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Do's and Don'ts of Choosing Pet Safe Decorations

Published on: November 23, 2017  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

Do's and Don'ts of Choosing Pet Safe Decorations http://www.starwoodanimaltransport.com/blog/dos-donts-choosing-pet-safe-decorations

In our last blog, we talked about how to keep your pets calm and safe – distracted, if necessary – while you’re decorating your home for the holidays. But it’s not only the act of decorating that can be a problem for dogs and cats this time of year. The decorations themselves can pose very real dangers, to your pets and to your own safety as well.

So let’s look at some do’s and don’ts that will help ensure your holidays remain merry this year. 

DO consider your pet’s personal proclivities

Some of us are so lucky that our dogs and cats take “no” for an answer the first time. Most of us, though – not so lucky. Our otherwise-beloved canines and felines use all their senses to check out everything. Of course they have to sniff things. But they also chew (or even completely eat) stuff we wouldn’t put in our mouths. How else to know if it’s tasty or not? 

While these purrfectly natural activities are how our pets evaluate the world around them, they have no way of knowing what perils exist. That’s your job as their FurMom or FurDad. 

DO beware of twitching tails

Or wildly wagging ones. Your expressive pet can cause trouble worthy of a comedic movie – or damage that’s far from funny. Knocking over Great-Grandma’s porcelain Santa. Or your crystal champagne glasses. Or burning candles, including those on your menorah. Clearing half the Christmas tree or the decorations on your coffee table in a single swish. 

Happy pets are everyone’s goal, especially at this merriest time of year, so think twice about where you put fragile or potentially hazardous items. 

DO recognize the dangers of your Christmas tree

In many households, the tree is the holiday centerpiece – the Big Daddy of decoration. Beautiful as yours may be, it represents an opportunity for some pets to make all kinds of mistakes, if you aren’t careful.

  • Chewing the needles can be mildly toxic, depending on the type of tree. Flocking and preservatives can also be poisonous to pets, and the chemicals can leach into the tree’s water bucket. So get a “clean” tree, and use a skirt or other covering under the tree to keep pets away from that water. (And out from under the tree.)
  • Chewing the lights can shock your pet or even start a fire.
  • Ingesting tinsel can be deadly, because it can block your pet’s intestines.
  • Some cats think it’s no end of fun to climb the tree. You can guess the rest. 

Experienced pet parents decorate lower branches with unbreakable ornaments. If your precious Furred One is a chewer, seriously consider leaving the lowest branches free of lights as well. 

DON’T bake edible ornaments

Kids love to help with baking during the holidays, but making edible ornaments may not be such a good idea. Pets, especially dogs, are likely to eat them, too, and the sugar and spices can make dogs and cats very sick. If you do make ornamental cookies, hang them on the wall or other places pets can’t reach. 

DON’T tempt pets with “stringy” goodies

Tinsel isn’t the only thing that can cause dire intestinal trouble for pets. Anything that’s string-like

That includes yarn and twine, fabric or paper ribbon. Tiny objects can also cause choking or become lodged in the digestive tract. At “best,” these obstructions require emergency surgery. They can also be fatal. No decoration is pretty enough to outweigh with that. 

DO be wary of traditional holiday plants

Holly berries can cause intestinal problems if your pet eats enough of them. And although experts disagree about the toxicity level of poinsettias, everyone agrees chewing these plants can make your pet sick. You can put decorative plants where they’re harder for pets to access, but bear in mind your kitty’s love of tables, windowsills, the mantel, and higher shelves. 

Obviously, pet-proofing your holiday decorations is mostly a matter of common sense. But now that you know there are not-so-commonly-recognized perils for your Dear One, you’ll be properly prepared. Knowing your pet as well as you do, you’ll be able to discern which potential problems you should avoid, and which ones you won’t have to worry about. And that brings us to one final point. 

DO keep a pet first aid handy

We all know that even the best-behaved pet can get over-excited or overly-interested in one of your holiday decorations, causing them to become injured or sick. Having a pet emergency kit on hand ensures you can respond fastest. With that extra peace of mind, you can relax and actually enjoy all your lovely decorations.

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