The holiday season is a magical time of year, but for pet owners, it can also be a stressful one. With all the decorations and festivities, it's important to make sure your furry friends stay safe and comfortable. We know how important it is for you to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere for your family and pets, so we've put together a list of fun and festive holiday decorating tips that will make your home merry and bright without sacrificing your pet's safety.
After all, you don't want your Christmas tree to become a new chew toy or scratching post. So, whether you have a playful pup or a curious kitty, we've got you covered with pet-friendly ideas that will keep your home looking beautiful while also keeping your pets happy and healthy. From pet-proofing your Christmas tree to removing some surprising festive dangers, read on for our top holiday decorating tips for pet owners.
1. Secure The Christmas Tree
We see it happen every year – the cat climbs up the tree, or the dog pulls at a branch, and everything falls down. So as soon as you set it up, do what you can to ensure it stays put throughout the season. If you don’t use an artificial tree, invest in a high-quality stand to keep it firmly upright. Then move the tree into a corner of the room and anchor it to the walls with screw-in hooks and twine.
2. Choose Ornaments Carefully
Use shatterproof ornaments to decorate most — if not all — of the tree. Hang any fragile ones high up so they’re far out of reach. But also, please be very careful with anything organic. Avoid decorations made of natural citrus and spices — so no dried oranges, cinnamon sticks, or gingerbread men. And skip out on real candy canes if you usually hang them on your tree.
If your pet is extra naughty, we suggest leaving the lower half bare. It may look odd at first, but it’s much better than cleaning up broken keepsakes.
3. Say ‘No’ to Real Plants
The holiday season is the perfect time to showcase all the most gorgeous winter plants. But all the most popular flora — holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia — are highly toxic to animals, even without being touched or swallowed. While most real Christmas trees are harmless, eating too many needles can still make your pet sick. And don’t get us started on thirsty dogs drinking from the funny new water bowl they found under the tree.
Instead, look for artificial plants and flowers at your local craft store. They’re less risky, and you won’t have to worry about watering them. If you still want real plants, go for a festive rose or orchid arrangement, as both are perfectly safe for cats and dogs.
4. Avoid Digestive Hazards
You know what we’re talking about; pets love tinsel, shiny garlands, strings of beads, and anything covered in lots of glitter. They’re naturally attracted to shiny objects and will no doubt want to chew on them. But even a few minutes of playtime can lead to a costly vet visit or worse. So, just like fragile ornaments, keep these decorations far out of reach or ditch them altogether.
5. Always Unplug Your Lights
The holidays mean you’ll have many extra wires lying around, which also means more chances for your pet to get into trouble. They can short out, overheat, and even electrocute an overtly curious cat or dog. So always turn your lights off and unplug each wire before leaving home or going to bed.
Speaking of potential fire hazards…
6. Keep an Eye on Candles
Pine trees, cinnamon, freshly baked sugar cookies: the Elf Squad loves a good, scented candle. And their warm glow puts us in the holiday mood every time. But like anything else, enjoy them responsibly if you have pets at home. Never leave a lit candle unattended; always put it out before leaving the room. Also, read each label and look for certain essential oils — like pine or citrus — that can harm your furry friend.
7. Avoid Metal Stocking Hooks
We see those large decorative metal hooks in all the stores every holiday season. While they may look pretty up on your mantle, nothing holds them in place. So, if your pet jumps up and tugs on a stocking, they could get seriously hurt. We suggest removable plastic or metal-coated hooks for all your festive mantle decor. And try not to overfill the stockings if you use them to store extra gifts.
8. Put Out Presents on Christmas Morning
Don’t let your fur child spoil the surprise or leave you with a worse one in its place. If you know they like to chew on boxes, wait until Christmas morning to put the presents under the tree. It will keep them safe and make the day even more magical when your kids wake up and see what Santa brought.
Have A Festive and Fur-Friendly Holiday
We all know that our furry friends are a part of the family, and we want to include them in all of the holiday fun. But let's face it, the holidays can be stressful enough without having to worry about our pets wreaking havoc on our carefully planned decorations. With a little bit of planning and some creativity, you can have a beautifully decorated home that your pets will love too.
But the most important thing is to always pay attention to your pet’s behavior. Take note of what they do around the home and plan your decorations accordingly. Every pet is different. You may have a dog that thinks every ornament on the tree is a tennis ball. Or a cat that thinks tinsel is the ultimate toy. The more you can cater to your pets, the merrier the holidays will be for everyone.
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