Article: Keep Pets Safe From Holiday Decorations
Holiday Decoration Safety Tips (You Might Not Have Thought About)
One thing we know for sure from talking with our many wonderful clients all over the world - pets of all species love and recognize the holiday seasons just like we do. They know the time of year, they recognize the decorations, the festive occasions and especially the happiness within their families. (How could we know all of this? )
Temptations and dangers lurk all over the house this time of year. You can avoid turning a celebration into a disaster with a little careful planning and attention to details about your holiday decorations for your furry and feathered family members.
Holiday Decoration Safety Tips
- Check the light strings from your pet's perspective - get down on the ground and look for hanging light strings pets could get tangled or worse! All pets love Christmas trees, they are playgrounds, playhouses, slumber lands while waiting for Santa, and everyone always notices a pet under a tree. Your pets come to know your happiness when you shout "OHHHH look, Tillie's under the tree playing with train again..get the camera." And what pet doesn't know there's a present under that tree for them? Check for hanging light strings daily since they can easily come loose when pets play and when presents get shuffled around.
- Cover the top of the tree base with tin foil to prevent pet's access to the water. Tree water is gross and dangerous! You can't empty the water and clean the tree basin, so it gets moldy. Even worse,some pine sap and resin can leach into the water. Needles fall into the water too, leaching pine into the mixture as well. Pine, quite simply, is toxic (refer to our pets toxic list).If you are like most people, you probably add a little sugar to preserve your tree, but sugar isn't good for your pet too. If you use a commercial tree saver mix, that's even worse! By covering the tree base, if pets try to get at the water you should be able to hear the foil. Adding a few Christmas bells to the limbs nearby can help as a warning and even distract them too. If your pet cannot be trusted around tin foil, then don't leave them unattended with the tree.
- Anchor the tree to the wall with twine or rope and cup hooks. Cats love trees, and you just brought one into the house. Some dogs even like to jump up on the tree to explore the treats and toys. Active or young cats can be very tempted to climb it. Using wire isn't a great idea since they may fall while climbing the tree and could get hurt scraping against the taught wire. The most stable location for the tree would be in the corner of a room where you have two walls that provide a V-shape string anchor. If you only have one flat wall for your tree, a single line can work too. Place at least one twine line as a anchor in the middle of the tree , wrapped at least twice around the trunk (several times gives it more grip and support), then tie it off onto each cup hook. Check the tension every several days as twine will naturally stretch over time.
- Prevent cats, dogs (even kids) from eating the tree needles from the floor by planting indoor cat grass. Sweep or vacuum reguilarly. Cats and dogs love to eat grass naturally. When you bring new plants into the house they'll explore them. Pine needles resemble grass to many pets and pine needles are toxic.. They'll also eat leaves from holiday plants, Cats in particular love to eat grass and leaves to move fur out of their tummy and to aid in their digestion. Give them a safer alternative - indoor cat grass is as so easy to grow and they will love you. Just wait until you see how nuts they go when you give them a full planter of grass . Their eyes light up, mouths drool, and squeaks and funny sounds come out of their mouth in anticipation.
- Flocking, the imitation spray snow product, can be extremely harmful to all pets, just don't use on the tree and use with extreme caution on windows where pets may like to rub up against it. This is a poison to them!
- Don't put tempting gift items under the tree, especially dangerous human food items. Pets can be curious, explorative, bored, and like us, sometimes they just can't wait until Christmas to open all the presents. Food items wrapped under the tree just ups the ante for them. Check our list of toxic food and substance to pets. Don't even consider putting out any of these items, even in wrapped presents where pets have access, if you have a very curious or aggressively hungry pets. Sometimes their hunger gets the best of them. Human goodies like chocolate smells sweet and wonderful to them, but can be fatal. You'd be surprised by which items can kill a dog or cat Check our list before leaving edibles under the tree or within pet's reach anywhere in the home. Poinsettia's can be bad for pets too, we have a whole list of plants to check.
- See our tip above (cat grass) on what you can do to help pets that eat indoor house plants. Pet presents under the tree can lure them, the smell of doggie bones and cat nip can attract them to the tree, they start digging in to those packages. Ribbons, bows and other dangerous items are suddenly caught in their mouths and tummies. Once they get passed that they might start opening everything else under the tree to see what other goodies Santa has brought them. Leave the food and treats somewhere safe until you're ready to open them.
- Delicate glass ornaments and precious decorations that can shatter easily and get into your pet's paws need to be pet-proofed. On the tree place them high and out of "power-tails" and cat bashing. They can look just like toys to a lot of pets and why make everyone unhappy when you can just prevent the damage in the first place.
- Angel hair, spin glass and PVC-plastic type decorations can be a lethal choking hazard to pets, use extreme caution. Tinsel and Garland used around the house should be well placed and secured out of pets reach. All animals are grass eaters and these type of decorations can be a temptation, even as a test just to see what the heck it is mom and dad have brought in for them this time!
- Make sure your decorations are well made and tacked down very well to the surfaces before birdies and other pets turn them into nums nums. Birds are always attracted to shinny, floating, wavy things. These can be fun playful things for them, but it only takes one second for them to turn a playful item into something that ends up in their mouth. Choking is one of the top hazards for birds.
- Look for other items displayed that aren't part of the tree but are part of your holiday celebration. Comfort food, candy and shiny, sparkling knick knack are new and all over your home for the holidays. These are exciting to birds and other pets. Be careful about the placement of enticing harmful items within a pet's reach and monitor your pet when they are close to these items. Think in terms of toddler proofing; now you are going to pet proof your comfort foods for a safe and happy holiday with the WHOLE FAMILY.
- Indoor only pets can become easily disoriented by any surprises like new sounds, new people or new pets in your home. If you are having gatherings, relatives staying over, or any changes in your home, consider how these changes may affect your pets. Prevent a missing pet event by a little prevention ahead of time. Keep indoor pets in a back room during large parties and inform guests and relatives these pets don't go outside. If a new pet is coming for Christmas, check out our New Family Pet Services to help things go smoother for everyone in the home.
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