The lights. The tinsel. The decorations. You can’t help but stare at a Christmas tree in awe. Unfortunately, the things we love about our Christmas trees can be dangerous to our pets.
Even while there are dangers that doesn’t mean we have to ban the trees from our homes, we just need to pet-proof the Christmas tree to make it safer for our pets.
Learn about some of the problems your pet can get into and the solutions that will make your Christmas safer.
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Secure the Christmas Tree from Your Pets
Christmas trees are irresistible especially to cats who love being up high. But a Christmas tree isn’t a good replacement for a cat tree. It puts them close to the ornaments and light cords that can be a danger. And it can wreak havoc with our tree if they cause it to fall over.
But short of hanging it upside down from the ceiling how can you keep your pet away from the Christmas tree?
There are a few things you can do to help protect your Christmas tree from your pet.
- Secure your Christmas tree to the wall or ceiling to keep it from going down if your pet invades its space.
- Place your tree away from furniture if you have a pet who might get up on it to get better access to the tree.
- Use a gate like a Christmas tree fence around the tree so your pet has to keep their distance. There are some decorative gates that won’t make it look gaudy especially if you add your own holiday touches to it. And it can help keep your Christmas presents safe too.
- Use a barrier like the Christmas Tree Defender to keep your cat from being able to climb up the tree.
Pet Proof the Christmas Tree Stand
If you have a live Christmas tree you have to keep it watered, otherwise, your tree becomes a fire hazard. That water can be a problem for your pets if they drink it. Sap from the tree will contaminate the water. The standing water will quickly develop bacteria. Chemicals that have been sprayed on the tree while it was growing can leech into the water as the tree stands in it. And any additives you add to help extend the life of your tree could poison your pet.
So what can you do to keep your pet safe?
- Use a tree stand with a small opening. The less access they have, the less temptation to drink.
- Use something that will keep them from getting to the water. Aluminum foil covering the opening is a simple solution, but for a more decorative solution, consider a tree collar that goes around the stand and makes it harder for your pet to reach it.
Pet Proof the Christmas Tree Decorations
One part of the magic of Christmas is that every tree is different. No doubt decorations are what add personality to the tree. And they can bring nostalgia to decorating as we hang ornaments that have been part of our families or have special meaning to us. It’s fun to look at the different ornaments people hang on their trees.
But we aren’t the only ones who find ornaments fun. Our pets think they are fun in a different way. A way that can actually cause them harm.
What dangers do our beloved ornaments have for our pets?
Hanging ornaments look like toys to our pets. Cats will paw at them. Dogs will try to grab them. Birds may try to chew them. Fragile ornaments can break with that activity. Your pet could be injured.
Even the ornament hooks can be an issue. They create a risk for puncture wounds or worse damage if swallowed.
Homemade ornaments like salt-dough ornaments are extremely dangerous if eaten because of the high amount of salt in them.
Ornaments that move may contain batteries that can cause problems if swallowed.
Then there are the Christmas tree lights. Hanging cords might tempt a pet to paw at or pull it or even bite the cord. The old-fashion bubbler lights have an extra danger due to the liquid that is inside if it is swallowed or even touches the skin.
Tinsel and garland present their own issues.
It’s just too tempting, especially for cats. They just can’t resist playing with the fluttering sparkling string-like decoration. The danger is that many pets end up swallowing the tinsel the garland and it could wreak havoc with their intestines and cause a life-threatening emergency.
And of course, any edible garland like popcorn or cranberries is going to be alike a magnet for hungry pets. They could end up knocking the over in their attempts too much on it and then there is the string it’s on. It might give a nice old-fashion feeling to Christmas, but that feeling will go away quickly when you have to go to the emergency vet clinic.
None of this means we have to sit there and stare at an empty tree. You can still have a beautiful Christmas tree by making some changes.
- Hang your fragile ornaments at the top of the tree and leave the bottom for the less dangerous ornaments.
- Use shatterproof ornaments.
- Hang your ornaments with plastic ornament hooks or use ribbon to attach your ornaments to the tree.
- Make sure Christmas light cords are not hanging where they can tempt your pet.
- When deciding on where to set up the Christmas tree, pick a spot close to an outlet so there isn’t excess cord laying around.
- Cover exposed cording from the tree to outlet with a protective covering to try and deter your pet from chewing on the cord.
- Consider using LED lights which have a lower voltage so are less of a danger if chewed.
- Unplug when not being used just in case.
- Instead of tinsel, add sparkle to your tree with silver metal or clear plastic icicles hanging from your tree. Or make your own icicles from beads.
- In place of the sparkling garland, consider using a bead garland or a garland made from wide ribbon.
Keep in mind that none of these solutions are 100% fool-proof. There are always some very tenacious pets who will try so you may need to try some different solutions until you find one that works for your pet.
It may seem like a lot to go through, but it’s worth it to keep your pet safe so you can keep Christmas merry and bright.
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