Deck the halls and trim the trees in a way that is both festive and pet-friendly!
Taking a few minutes to create a pet-friendly living space during the holiday season is worth the time and effort. You and your guests will be able to sit back, relax, and fully enjoy the festivities without having to anticipate what possible pet-related drama may occur!
Skip the Boughs of Holly
Mistletoe and holly are beautiful and essential during the holiday season. However, they are also highly poisonous if ingested. This may leave you wondering if other seasonal plants poisonous/nauseating to cats or dogs? Yes! You’re better off staying away from:
- English ivy
- Rosemary topiary
Silk plants are a safer choice when incorporating plants into your holiday decor! If you're determined to have some live flowers, opt for roses and orchids.
Light Up The Holidays
Candles flickering on a mantle or a beautifully lit menorah on the dining room table are gorgeous -- singed whiskers and burnt tails are not! Also, a wagging tail can knock candles over, spilling hot wax or possibly start a fire. We suggest some battery-powered candles for that cozy seasonal glow.
Some scented home products may also pose a respiratory risk to pets, due to their more sensitive airways.
Pet Safety Christmas Tree Tips
Real or fake, having the tree around before the decorating begins is a great way for your cat or dog to get used to the new addition. Trees can be anchored to the floor, the wall or the ceiling. This is a great thing to do to avoid your pet knocking over the tree! And be considerate, do not put up a tree in front of your pet’s favorite place to window-watch.
Cats are natural tree climbers, but with orange peels or a spray or two of citronella, even the most curious of kitties will want to stay away. Citrus smells are a natural repellant for felines.
If your family is a "real tree family," be sure to keep tree water covered and away from thirsty tongues. Bacteria, molds and fertilizers can infiltrate the water and make your cat sick after ingesting only a small amount. Keep an eye out for errant pine needles too, as they can irritate skin and eyes, and ingesting them may cause gastrointestinal issues.
Choose Ornaments Wisely
When it comes time to decorate the tree, unbreakable ornaments are best if you have pets or small children. If you have your heart set on using glass/breakable ornaments, place them high and out of reach. You should also wire them to the tree branch to keep them from falling, shattering, and causing cuts.
Tinsel is shiny and pretty, but not the best choice when there are pets in the house. While it isn’t considered a toxin, tinsel can be easily swallowed and can cause a serious intestinal blockage when consumed, resulting in an unplanned holiday visit – to the vet.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some dogs may mistake extension cords, plugs and power-strips for chew-toys. Keeping pets away from power sources when you’re not around may be in everyone’s best interest.
Also, keep track of the hooks you use for hanging tree ornaments. Swallowing one of these sharp metal hooks can cause great harm to your furry friend.
Hang the Stockings by the Chimney With Care
Heavy metal stocking holders look great but, if your four legged friend tugs at a stocking and the holder falls, it can injure them. A safer choice is an unobtrusive plastic hook that attaches with removable tape! They could also be hung from bedroom doorknobs or they could be placed under the tree in the morning.
Do not tempt pets by filling the stockings with food items before Christmas morning.
Dinner Table Decor
Long tablecloths or runners can accidentally get yanked causing dishes, tableware, and hot food to come tumbling down. Using shorter tablecloths and runners or placemats that do not hang over the edge of a table is a safer alternative for everyone!