Christmas trees are a part of many families’ homes during the holidays, but they can also be a hazard when pets are involved. Dogs and cats alike love to explore this large, twinkling object that looks perfect for climbing, includes dangling toys, and may even have water or food with it too. Take steps to keep your tree from toppling this year and becoming a source of frustration.
Tie it Up
Use fishing line or thin nylon rope and secure your tree to the ceiling or wall. Use a large base and anchor the tree around the middle for more stability. If your pet gets a case of the zoomies or decides to climb, it will be harder for them to knock it over. Letting your pet sniff and explore the tree for a few days before it’s decorated can also reduce their interest.
Be Strategic with Positioning
If possible, place your tree in a location far enough away from furniture or mantels so your cat doesn’t leap off and try to land in the branches. Give yourself enough room to create a barricade if necessary as well. This could be a decorative gate with vertical slats, or maybe a small wall of wrapped boxes.
Protect the Water
While an artificial tree is ideal if you have pets because it doesn’t require watering, sheds fewer pine needles, and comes with a stable base, a lot of families do like the look, smell, and tradition of putting up a live tree. If this is the case, opt for a tree stand with a small opening at the top that makes it harder for your pet to access the water. You could also cover the top with tin foil or put a barricade around the base of the tree. The water can be dangerous for pets to drink, but it is necessary to keep your tree alive, reduce fire risk, and minimize pine needle shedding.
Skip Food-Related Ornaments
It is a good idea to leave off the strands of popcorn or cranberries, real candy canes, salt dough ornaments, or cinnamon applesauce ornaments. These can be major temptations for your pet and be dangerous for their health if eaten. Skip the tinsel too. One way to help repel cats is to spray a bitter apple or citrus spray around the bottom of your tree as a deterrent.
Use loops of string to hang ornaments rather than metal hooks. They will stay on better and pose less of a threat. Pick larger ornaments that are harder to swallow, and shatterproof ones as well in case any are knocked off. Put delicate or breakable decorations closer to the top where they are harder for your pet to access and less of a distraction. Make sure to use cord protectors over any cables or wires to prevent your pet from chewing on them.
Stay nearby and use positive reinforcement to steer your pet away from the tree. Praise them with a small treat for laying down in a more desirable location. Give them some toys of their own in the same room as a distraction. If you are heading out, don’t forget to unplug the tree and reinforce any barriers around it.
While these tips won’t guarantee your pet leaves the tree alone, they can help minimize risk and temptation. If you know your pet will become overly excited or mischievous during the holidays, or you don’t want to worry about them getting into trouble or slipping out an open door, consider boarding them at Lake Wylie Pet Resort. Dogs and cats have a warm, quiet space to relax, and they can come back home when the flurry of activity is over. Contact us today to schedule your pet’s stay!