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Christmas Tree: Setting Up Safely for Your Pets

The Christmas tree is the centerpiece of home holiday décor. It’s a universally known symbol indicating that the time has come to spread joy and cheer. A holiday home just doesn’t feel complete without that familiar tree.

Of course, if you’re a pet parent, you know all too well that Christmas trees and animals often don’t mix. Cats and dogs love playing around with the tree and that often leads to it falling down and causing a mess.

So, how do you go about setting up a Christmas tree that’s pet-proof? That’s the topic we’ll be discussing in this article. Check out the tips below so you can have an easier time getting your Christmas décor set up.

1. Choose a Pet-Friendly Natural Tree

Do you want to set up a natural Christmas tree? You can do so, but choose wisely.

The Spruce notes that fir, pine, and spruce trees excrete oils that can be harmful to your cat and/or dog. Avoid using those trees if possible.

Also remember to place a skirt over the tree to prevent any oils and needles from falling on the floor. Your pet may consume those oils and needles not knowing that they can be toxic. Prevent that from happening by using a tree skirt.

2. Opt for an Artificial Tree

Artificial trees are generally safer for cats and dogs because they don’t excrete any toxic substances. However, their artificial leaves can still clog an animal’s airway if consumed. Watch out for any leaves on the floor and clean up any that you find immediately.

3. Select a Smaller Tree

Tall trees are very easy to knock down. When they do fall, they could fall on your pet and cause an injury.

To get around that potential hazard, pick out a small tree instead. Small trees feature greater stability and you can still decorate them however you want to. They fit very well inside homes that feature cats and dogs.

4. Make Sure the Tree Has a Solid Base

Christmas trees with solid bases are preferred inside homes with pets. That strong base can stop a tree from tipping over. It can support additional weight if your pet randomly decides to go for a climb.

5. Pick Out a Safe Spot for the Tree

What we mean by “safe” here is a spot that your pets don’t frequent. By placing the Christmas tree somewhere in your home that your pet doesn’t visit often, he/she may be less inclined to mess with it.

6. Give Your Pet Time to Get Used to the Tree

Anything new inside your home is likely going to capture the attention of your cat or dog. That’s why you should set up your Christmas tree well in advance of decorating it.

Setting the Christmas tree up early gives your pet a chance to get used to its presence. By the time you start decorating it, your pet may not care as much, which is a good thing in this case.

7. Use Foil to Cover the Base of the Tree

One more trick you can employ to keep your pet away from the tree is to wrap its base up in aluminum foil. Why aluminum foil, you ask?

According to Cuteness, dogs don’t like aluminum foil because of its texture, the sound it makes, and its reflective surface. The Nest notes that cats dislike aluminum foil for basically the same reasons. Use your pet’s dislike of aluminum foil to your advantage when setting up your Christmas tree.

8. Focus on Decorating the Upper Half of the Tree

Don’t hang too many ornaments down where your pets can easily get to them. Instead, keep the ornaments mostly gathered around the upper half of the tree so they are far away from your pets. According to Preventive Vet, simple steps to keep your cat safe include “picking up fallen ornaments and cleaning up broken pieces”.

9. Avoid the Ornaments That Use Hooks

Speaking of ornaments, you’ll want to avoid the ones that cling to a Christmas tree with the help of a hook. That hook can injure your pet if he/she accidentally swipes at it. Ornaments that are tied to the branches of a tree are safer anyway because they are more secure.

10. Don’t Go Overboard with the Lights

Adorning a Christmas tree with lights is a must for many folk but putting on lower branches may cause your pet to become tangled in them.  PetMD warns that “your dog or cat may inadvertently get shocked by biting through the wire”. Additionally, unplug the lights whenever you’re heading out or going to bed to keep your pets and your home safe.

11. Ditch the Fake Snow

Using fake snow is not a good idea if you have pets at home. Aside from being potentially hazardous to your pet’s health, fake snow can also be hard to spot when it’s on the floor. Your pet may be eating up the fake snow without you knowing that it was even on the floor. According to David Elbeze, DVM, MRCVS on Pet Coach, “most flocking materials are non toxic to cats, but their ingestion could cause irritation of the stomach or even intestinal blockage sometimes which will manifest itself as vomiting and lack of appetite.”

12. Pass on the Tinsel

Last up, you should consider not using tinsel to decorate your Christmas tree. The shiny appearance of the tinsel may be hard to ignore for your pets, causing them to leap for it. When pet tries to swallow it, they may choke and/or cough. If pet is able to swallow it, hopefully it will pass right through. On the other hand, it might get stuck “under the tongue, balled up within the stomach, or strung out in the intestinal tract” per PetMD. Don’t give them any additional reason to be drawn to the tree by keeping the tinsel in storage.

Having pets at home doesn’t mean that you have to rule out setting up a Christmas tree. Try out the tips highlighted in this article and see how effective they are on your pets!

Do you want to avoid leaving your pet alone with your unfinished Christmas tree? If that’s the case, then feel free to contact us at TAILored Pet Services for assistance. Call 425-923-7791 or browse our website to learn more about the services we provide.

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