Christmas lights, tinsel, glass decorations and the Christmas tree itself; these are all sights and sounds of the holidays and they can be dangerous for our dogs and cats. Dogs and cats are curious; when we set up the tree, decorate it and turn on the lights that’s something they will want to explore.
Dog and cat may have been on Santa’s nice list all year long, but they may get on the naughty list once you set up that bright, shiny tree.
What are some of the seasonal hazards we need to protect our pets from?
Here are a few:
- A curious cat may want to play with the flickering flames and that can lead to burns. A cat may also knock the burning candle off of the table and start a fire. If you’re going to burn candles never leave them unattended and if possible, use LED or battery-operated candles.
- The Christmas tree water. If you have a live pine tree you will need to keep the tree base filled with water. Some people add chemicals to the water to help preserve the tree and prevent it from dropping needles too soon. If you’re adding any kind of chemical to the water, you need to keep your dog from drinking the water in the tree base. You may need to place a screen or barrier around the tree base keep the dog from drinking the water. Even if you don’t use chemicals drinking the water that could potentially be filled with pine sap can give your dog a belly ache.
- The tree itself. Whether you have cats or dogs in the house it’s best anchor your Christmas tree. Cats may climb the it and knock it over and injure themselves. Dogs may lift their leg on the tree because it smells like the out-of-doors and they may tug the branches and cause the tree to tip over; this is especially true if your dog loves playing with sticks! Many pet parents find having an artificial tree is safer if they have pets. Regardless of whether you have an artificial or a real tree, avoid decorating the bottom branches to protect your pets from knocking off ornaments, chewing on them and injuring themselves.
- Poinsettias, mistletoe and other holiday plants. Many of the beautiful plants of the season can be poisonous to pets. Because your pets may not be exposed to these plants year-round they may be curious and want to play with them or chew on them and that can make them ill. Keep plants away from pets or opt for artificial plants instead.
- Decorations. If you have pets in the house, avoid glass ornaments. Dogs and cats are both attracted to tinsel on trees and may swallow it, causing stomach obstructions. Avoid decorating your tree with edible decorations like popcorn or cranberry strands because your dogs will jump up to grab the tasty treats.
- Holiday sounds. You may love the sound of a laughing in Ho-Ho-hoing Santa or Christmas tree lights that play music, but these sounds may be too much for your pets and may make them anxious.
- Gift wrapping. Keep your dogs and cats away from holiday gift wrap ribbons, tape and scissors. Chances are your cats will want to roll around on the paper and will be playing with and chewing on the ribbon. This is dangerous. If your cat swallows it it can cause intestinal issues. Scissors are safety hazard for both cats and dogs So make sure you keep them out of reach of your beloved pets.
The holidays are fun an exciting for everyone including our pets. It’s up to us, as pet parents, to do all we can to make sure our pets don’t suffer any illnesses or injuries because of these seasonal holiday hazards.
Protect your dog and cat year-round by having a pet health insurance policy to cover pet health expenses that may occur during the holidays or any other time of the year. Get a quote here!
The second part of our holiday safety series will cover keeping your pets safe from holiday foods and keeping them comfortable during a potentially stressful holiday season.
Robbi Hess is a full-time pet blogger and multi-published author. She shares her life with a diva Poodle, a goofy Goldendoodle, two Devon Rex, a senior ginger kitty and three reptiles!