Pets are part of the family, there’s no doubt about that. So when it comes to the holiday season, it only makes sense that your furry friends get in on the fun. But in the midst of the festive insanity, it is crucial to learn how to pet proof your Christmas decorations. The sparkly, glittery nature of holiday décor is especially attractive to curious pets. Unfortunately, it isn’t always the safest for them. After all, there is a good chance that an emergency trip to the vet is not on your wish list.
Pet proofing your Christmas decorations also ensures that your money and time does not go to waste. I mean, embellishing your home and getting in the holiday spirit can be a lot of fun. For many families, it is a tradition that brings everyone closer together. Décor that does not take the four-legged family members into consideration may be a recipe for disaster, chaos, and panic.
Although you can only convey so many messages to your pets, their mischievous side can certainly get the best of them. Thankfully, there are ways to work around this. With these 12 tips, you can plan your Christmas décor in away that is pet-friendly and safe. Often, this automatically makes it safer for little kids, too. Score.
1. Clear The Surrounding Space
Although this may be more difficult in smaller homes, clearing the area next to decor is vital. This is especially important for things like trees and wreaths. The surrounding space should be free of "climbable" furniture like tables and sofas. This will limit the chances of furry friends (especially cats) reaching it.
2. Keep It Stable
With some decor, all it takes is a simple flick of a wrist (or paw) for it to come crashing down. This can potentially injure your pet and make quite the mess. Prevent this from happening by making sure decor is secure and stable. For example, invest in a strong and sturdy tree stand. The extra effort and cash will be worth it.
3. Keep It Out Of Reach
Like space and stability, height is another aspect to take into consideration. The higher up a decoration, the less likely your pet can get to it. It also decreases the chances of your pet noticing it to begin with.
4. Don't Decorate With Food
From candy cane ornaments to popcorn garlands, food decorations can attract pets in a heartbeat. Remember, they have a much stronger sense of smell than we do. Unfortunately, edible decor can pose a choking hazard for your pet. In some cases, foods like chocolate are toxic for our furry friends.
5. Use Citronella Or Citrus Spray
Pets are not a fan of citronella and citrus. Consider spraying down your tree (and other decor) with a citronella or citrus spray. You may be able to find other types of deterrent sprays at the pet store, too. These are not detectable by humans, but are especially sensitive to animals.
6. Use Fake Plants
Some of the most popular festive plants are dangerous for pets, according to Catster. These include mistletoe, pine, holly, poinsettia, and amaryllis. Upon consumption, these plants may cause stomach pain, choking, and poisoning. Your best bet is to use fake plants instead. They will last for years to come, too.
7. Skip The Sparkle And Shine
Although the holidays are full of all things shiny and glittery, it's best to stay away from flashy decor. These items are especially attractive to pets; it's a fool-proof way to catch their attention. Instead, go for decorations with matte, non-reflective finishes.
8. Tape Down Wire
If you absolutely must light something up, play it safe by tucking away wires. Try your best to conceal them behind a bigger item like a sofa. Otherwise, tape down any exposed wire with sturdy duct tape. You can even rub a small amount of citronella or citrus spray onto the tape.
9. Don't Use Glass
It's important to think about what can happen if a decoration does fall. Plan for the worst case scenario by choosing non-breakable plastic ornaments. This limits the chances of shattered glass gracing your floor — a danger to both animals and humans alike.
10. Conceal Tree Water
If you decide to go with a real Christmas tree, make sure the water isn't accessible to your four-legged friend. Otherwise, they may be tempted to take a sip. Ditch the plant chemicals, too. Additives that feed the tree will be bad news for your pet's stomach.
11. Hide The Presents
It may be tempting to display gifts as they are received, but it's best to hide them for now. A strange object wrapped in paper is far too enticing for a pet, after all. And aside from a ruined surprise, wrapped objects may pose a danger for your pet.
12. Ditch The Tinsel
In all its shiny glory, tinsel is especially attractive for pets. Unfortunately, this pretty decoration should be avoided in a pet-friendly home. Tinsel can easily come apart, resulting in tiny pieces that can cause choking or intestinal blockage. In fact, any kind of garland should be removed from the tree.