As we get ready to celebrate the holiday season, if you’re a new dog or pet owner, here are some things to keep in mind when decorating your home and setting up your Christmas tree to ensure a safe and happy Christmas for everyone, including your fur friends.
1. Christmas Tree Placement
Place your Christmas tree out of the way in a corner, away from high traffic areas. Set your tree up for success and your dog, by placing it safely away from a wagging tail or an area where your dog is used to normally playing and rolling around in.
Also, consider putting up the tree and leaving it undecorated for a few days to let your pets get used to it and to minimize potential damage and frustration for everyone.
2. Secure Your Tree
Older pets may be used to the tradition of putting up and decorating the annual Christmas tree, but younger pets may not understand what’s going on and see the tree as a new climbing post installed especially for them or indoor potty. To stabilize your tree and pet proof it, place it in a stable stand with a substantial base and consider attaching it to the wall with fishing line.
3. Live Trees
If you prefer a live tree to an artificial tree, be sure to clean up the pine needles. If ingested by your pets, pine needles can cause an upset stomach and irritate or puncture your pet’s intestines.
Also keep this in mind when taking your dog for walks in the winter months when snow is carpeting the ground. If they enjoying rolling around in the snow and eating it, just keep an eye on them that they aren’t inadvertently ingesting pine needles when playing catch with snow balls.
If you have a pet, for the highest level of pet safety, take Pet MD’s advice and simply don’t use tinsel. “Ingesting tinsel can potentially block their intestines, which is generally only remedied through surgical means.” Pet MD
5. Christmas Tree Lights
Avoid putting Christmas lights on your tree’s lower branches, within reach of dogs or cats. Lights can be a minefield for inquisitive pets. They can get tangled up in the lights if they manage to pull them off the tree or crawl into the tree and potentially get burned by the lights or shocked if they manage to bite the wire.
6. Edible Tree Decorations
Avoid edible tree decorations. If you’ve had your pet for a while, you likely know from experience (and your pet coming to the kitchen without prompting, from the farthest reaches of the house, if you open cheese or the treat jar), that your pet’s sense of smell is incredible. Edible tree ornaments or popcorn strings are just too enticing for your fur friends and you can be almost guaranteed that sometime over the holiday season, when they are bored from being in the house by themselves while you are gone shopping or to holiday parties or when they are upset that they didn’t have enough attention paid to them that day because you were cleaning the house or wrapping presents, they won’t be able to resist temptation any longer and will go for it. Tugging down those edible tree decorations and maybe bringing the tree with it, lights and all and bright shiny star on top. Avoid unneeded stress and simply don't use edible tree decorations.
Your pets don’t understand what ornaments are, that they are put on the tree to be admired and not touched or played with. To them they look like inviting bright shiny toys to play with, bite and chew. Or perhaps they think you are playing a game with them and that the ornament is actually a new dog toy that you have hung on the tree that you want them to fetch that they will get a reward for doing so.
Again, set your pets up for success by keeping ornaments out of reach. Especially breakable sentimental ornaments that you’d be crushed if they broke. Also, keep in mind that many Christmas ornaments are made of glass which could seriously hurt a pet if they were to bite it and break it. According to Pet MD, “In addition to being a choking and intestinal blockage hazard, shards from broken ornaments may injure paws, mouths or other parts of your pet's body.”
8. Potentially Dangerous Seasonal Plants: Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettia
Mistletoe and holly are poisonous to dogs and cats. If you use these to decorate your home for the holidays, be sure to place in areas that your pets can’t reach. Also, if you love having a colourful poinsettia for the holiday season, if ingested, they can cause nausea and vomiting as well.
So if you have a new pet that gets into everything, you may want to avoid holly, mistletoe and poinsettias while you are still training your pets to avoid any holiday mishaps or worry about potential problems.
Be careful about leaving wrapped presents under the tree with enticing ribbon and bows. Pets may see these as new toys for them to investigate, bite, swat and play with.
According to Pet MD, “Wrapping paper, string, ribbon, plastic pieces or cloth could all cause intestinal blockages.”
And keep in mind what is in those wrapped presents. If you have a new pup or kitten that is super inquisitive and who gets into absolutely everything, don’t put presents under the tree that contain chocolate, food, or anything else they can sniff out and get into.
10. Long Tablecloths & Runners
Long tablecloths can add an elegant touch to your dining room table, but they also may look like an enticing plaything for pets to bat their paws at and tug. Help them to avoid this temptation by using shorter tablecloths that don’t hang over the table and instead use other seasonal decorating items such as placemats and charger plates.
11. Exercise Your Dog
When it comes to our pets, especially dogs, make sure not to neglect your dog's exercise routine amidst the chaos of the holiday season. You may have lots to keep you occupied between holiday baking, shopping, cleaning and entertaining, but make sure not to neglect your pet's physical and mental health.
According to The Dog Network.ca, “Remember the golden rule: a well exercised dog is a happy and well behaved dog. Make sure you make time in your day to keep up with your dog’s exercise routine. Your dog will be happier and less likely to get into mischief if you do.” Plus exercise is good for you too over the holiday season and provides a nice quiet retreat for you during the craziness of the holiday festivities.
12. Spend Quality Time With Your Pets
Also, make sure to spend quality time with your pets over the holiday season. With changes in routine, furnishings rearranged, new decorations around the home, new rules about what they can and can't touch and extra visitors over the holidays, pets can get into trouble that they normally wouldn't.
According to The Dog Network.ca, “When everyone is busy and otherwise occupied don’t forget to spend some quality time with your dog – playing a favourite game, going for a walk or just having a snuggle. Your dog needs your attention just as much at Christmas time as he does the rest of the year.
"Find activities for your family that your dog can join in on! Look for some new walks or hikes, consider taking the whole family and your pooch on a dog-friendly snowshoe trail, look for dog related events in your town and have some fun! For example, lots of businesses will offer dog photo’s with Santa or holiday backdrops where you can take pictures with the whole family.”
After you decorate your home for the holiday season, keep an eye on them as they get used to the new décor.
At Earth Smart Solutions we love pets and all of our products are pet friendly and safe for humans as well.
We also offer products to help with your pet needs including Pet Wash to get your dog or cat ready for that Christmas family photo and Pet Odour Eliminator to make your house smell clean and inviting for guests over the holidays.
Please contact us at 1-866-444-7174 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about our products.
The Dog Network, 5 tips to Keep Your Dog Safe and Happy This Christmas Season