Tis’ the Season to Beware of Dangerous Holiday Decorations for Pets
It’s the time of year again! For many of us, twinkling lights, cheery music, festive treats, and lots of time spent with family and friends defines the holiday season. While our pets may not understand or share our love for the holidays, the new baubles and trinkets that adorn our homes will certainly spark their interest.
Unfortunately, dangerous holiday decorations can pose a serious risk to our furry loved ones. As you haul out your boxes and bins this month, keep the following tips in mind to create a pet-friendly environment the whole family can enjoy.
The Top 10 Most Dangerous Holiday Decorations for Pets
The following dangerous holiday decorations are also among the most common and can be found in many homes this time of year. Take steps to protect your pet and avoid an unwanted trip to the emergency room.
- Tinsel – Tinsel is often irresistible to cats, but it can easily become lodged in the intestine and create a dangerous intestinal blockage. Ideally, tinsel should never be used in a home with cats.
- Lights – Lights should be hung out of your pet’s reach, as they can create a risk for entanglement or electrical shock if chewed on.
- Christmas trees – Cats are notorious for climbing Christmas trees and wreaking havoc, but curious dogs can do plenty of damage, as well. Fallen trees, broken ornaments, and pet injuries can result. Keep your pet away by closing the door or otherwise blocking off whichever room displays your tree.
- Christmas tree water – To your pet, the water bowl at the bottom of a live Christmas tree is just another way to quench their thirst. Unfortunately, preservatives and fire retardants are sprayed on most trees and can leach into the water, making it a toxic cesspool to your pet. Use a tree skirt, aluminum foil, or other barrier to prevent your pet from taking a sip.
- Lit candles – Candles mixed with curious paws or wagging tails are never a good idea. Battery-powered products are a much safer alternative while still providing that warm holiday glow.
- Edible ornaments – Strings of popcorn/cranberries, real candy canes, and your child’s gingerbread ornaments may give your tree a “homey” feel, but keep in mind these foods may be irresistible to your pet. Be sure to place these ornaments where your pet can’t reach.
- Breakable decorations – Glass or fragile plastic ornaments and other decorations can severely injure a pet’s paw pads or the inside of their mouth if broken or chewed on. Keep anything breakable displayed in a safe, secure spot in your home.
- Holiday greenery – If ingested, several traditional holiday plants can lead to everything from mild gastrointestinal distress to pet poisoning. Plants to avoid at all costs include holly, mistletoe, amaryllis, poinsettia, and any type of lily (extremely toxic to cats).
- Ornament hooks – Some pets can’t seem to stay away from ornaments. Unfortunately, the little metal hooks used to hang them can easily become snagged in the mouth, paws, and even the eyes. Good alternatives include twine, string, or fishing wire.
- Wrapping supplies – Ribbon and shards of paper can be tempting for some pets, especially cats. Much like tinsel, these items can become lodged in the intestine or pose other problems if chewed on and eaten. Be sure to clean up as you go about unwrapping all those gifts under the tree.
Play it Safe
When it comes to keeping your pet safe this holiday season, a little common sense can go a long way! When in doubt, keep anything breakable or dangerous out of reach (or don’t use it at all), and be sure to provide plenty of daily exercise and attention to cut down on shenanigans.