How to Keep Pets Away from Holiday Decor & Other Hazards

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The holidays are a time to gather with your family members, and that includes those with fur and four legs. This is a sweet season to enjoy with everyone you love – including your pets. But it’s also a particularly risky time of year for our animal friends. To ensure that everyone has a holly, jolly, vet-visit free season, it’s important to keep pets away from holiday decor and other seasonal safety risks.

This isn’t rocket science, but it does require a little forethought. Thinking through the potential hazards for your pet now, before the season really picks up, can make it easy to avoid disasters and expensive vet bills (the last thing you need after gift shopping). Here are a few tips and trick to keep pets away from holiday decor and keep your season merry and bright.

Putting your tree in a basket with weights in the bottom can help keep pets away from holiday decor and prevent a spillover this season. Image: 30s Magazine

Support your tree

You’ve probably seen plenty of cute pics of cats and dogs poking out from between the branches of a toppled tree. While that’s good for a giggle online, it’s definitely not a scenario to which you want to come home. Avoid this by giving your tree some extra support. Putting it in a weighted pot or elevating it on a pedestal can help it stay upright. For extra safety, move your most fragile ornaments to the highest branches.

Also, avoid edible tree decorations. While they might look cute, they can attract your pet to the tree. And don’t add anything to your tree water to preserve it because your pets could lap it up. A tree skirt can help deter a particularly curious pet from drinking the tree’s water.

If you’ve got a cat who loves to climb, you can also consider an alternative to the traditional evergreen tree. We’ve rounded up some unconventional Christmas trees for you.

Tuck away their presents

If you wrapped up a bone for Fido or some catnip for Fiona, don’t put it under the tree with the rest of the presents. Your furry friend can smell those tasty treats inside, and the temptation might become too much to bear. And once your pet has unwrapped one present, it’s harder to protect the rest. Instead, keep pets’ gifts in a secure, inaccessible location until it’s time for them to be opened.

Battery-operated lights or ones that come built into the tree minimize cord-related risks. Image: Dirt, Stains and Paint

Tie up cords

Stringing up holiday lights can be a lot of fun. Worrying about the electrical safety of those cords is decidedly less so. However, it’s also key, especially if you’ve got a pet who loves to chew. You’ve got a few options. You can mount the cords higher up the wall and out of your pets’ way. You can cover them with a heavy-duty cover. Or you can swap out your plug-in lights for battery operated ones. It’s easy to tuck the battery packs away from pets by stuffing them into tree branches, stockings or other protected areas.

Mind your holiday plants

A lot of the holiday classics are potentially harmful to pets, including poinsettias, holly and mistletoe. Before you bring something living into your home for the holiday season, do a quick Google search to check if it’s safe for your pets.  You might be surprised by the results – but you’ll be glad you learned the potential risks now, rather than via a trip to the vet. It’s easier to skip these toxic items altogether than to have to worry about ways to keep pets away from holiday decor all season long.

Flameless candles can prevent a Christmastime catastrophe. Image: Falken Reynolds Interiors

Go flameless

Candles are a holiday tradition – and hazard. An open flame is pretty risky if you’ve got pets roaming around, especially when you have guests over, overstimulating your furry friends and distracting you from their activity. Avoid this potential catastrophe by swapping out real candles for battery-operated ones. The newest options look shockingly like real flames and can even be scented. Changing out your candles gives you one less thing to worry about during the hectic holiday season.

Create a drop-off zone

While you’re cognizant of the hazards the holidays pose to your pets, your guests might not be. And during the holiday season, it’s not uncommon to have chocolate in a coat pocket or purse, or tempting tinsel topping a gift. When you’re hosting, designate a room where everyone can put their jackets, bags and gifts. Add a sign to the door (you can decorate it with holiday flair!) that reminds everyone to keep the door shut. That way, you protect your four-legged family members from risks you can’t control.

Move your trash out of the kitchen to an area your pet can’t access if he or she likes to hunt for food scraps. Image: Bell Cabinetry & Design

Secure your trash

With all the holiday baking and cooking you’ve got ahead of you, your trash is probably going to fill up with some pretty tempting scraps. If you have a pet who loves to paw through the trash, this is a time of year worth taking extra precautions to avoid that. Bones are especially interesting to pets, but when chewed, can break up and pose a serious threat during digestion. Move your trash to an inaccessible area, put something heavy on top of it or invest in a trash can with a secure lid to protect your pets.

What do you do to keep pets away from holiday decor and other seasonal risks? We’d love to learn your tips and tricks so we can all protect our furry family members this season!