Here are some tips to help you pet proof your house for the holidays. Keep in mind there is no guarantee your pets won’t wreak havoc, but these tips give you a reasonable chance for success. Our primary sources are the vets at Hometown Veterinarians and the websites of the American Kennel Club, Dog Training Nation and Vet Street. Ensure your dog or cat is on Santa’s “nice list” and you avoid cleaning up a fallen Christmas tree or worse, a sick pet.
The secret is to elevate and/or secure your tree. One recommendation is to use a Command mini-hook on the wall and secure your tree with twine wrapped around the trunk. When you take the tree down you can remove the mini-hook without leaving any mark or hole in the wall.
You might want to consider a smaller tree placed on a table. Keep in mind the holiday cloth the tree sets on, should not be accessible; one pull by your dog or cat and you are cleaning up quite a mess.
Another solution is a metal gate around the tree. It will keep your dog or cat from marking the tree or reaching the decorations or attacking the presents.
Avoid putting candy canes, popcorn, cranberries and other foodstuff on the tree. Put the presents on a table or as far back as possible under the tree. Wait until Christmas Day to bring out any packages with treats, like pet chews or other positive smelling items.
Other Decorations and Things to Avoid:
- Tinsel: It’s deadly for dogs. Yarn, ribbon and string are not good for a canine’s digestive tract either.
- Holly, poinsettias and mistletoe are toxic for dogs.
- Candles: Keep them high and away from your pets. Be sure they can’t get knocked over by a wagging tail or a purring cat. You don’t want to have to call the local fire department.
- Glass decorations should be replaced with plastic ones.
- Conceal interior and exterior electric cords. Tape them down to keep curious dogs, cats and puppies from learning about electricity.
- Place your light wires deep inside the tree and hide plugs, or place the electrical strip on a side table out of reach.
- Real Christmas trees need to be watered, but this water can irritate a pet’s stomach.
- Don’t let them eat pine needles.
- Don’t let your pets eat chocolate, candy, meat fats or butter.
When Away From Home
- Trees and decorations are huge temptation and you don’t want to return to a mess, so either take your pets with you, place them in their crate or close the door to the living room, if available.