In pet world it’s the best time of year! The time of year when the hoomans decide to go out and cut down the biggest smelliest green spiky thing they can find and bring it inside! Not only do they bring in your own personal toilet, but then they fill the bottom of it with delicious water and make it sparkle with all sorts of balls and toys that are just begging to be knocked down and kicked around! Twinkle lights, yummy tinsel and balls everywhere! And let’s not talk about all the boxes they pile under it too...just begging to be ripped open. Yep in pet world it’s the jackpot of fun...the Christmas tree.
There are a number of things to think about when it comes to the Christmas tree - the safety of the tree itself, the ornaments and the lights. The other things to consider is your pet itself and their natural curiosities. Is your pet an outdoor cat that loves to climb? Do you have a pet that likes to eat unusual things or chew on wires? Does your pet drink from anything it can get its mouth into? The answers to these questions will help direct you to what concerns you may anticipate and what risks you should focus on.
A great suggestion is (especially if you are using a real tree) is to bring the tree in a couple of days before you want to decorate it. This will let your pet acclimatize a little bit before you add more “toys” to it. We would certainly suggest a very solid base to help ensure it is stable on the ground, and ideally one where the water can be covered to avoid your pet from drinking from it. Also consider where you are putting the tree. Is it near a chair that your cat can use as a launching pad? Or is it in a high traffic area where an eager tail could knock it over? Another suggestion may be to consider anchoring the tree by using guide wires either from the wall or from the ceiling to help keep it upright.
And now for the decorating... If you have a dog, especially one with an “exuberant” tail then it is a wise idea to focus most of your decorating higher up the tree. Especially anything breakable should be placed higher up away for the “nose and tail” zone. Similarly, if your dog loves stuffy toys don’t expect that he/she will leave soft decorations on the tree! If you have cats then also consider hanging dangling ornaments up out of a curious paws way - or at least use non-breakable ones on the lower rung of the branches if you don’t mind picking then up off the floor. It also makes sense to use ties instead of the silver hooks to help keep your ornaments on the tree. Above all else please do not use tinsel - of any kind - in the home. It is really pretty and easy to use, but it is irresistible to cats and when ingested can lead to life threatening intestinal blockages or perforations.
Thankfully with LED lights there is very little heat to be concerned about these days. But, cords should be well hidden and especially make sure they do not drape around the bottom where your pet may be sitting enjoying the view. If your pet does like to chew things you can use lemon juice, tin foil or bitter apple spray to help deter them even further.
Below are some additional links where you may find other ideas to help you keep your tree upright and your ornaments in all the right places! As always if you have any questions about your pets health then the vets at healthy pets are just a phone call away.