We all love decorating for the holidays but as pet owners we need to take our four-legged family members into consideration. It is very important to keep our pets’ safety atop of mind when choosing what we use to decorate our homes with lights and holly.
Now just because safety is the top priority, it can still be easy to make your home beautiful as you celebrate the spirit of the season. Expert veterinarian, Dr. Kristen Andrews, has some tried and true guidelines for decorating a pet-friendly home for the holidays.
Here are some of her best tips for to help keep your holiday and Christmas decorations safe for pets.
11 Tips For a Safe Holiday Home With Pets
Keep Tinsel Out of Your Home
Tinsel is shiny and can be irresistible to a curious pet, especially cats, causing them to chew on it. The problem is that tinsel (because it is a long string) can become trapped inside of your pet’s intestines, requiring surgery, and could potentially be fatal if not caught early enough. Resist the urge to hang tinsel on the tree.
Beware of Holiday Plants That Are Toxic to Pets
Mistletoe, Holly, Poinsettias, Lilies, and pine needles can all pose a danger to your pet. Visit the Pet Poison Help Line for a list of toxic plants.
Keep Lit Candles High Out of Reach
Lit candles need to be kept out of reach where pets can’t risk knocking them over. Better yet, don’t light them or use flameless candles. Not only can a pet get burned from the flame, but a knocked over candle could result in a house fire.
Choose an Artificial Tree Over a Live Tree
Live trees are often chemically treated to help them last longer in your home. These chemicals then wind up in the water at the base of your tree and are toxic to pets.
Keep Dangerous Ornaments at the Top of the Tree
Hang glass, metal, edible, and fragile ornaments near the top of the tree. If possible, avoid these types of trimmings altogether. Plastic ornaments and cloth ornaments are harder for a pet to break and are safer for any rambunctious pets who love to play by the tree.
Unplug Christmas Lights When You Are Not Home
Keeping your lights unplugged minimizes risks to both pets and children. Keeping the electrical cords up off the floor also helps ensure pets won’t chew on them. You can purchase cord protectors to help safeguard electrical cords as well as using Bitter Apple to discourage curious mouths.
Anchor your Christmas Tree
Do you have a cat that like to climb Christmas trees? Consider anchoring your tree to the ceiling or the wall. You may even wish to forgo the big tree for something smaller that can be displayed on a table instead.
Leave the Snow Outside
Snow globes can contain antifreeze inside, which can be deadly if ingested by your pets. These break easily if they are knocked over so play it safe and keep them away. Artificial snow for the tree, while a low toxicity, should be confined to parts of the tree your pet can’t ingest or left off the tree completely.
Ribbons and Other Trimmings Can be Dangerous
Ribbons, yarn, and strings on presents can present the same problem as tinsel. They can get caught up in the intestines and bunch together, which may require surgery to remove them. Keep your wrapping simple and safe for pets if your gifts are in areas where your dogs and cats can get at them.
Say No to Fire Salts and Angel Hair Glass
Fire salts and angel hair are not widely used holiday decorations, but it should be noted they are not safe for pets. While fire salts make a fire more festive, they contain chemicals that can be harmful to pets. Angel hair (spun glass), although beautiful, can be irritating to skin, eyes, and intestinal tract. Both of these should be avoided in a home with pets.
Keep an Eye on Ornament Hooks
When hanging your ornaments with hooks, keep your pets confined so they can’t ingest them. Be sure to also pick up any hooks that may be laying on the floor once you are finished hanging your knick-knacks. These hooks can be swallowed and cause a blockage or trauma, which may require surgery to remove.
With some loving care and proper planning, not only can you make a beautiful holiday home, but also one that is safe for your pets to enjoy during this very merry season.