Holidays are fun times for the entire family, furry members included. However, certain ornaments and holiday arrangements can sometimes put the safety of your pets at risk, and extra measures have to be taken to make sure the holidays stay merry all season long.
And while I’m sure you love your Christmas decorations and might hate to keep some of your most prized items shelved, as a responsible pet owner, you’re probably already well-versed in making tiny sacrifices to make sure your four-legged friend is safe.
If you’re thinking what extra steps to take to ensure the safety of your pets these holidays, read on for 7 of the main ways to pet-proof your home for Christmas.
Christmas tree safety pointers
The Christmas tree is undoubtedly the center of attraction when it comes to seasonal decorations. However, the fragile ornaments on the tree can attract playful pets that may dislodge them, causing objects to fall.
Cats love jumping over dangling toys so it generally isn’t safe to place the Christmas tree in a room they can easily access. They’ll also be drawn by the flickering lights, which can quickly lead to a devastated living room — and a very scared cat, at best. So for all intended purposes, if you do keep a Christmas tree in a room where cats have access, please make sure to supervise them closely while they’re playing around the tree.
Other than that, there are quite a few things you can do to keep your animals safe:
1. Make sure the tree can’t fall over
It doesn’t matter the type of tree you have. Both natural and artificial Christmas trees pose accident risks and a little bit of forewarning can go a long way in keeping both your pets and your tree safe.
A tree falling over is dangerous to anything that stands in its way. So make sure you secure your Christmas tree properly, and use a stand that’s a good fit for the height of the tree and can accommodate the width of its trunk comfortably.
Another good idea is to place the tree in the corner of a room, or at least next to a wall. Otherwise, if you place it at the center of the room, there’s nothing for the tree to lean towards before outright falling — and taking all the lights and ornaments down with it.
Moreover, trees often have plastic and glass ornaments that can easily break. This can cause serious harm to your pets, as your little friends won’t know how to defend themselves from falling trees or sharp and broken decorations.
Whenever possible, avoid glass ornaments, as well as fragile ornaments that can easily break on impact. This is worth keeping in mind even if the tree has been properly secured, as ornaments can easily fall off branches.
2. Choose sturdy Christmas decorations
If you are either a dog or cat owner, at some point, you will have to replace your decorations with much sturdier ones.
This will help prevent the wagging tail of your dog — or other harmless running around — from moving decorations from the tree.
If you have fragile objects, try to place them towards the top and make them unreachable for your pets. Or, you can go for cheaper alternatives with the similar effect; the Dollar Store carries many types of Christmas decorations that are heavier and won’t easily be displaced by your pets.
3. Avoid using glitters
You’re not the only one to find glitters shiny and appealing; your cats or dogs will likely think so too. In fact, your little furry friends might like the shiny ornaments so much that they may even ingest them by accident.
So why not prevent midnight emergency runs to the vet and instead steer away from glitters and any and all overly shiny ornaments — especially f they are ‘bite-sized’ and can fit into your pet’s mouth. If you insist on keeping the glitters, consider hiring pet-sitters from platforms like house sitters Australia to watch over your pets while you are away for the holidays.
4. Keep your pets from drinking tree water
Animals tend to drink any liquid they come across, which could make them sick, especially if the water is contaminated. This is common with common household plants that need watering regularly.
Contaminated water can contain harmful bacteria, fertilizer, or tree sap. Make sure to pay attention to your pets while they’re in the same room as the tree; and if you see them sniffing around under the tree, it’s safer to assume they’re drinking tree water than that they’re snooping around trying to open their Christmas presents.
Unsafe household decorations
Other dangers may lurk around during the holiday season, outside of the ones caused by the Christmas tree and its decorations. Here are some other potential hazards you need to watch out for:
5. Check your wires
If you are using tree lights, make sure the cables are carefully tucked away and out of reach. You should also do the same for any window lights display you have set up.
Cables are particularly dangerous for playful cats, and can pose a fire risk. Make sure they are properly masked and out of reach.
6. Show extra care with candles and other open flames
If you are using a candle or other open flames, never leave the room and leave them unattended, particularly if you have dogs or cats around the house
You need to be extra cautious around open flames, especially since pets are not attuned to the danger they pose. Your dog’s wagging tail may hit a candle and quickly cause the fire, and that’s not even the worse case scenario.
So why not play it safe and avoid any open fires altogether? And if you do light up some candles for a special holiday evening, make sure you keep an eye on your pets at all times.
7. Plants and flowers
Seasonal plants and flowers may cause severe allergies. And while it’s no fun when they do that to humans, it’s even more terrifying when they trigger these intense allergic reactions in our pets.
For the sake of your family and pet’s health, it’s best to avoid such flowers or plants altogether. Some of the most poisonous plants include; Lilies, holly berries, pine tree needles, and so on. Avoid such plants this season as your pets may be adversely affected to the extent of needing veterinary care.
To give your four-legged family members the best holidays yet, put up safety measures for your pets, and enjoy the magic of Christmas without having to worry about their wellbeing.
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