Bringing a tree indoors and decorating it with glittering decorations
is a custom many Pet Parents take for granted during the holidays, but
to most pets the yuletide tree is an enticing curiosity. What dog would
not be attracted to the smell of a freshly cut tree in his living room?
What bird would not try to alight in its lush branches? What cat would
not be tempted to bat at a twinkling bulb?
Unfortunately, the Christmas tree holds many potential hazards for animals.
But by keeping your pet's safety foremost in mind as you decorate and celebrate,
you can avoid accidents and ensure that everyone in your Pet Family has
a safe and happy holiday.
|Play it safe!
Be ever so careful with evergreen
If swallowed, needles--whether real or artificial--cannot be digested
and may perforate the intestines. Be especially careful about dried needles,
which can also puncture eyes and delicate skin. Pine needles and the sap
of certain evergreens may be mildly toxic, while preservatives added to
the water in the tree stand may be highly poisonous. An unstable tree also
is a threat, especially in the presence of a rambunctious pet who could
knock it down and suffer cuts from broken decorations.
Tree safety tips:
Glass and other ornaments
Check the floor around the tree regularly and pick up any fallen needles.
Anchor your tree to the floor with sturdy weights, or secure the top of
it to a wall or a curtain rod using strong cord, rope, or fishing line.
Cover the tree stand and avoid using chemical preservatives or aspirin
in the water.
If your pet won't leave the tree alone, try putting a "scat mat" in front
of it; or try placing a barrier--such as a baby gate--around the tree;
if all else fails, set up the tree in another room and place a gate across
the threshold, keeping the door shut when you can't be there to supervise.
Although lovely to gaze upon, glass ornaments easily shatter if they
fall to the floor, where they can cut toes and paws. Some animals also
might be tempted to chew or swallow the glass, which could lead to oral
or internal bleeding. If ingested, metal ornament hooks also can create
a serious medical emergency. Edible ornaments, though seemingly harmless,
may tempt a hungry pet to knock the tree over in an attempt to get at the
Ornament safety tips:
Tinsel and other tree decorations
Fasten all decorations securely to branches.
Consider replacing glass ornaments with unbreakable baubles your pets won't
Hang ornaments only on the top three-quarters of your tree, or at a height
where your pets can't reach them.
Instead of metal hooks, use loops of thread or simple ribbon to hang ornaments.
Refrain from using edible ornaments.
Use caution when placing tinsel and other metallic decorations on your
tree; if swallowed, these could wrap around the intestines or ball up in
the stomach. Tinsel's sharp edges can also lacerate the intestines. Other
items to hang with care include strings of popcorn or cranberries, and
any objects made of angel hair (made from spun glass, it may cause internal
cuts and intestinal blockage). Use artificial snow or flocking sprays with
discretion; some brands are poisonous.
Decorations safety tips:
Tree lights and electrical cords
If possible, avoid using tinsel or any garlands containing metal.
Place any edible strings of food and items of angel hair near the top of
Avoid spraying any "snow" on the tree unless the label states it's safe
Wagging tails and batting paws can knock down strings of lights, which
could then entangle and burn a pet. Some "bubble" lights contain toxic
solutions that may cause burns if the bulb is broken. Electrical extension
cords can burn or electrocute an animal who chews on them.
Lights and cords safety tips:
By trimming your tree with care, you and your pet can have a happy, hazard-free
Unplug holiday lights when you're unable to keep an eye on the tree.
String lights through the interior of the tree and run connecting cords
underneath the tree
Refrain from stringing lights on the lower branches, especially bubble
If your pet is intent on chewing electrical cords, run the cords through
PVC piping or cover them with rugs.