Preparing for the holidays can be a lot of fun. Whether it’s decorating a Christmas tree or adorning the house with holly, getting ready to celebrate the winter holidays can really get you into the spirit.
If you’re a pet owner, there’s something else you need think about as you prepare: your pet’s safety. Both cats and dogs can get into trouble around the holidays if you’re not careful. Let’s take a look at how.
- Christmas trees.
Whether you’re adorning the tree or hanging lights around the house, it’s important to keep your pet in mind. Certain types of decorations can be harmful to your pet. Tinsel, for instance, can be appealing to cats because of its string-like qualities. If you cat swallowed tinsel, it can become trapped in his digestive system and wreak havoc. Skipping tinsel on the tree is the best choice for cat owners.
Cats also like to bat at low-hanging Christmas ornaments, which can break and shatter if they are made of glass. Hang breakable ornaments high on the tree where your cat can’t reach them (and where your dog’s tail won’t take aim) or use wire to secure them to the tree so they won’t fall if disturbed.
And on the topic of the Christmas tree, cats have been known to try to crawl up the trunk of real Christmas trees, sending the end tree toppling to the ground. To protect both your tree and your cat, stabilize the tree by attaching it to the wall with wire.
Indoor holiday lights can also be a problem for pets. Both cats and dogs who like to chew may be drawn to strings of lights. The wire between the bulbs can prove irresistible to chewers, and the results can be devastating if the lights are plugged in. Your pet can be electrocuted or a fire could start. It’s important to hang lights were pets can’t reach them. If you need to plug a string of lights into an electric socket near the floor, consider encasing the wire in plastic tubing (the kind used for aquarium filters) so your pet can’t chew through it.
Even giftwrapping can be dangerous to pets, particularly cats. Strands of narrow ribbon can be end up in your pet’s digestive system. Be careful to clean up ribbon after you have finished wrapping gifts, and keep wrapped packages out of the reach of pets.
- Live plants.
While holly and mistletoe are attractive holiday favorites, they are also poisonous to pets. Poinsettia, another holiday favorite, while not poisonous, can upset your pet’s stomach if ingested. Faux holly, mistletoe and poinsettia are the best bet for keeping your pet safe.
Live holiday trees can also cause problems for mouthy pets. If your cat or dog chews on the needles, he’s likely to get a stomachache, followed by vomiting. Go with an artificial tree, place your tree within a gated area or even use a decorative fence around the tree. Another method for keeping dogs away from chewing your holiday tree is to introduce a fun new bone or toy to attract your dog’s attention from the tree and to the item. Ultimately, boundary training your pets to stay away from the tree will be most beneficial.
With just a little effort, you can make the holidays enjoyable for you and safe for your pet.