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How to Pet Proof your home for the Holidays

Updated on December 8, 2011

Tis the season to deck the halls and put up your tree. You dig out all of your ornaments and get ready to hang them. You think to yourself you are glad your own child is old enough to not break the decorations. Then you look over to your box of decorations only to see a little tail sticking up out of the box and wagging!

I have three dogs of my own ( as well as a15 pound cat and a guinea pig) Here are some of my tips on how to keep your holiday decorations intact.

Merry Christmas from Blackie and Bo
Merry Christmas from Blackie and Bo

If you have a real Christmas tree...

If you have a real Christmas tree keep the water covered. Pine sap can cause mouth sores and diarrhea to animals.

Pine needles can also become lodged in the animals throat.

It may be best to opt for the artificial tree!

What to keep in mind when decorating your Christmas tree

First of all you are obviously going to want to keep everything up high. When decorating your tree you want to put your more breakable ornaments up top. You may want to consider not decorating the bottom of your tree either. Depending on how curious your pup is, you may want to not have any breakable items on the tree at all. It is very important to keep the little ornament hooks off the floor. These can be very dangerous if swallowed by your pet. You may want to consider tying strings on your ornaments!

If you have pets, using tinsel is not a good idea. This can be dangerous to animals if swallowed. You should consider ribbon instead.

Make sure you have the tree secure. Tie it up if you have to, just in case an animal tries to jump on it.

How do you keep your pet from peeing on the tree?

I have an artificial tree, but It has been suggested to bring your freshly cut tree in the home for a couple of days before decorating. This will give your pet time to get used to the smell. It has also been suggested to use vinegar or sprayed bitter apple around the tree.

Gates around the tree can also be useful, especially when the presents start arriving! There have been some suggestions for using a white fence to add to the decorating while keeping animals out.

What to do when you leave?

If you leave your pet inside while you are away, it is a good suggestion to crate the animal or put a gate up. When the weather is bad I have my dogs gated up in the kitchen! Take care to unplug any Christmas lights while you are gone.

Supervision is always best

It is always best to supervise your pet when there is something new in the home. You will want to choose the way you introduce your tree. Most often it is good to introduce the tree while your pet is wearing a leash. If you find your pet is very interested in the tree, then distract it with a toy!

A note about presents

When putting presents under the tree please assure that there are not any presents with food! ( unless it is Aunt Mary's fruitcake! just kidding!) Your canine or feline will be sure to sniff it out and make a meal of it! Try to put up anything with chocolate in it. Chocolate has an ingredient in it that could kill your pet if it ingested enough of it.

Other decorations

If you use live holly, mistletoe or bring in a poinsettia plant, be sure to put them up! Ingesting any of these items can cause diarrhea or worse. Poinsettas are not all poisonous. You can read more about that here.

If you have any animated figures for Christmas be sure to put them up. If your dogs are anything like mine they will want to make a chew toy out of the singing Christmas tree or Frosty the Snowman!

And as always if your animal has ingested something questionable please call your veterinarian right away!

Don't let Santa forget your pets!

Whether they have been naughty or nice it is always nice to have a little something under the tree for your pet! My son and I made stockings for every pet right down to the guinea pig! We fill them with a toy and some of there favorite treats!

What should you get for your pet? The thing they want most of all.. Your love!!

Do you have any animal safety tips to share ?

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    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      7 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      An excellent hub and it made me laugh thinking about all the antics that pets get up to with our Christmas decorations. I wonder if some of their excitement is caused because they pick up the buzz from us? It's usually a fun time putting up the decorations and I'm sure our pets pick up on this and think, what the heck, I'll join in as well!!

      But joking aside, I think you've made a lot of very important points about the safety aspects. In the excitement of putting the tree up and Christmas looming, it's so easy to forget that these beautiful decorations can also be dangerous - not to mention some uneatables such as 'Aunt Mary's fruitcake'!

      Great hub + voted up!


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