lead to issues as their stomachs are not designed to process these foreign objects. 

If your Shih Tzu shows any signs of respiratory distress, you should immediately consult a veterinarian. 

Symptoms:  shortness of breath, coughing, gastric discomfort, lethargy

Danger:  poisoning, injuries

Christmas Plants like Poinsettias, Mistletoe or Christmas Roses

Plants like the Poinsettia, Mistletoe or Christmas roses should not be nibbled by dogs. We all like to bring some of the outside inside at Christmas and even those of us who maybe don’t usually have house plants, can be swayed by the colors of the season.

Ingestion of these plants should be avoided and they should be kept out of the reach of all pets. They are poisonous to Shih Tzus and other animals and this toxicity can cause severe irritation to the mucous membranes, gastric complaints like cramps, as well as paralysis and lowering of body temperature.

Symptoms:  Scratching and burning in the mouth and throat, diarrhoea and vomiting

Danger:  poisoning

General Christmas Decorations

Just like glass baubles and other plastic and metal decorative items, these can be dangerous to dogs. They contain toxic substances and can block the respiratory tract as well as the stomach and intestines when swallowed.

That can at the minor level create severe discomfort for your Tzu and more seriously can result in suffocation and death.

Symptoms:  difficulty in breathing, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, fever

Danger:  blockage of the respiratory tract, gastric or intestinal obstruction

Spray Snow

Spray snow looks decorative on windows and gives us the illusion of snow if we’re not fortunate enough to have the real thing over the holidays. However, if you are a dog owner, you should completely avoid the use of spray snow as it is poisonous to dogs even in small quantities.

When you decorate your windows you’d think it was out of reach of your Shih Tzu but due to it’s consistency the fake snow can dislodge from windows as rooms get warmer or as time goes on. If this falls on the floor unseen, there is a risk your Tzu could consume it thinking it a tasty treat.

Symptoms:  shortness of breath, convulsions

Danger:  poisoning

Christmas Pine needles

Fir needles from the Christmas tree or Advent wreath are easily accessible for most pets. They naturally fall as the tree or wreath ages. If you have a live tree or wreath keep a close eye as the pine needles drop. For dogs this is a real danger as pine needles contain naturally occurring essential oils (poisonous!)

That’s what that amazing smell is that we associate with Xmas and the holidays. It smells great and for Shih Tzu’s this might lead to eating them, don’t let that happen, they are poisonous. Your dog will become ill and sickness and diarrhea is normal and depending on the quantity eaten it can lead to long term, life-threatening liver and kidney damage.

Symptoms:  Symptoms of liver disease can include weight loss, weakness, colicky pain, sensitivity to light, heavy sweating, and temperature increase.

Danger:  liver and kidney damage

Christmas Food

Yeast / dough

Stollen and other Christmas baked goods are often made from yeast dough. Since leavening dough rises, the dough should never be fed to dogs, otherwise, it can lead to painful flatulence. There are also more severe issues like intestinal perforation that can be fatal.

Symptoms: painful bloating, flatulence

Danger: cracks in the stomach or intestinal perforation


Gingerbread usually contains cocoa, as well as spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Therefore, this can be harmful or even fatal when consumed by your Shih Tzu. This is not a treat they should be given. Stick with pet treats instead. That way they enjoy the holidays safely.

Symptoms:  vomiting, diarrhoea, pulse acceleration, trembling, convulsions, difficulty breathing

Danger:  poisoning, death


Nutmegs are often processed into Christmas cookies and other seasonal treats. Cookies of all shapes and sizes make sure of this aromatic Christmas spice. It’s used in Christmas cakes and seasonal pies and desserts. Ingestion can cause tremors and convulsions in dogs and can even lead to death.

Symptoms:  trembling, convulsions

Danger:  death

Christmas Cookies

Cookies are made from many different ingredients, especially sugar, nuts and chocolate. Many of the cookies ingredients are extremely harmful to dogs. Therefore, dogs should not eat either raw or baked cookies.

Symptoms:  Salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, shortness of breath and convulsions

Danger:  Stop cell respiration, which causes internal suffocation

Pecan Pie not safe for Shih Tzu

Pecan Pie

What’s more fun at the holidays than indulging in a Pecan Pie, for many of us it’s the taste of Christmas. Just thinking of that makes my mouth water.

Like any nut, Pecans are not a good idea for sharing with your Shih Tzu, that means Pecan Pie is a no-no and also avoid other treats that contain them like butter pecan ice cream.

They are very toxic for dogs and poisoning can cause all number of issues and in the worse case can kill your pet.

Symptoms:  stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy

Danger:  kidney failure, death

Christmas goose / Christmas Turkey

Food leftovers should not be fed to dogs. The remains of a Christmas goose, in particular, are dangerous for your fur baby. The same is true of Turkey and indeed any other poultry If Shih Tzu’s eat the bones they can swallow the smaller, sharp-edged bits which can injure both the oesophagus and the entire intestine from the inside.

Symptoms:  shortness of breath

Danger:  suffocation, injuries of the intestine

Christmas Chocolate Poison Fpr Dogs


Chocolate is very bad for dogs and your Shih Tzu will usually be fascinated by the enticing smell. Chocolate contains the a chemical called theobromine. It is very similar to caffeine and is highly toxic to dogs.

Even small amounts (so please don’t be tempted) can cause agitation, hyperexcitability, tremors, convulsions and heart problems. The darker the chocolate is the higher the chemicals in it. 

Shih Tzus as we know can get into anything but if your pet eats more than 20mg – it really is bad news. Any holiday treats containing chocolate keep well out of the way of our canine family members.

If you want to treat your pooch then get dog specific choccie treats for them to enjoy. 

Symptoms:  shortness of breath, vomiting, lethargy

Danger:  poisoning


Cinnamon is often processed in cookies and other tasty pastries, especially during Christmas time. Coumarin compounds contained in cinnamon inhibit blood clotting which can be fatal to any dogs. For symptoms such as vomiting or dizziness, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms:  Local mucosal irritation, vomiting or drowsiness

Danger:  inhibition of blood clotting, can lead to coma and death

Grapes and raisins

These fruits contain toxins that can damage your Shih Tzu’s kidneys and liver. Raisins, in particular, are mixed with fruitcakes so make sure not to give those to your dog.

Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, and abdominal pain

Danger: acute renal failure


Nuts contain a toxin which can damage your Shih Tzu’s digestive function. It can also affect their nervous system and muscles. Don’t give then nuts as snacks or food containing nuts to be on the safe side.

Symptoms: swollen legs, vomiting, and shortness of breathing

Danger: tremors


Even just a single drop has a strong effect on your Shih Tzu’s health. Avoid giving them any and keep glasses and tumblers off the floor where noses can test the contents. We found that out the hard way and have a Shih Tzu who thinks any beer is hers!

Symptoms: breathing difficulty and disorientation

Danger: death

Plums, peaches, and persimmons

These fruits can result in digestive disorders in your Shih Tzu dog. The pips are not only a choking hazard but also contain harmful toxins too.

Symptoms: abdominal pain, abdominal contractions, dehydration, weakness

Danger: loss of appetite and lethargy


Christmas is great fun for all the family and we treat our Shih Tzu fur babies like an important part of our family. We want them to enjoy the holidays and all the fun that the festive season brings. Just be aware that these playful and cute dogs are naturally inquisitive. It’s one of the many reasons we love them as much as we do.

Just be aware that over the holidays a lot of innocent products we take for granted could pose hidden dangers for your Shih Tzu dogs. Just be aware and keep you and your dog safe. Have a very Merry Christmas from all the crew at Shih Tzu Time.