It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but
some pet parents may have to agree to disagree. It’s not uncommon for pet
parents to have a tough time decorating their home for the holidays because of
their pet’s knack for getting into things they shouldn’t – Christmas decor
We’ve put together a list of ways you can pet-proof your home so
you can get into the spirit without worrying about your pet this holiday
Be mindful of your
A live Christmas tree is the centerpiece of many families’
holiday decorations. If you opt for a live tree, be sure to go with fir or
spruce, as pine trees are poisonous to cats. Similarly, keep your pets out of
the water it stands in. Pesticides or fertilizers the tree was sprayed with can
leach into it from the trunk and over time bacteria can begin to grow in the
water, both of which can result in an upset stomach if consumed.
Skip the tinsel
Tinsel is a classic decoration, adding a beautiful sparkle to
any tree on which it’s adorned. However, this sparkle may attract the attention
of your pets and if swallowed, it can lead to serious digestive problems. In
some cases, surgery may even be required if your pet isn’t able to pass the
ingested tinsel naturally.
Use lights strategically
Lights are another decoration you should be mindful of when you have pets. When decorating your tree, make sure that lights don’t hang below the bottom of the tree to minimize the temptation to chew on them. It’s also a good idea to reinforce the wire that runs from the tree to the plug with a chew-safe cord protector, like Chewsafe. If you choose to use lights in other areas of the house, follow a similar protocol and keep them out of reach of any curious mouths or paws.
Keep holiday plants out
Plants account for a huge share of our Christmas decorations, but not all pet parents realize the risk that some of them can pose. Some of the ones to watch for include:
- Poinsettia: The sap from the
leaves can irritate your pet’s mouth and esophagus and cause an upset stomach.
- Holly and mistletoe: Both of these
plants can be lethal to pets, due to the toxins in their glossy leaves and
decorative berries. If consumed, they can cause an upset stomach, sudden drop
in blood pressure, and breathing problems.
- Pine trees: Pine trees, in
particular, are poisonous to cats. If the needles are consumed, it can result
in fatal liver damage. Fortunately, fir and spruce trees make great
- Amaryllis: This holiday favorite contains a chemical called lycorine, which can cause increased salivation, gastrointestinal issues, lethargy, and tremors if consumed.
If you have these plants as part of your Christmas decorations,
make sure that they’re in a place that your pet can’t reach.
Use baby gates
If you’re worried about your pet getting into your Christmas
decorations while you’re not around, use a baby gate to limit areas of the
house they can access. With a baby gate, you can keep specific areas of the
house pet-proof during the holidays and focus on decorating spaces your pet
can’t access. While these pet-proof rooms may not be as festive as the rest,
you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your pet is safe and sound while in
Keep an eye on their
behavior around guests
When you have visitors over this holiday season, keep an eye on
your pet’s behavior. Having extra people in the house, even if it’s only a few,
can cause your pets to act in abnormal ways. Some get extra excited while
others look for a way to hide from the noise – both of which put them at risk
for escaping from the house. Knowing this, it’s a good idea to give them a
space where they can take a break from the action. A separate room or even
their crate makes a great space for them to decompress with a comfortable bed,
water, and some toys for entertainment. It’s also a good idea to make sure that
their microchip information is up-to-date, as a microchip is their best chance
of finding their way home in the event they do escape.
We hope that our pet-proofing tips give you some inspiration for
changes you can make around your home ahead of the holidays to make sure that
it truly is the most wonderful time of the year for both you and your pet.