As the holiday season approaches, many pet owners are excited to decorate their homes with twinkling lights, festive garland, and ornate ornaments. However, what looks like a winter wonderland to us can be a potential hazard for our furry friends. Our pets don’t understand the difference between decoration and toys, and their curiosity can often lead them into trouble. Here’s an extensive guide on what is and isn’t safe when it comes to Christmas decorations if you have pets.
Safe Decorations for Pet Owners
1. Artificial Christmas Trees: While real pine trees bring a fresh scent and traditional feel to your holiday decor, they can be harmful to pets if ingested. The oils can irritate their mouth and stomach, causing excessive drooling or vomiting. Pine needles can also lead to gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction, or puncture. Opt for an artificial tree to keep your pets safe. These trees come in all shapes and sizes and are a safer alternative for your furry friends.
2. LED Lights: LED lights are a safer alternative to traditional Christmas lights. They don’t heat up, reducing the risk of burns or fire. Plus, LED lights use less energy, making them a more eco-friendly option. Remember to secure your lights properly and keep the wiring out of reach from your pets.
3. Shatterproof Ornaments: Pets, especially cats, might be tempted to play with shiny ornaments hanging from the tree. Shatterproof ornaments are a great alternative as they won’t break into sharp pieces if knocked off. They come in a variety of colors and designs, allowing you to maintain your holiday aesthetic without risking your pet’s safety.
4. Ribbon and Bows: These decorations are generally safe, but avoid using them in excess as they can become a choking hazard if swallowed. If you have a pet that can’t resist playing with ribbons, consider using fabric bows or decorations instead.
5. Unplugged Electrical Decorations: When you’re not around, unplug your electrical decorations to prevent your pets from chewing on the cords. This includes Christmas lights, animated decorations, and other holiday displays that use electricity.
Decorations to Avoid
1. Tinsel: This sparkly decoration is extremely dangerous for pets, especially cats. If swallowed, tinsel can cause blockages in their intestines which often requires surgery to remove. The shiny allure of tinsel can be irresistible to pets, but it’s best to leave this decoration out of your holiday decor.
2. Glass Ornaments: These can easily break and injure pets. If you do use them, place them higher up on the tree where pets can’t reach them. Alternatively, consider investing in plastic or fabric ornaments that won’t shatter if dropped.
3. Holly and Mistletoe: These holiday plants can cause nausea, vomiting, and other significant problems if ingested by pets. Consider using artificial versions instead. They can provide the same festive touch without the risk to your pets.
4. Candles: Never leave lit candles unattended. Pets might knock them over or burn themselves. If you love the glow of holiday candles, consider switching to battery-operated LED candles. They offer the same warm light without the fire hazard.
5. Edible Ornaments: Candy canes or other edible ornaments can be tempting for pets but can cause digestive issues. Plus, some ingredients in these treats, like chocolate or xylitol, are toxic to pets. It’s best to keep these goodies out of your pet’s reach or avoid them altogether.
In conclusion, the key to a pet-friendly holiday season is being mindful about the decorations you choose and where you place them. Always supervise your pets around the decorations, and make sure to take them to a vet immediately if you suspect they’ve ingested something harmful. With these tips, you can create a festive atmosphere that’s safe for everyone in your household, including your four-legged family members. Remember, the best gift you can give your pet this holiday season is a safe and secure environment. Happy decorating!