6 Tips for Pet Proofing Your Holiday Decorations

Holiday & seasonal
pet proofing holiday decorations

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… unless you are decorating your home for the holidays with furbabies who can’t resist the allure of your brightly-colored trees, garlands, and baubles.

From smashed ornaments to toppled Christmas trees, our furry friends can make quite a mess of our holiday decor, and can get themselves into some downright dangerous situations. Nothing says “holiday ruined” like an emergency trip to the vet or a living room that looks like a tornado went through it.

These tips will help keep both your decorations AND your pets safe this holiday season.

1. Choose Safe Ornaments

These days, you can find ornaments made of just about every material, including wood, fabric, and of course plastic. Ornaments that will not break are your best bet when trimming the tree if you share your home with pets.

If it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without some of your favorite heirloom glass or porcelain ornaments, try hanging them at the top of the tree where it will be harder for your pets to get to them.

2. Avoid Using Tinsel

If your pet has never accidentally eaten some tinsel, count yourself lucky. Those shiny strands can cause quite a lot of trouble, from messes to major health problems for your pet, so it’s probably best to not bring any home.

3. Protect Your Tree

If you have a cat who’s a climber or a rambunctious dog whose wagging tail has the potential to knock things over, you may need to think about pet-proofing your Christmas tree.Try securing it to the wall with some rope or twine. Another option is to put a baby gate around your tree so that your pets can’t reach it (this works better for dogs, or cats who aren’t climbers). And finally, you can always go for a small tree and place it on a higher table or shelf. After all, bigger isn’t always better.

4. Spray Your Tree

Cats are naturally averse to scents like citrus and wintergreen. By spraying your Christmas tree and other holiday decor with products that feature these scents, your feline friends might not even want to go near them. Plus, your home will smell nice too.

5. Avoid Poisonous Plants

Many plants are toxic to dogs and cats. People don’t realize that holiday plants like mistletoe and holly can be dangerous to pets if they’re ingested. It’s probably best to avoid them altogether if you have a pet that likes to chew on houseplants, but if you do choose to decorate with them, put them on a high shelf that your pets can’t reach.

6. Don’t Leave Candles Unattended

Whether you are lighting the menorah or just placing festive candles around your home, be sure to blow them out when you leave the room. You don’t want an excited kitty or dog to knock them over and cause a fire.

7. Scale Back

If you have a new puppy or kitten in the house, or an energetic pet who will be too tempted by your decorations, it might be good idea to go easy this year. After all, true holiday spirit is in the heart, right? And these days there are so many creative ways to decorate -- you can even get a removable Christmas tree wall decal that your four-legged pals won’t be able to knock over.

If you deck the halls with these tips in mind, the holidays will be safe and enjoyable for both you and your favorite furry friends.