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holiday pet proof

December 4, 2011

PetSafe® Expert

PetSafe® Guest

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Holiday Safety for Pets

By Natalie Lester, PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist

It may only be December 4, but many of us put our Christmas tree up a week ago. We know the stockings will soon be hung on the mantle, and our homes will slowly turn into a glittery, holiday tinsel town between now and the 25th. Yet, all of the decorations and Christmas festivities bring a whole new world, which can be quite dangerous, for your pet to explore. We wanted to bring you a few helpful hints for keeping your decorations, tree, parties, and gifts safe for your pets.

Deck the Halls

Ribbons, tinsel, bright lights, and foot after foot of electrical cords can transform your pal into a proverbial kid in a candy store. The first thing you need to do to prevent injury, and an electrical fire, is to secure and conceal all electrical cords. If you need a quick fix until you can go out and buy cord covers, tape down the power lines and spritz a citrusy smelling spray in the area. This should hold your dog off for at least a few hours.

pet-friendly holiday decorationsNext you need to make sure all decorations are out of your pet’s reach. You don’t want your pet scratching up your walls or shelves just because she’s determined to get at your wreath! If seasonal plants are part of your holiday home décor be aware of what you use and where you put it. It may surprise you to know that poinsettias aren’t as bad as many people think. Your pet will have a bad reaction if he eats the entire plant, but a few leaves won’t do much harm.

However, you should be very conscientious of mistletoe, holly, lilies and Christmas roses. Specifically, while mistletoe leads to human holiday romance, it may cause a drop in blood pressure, swollen mouth and throat tissue, and vomiting.   When it comes to lighting the menorah, advent wreath or decorative candles, keep pets in another room where paws and claws can’t reach them. You can also check out our previous post on how to prevent a pet related fire. Several of those principles may help as your decorate your home.

O Christmas Tree

pet proof christmas treeCovered in sparkly ornaments, glistening lights, housed over a sea of flashy wrapping paper and taunting bows, your tree is your pet’s equivalent to field of landmines. One wrong move could cause a disaster. To begin, artificial and real pine needles can get lodged in your pet’s esophagus. Even if they can manage to get them down, they are impossible to digest.

Artificial snow some spray on their trees can be very poisonous. Even the water beneath the tree can cause diarrhea, mouth sores, vomiting and loss of appetite. Make sure your tree is on a flat, wide base. Cover the base of your tree well, forgo the fake snow and vacuum around the tree often. You may also want to secure your tree with fishing wire tied to the top of the tree and anchored to a curtain rod or wall/ceiling hook. Strategically place your ornaments so your pal can’t sit and play with them all day.

Also be sure to secure fragile ornaments to prevent them from falling and shattering. If your Christmas spirit overwhelms your ability to restrict your tree-decorating, you may want to purchase a ScatMat Christmas skirt or a Pawz Away® Indoor Pet Barrier. Finally, keep presents secure in a pet-free area. You don’t want your pet to rip open everything before Santa arrives!

Holly, Jolly Christmas

pet safe holiday foodYour calendar is probably quickly filling up with holiday parties and celebrations. When entertaining guests in your home, it is important to consider your pet in the mix. After all, no one wants to embarrass themselves and their pet with a debut America’s Funniest Home Video from a holiday party. 

If your pet is easily excited or you have guests who may feel anxious around him, you may want to create a safe haven for your pet in another room. You can also use a baby gate to keep him a certain area, so he can still see you or you can visit him easily during the party. It is also important your guests know the rules for your pet. You don’t want your friends feeding him extra food or encouraging bad behavior. Don’t let them give him any poisonous holiday treats, and keep him out of the eggnog.

Alcohol and pets never mix. It can lead to a coma, respiratory problems, and death. Remember, the more people you have in your home, the greater risk for your pet escaping. Make sure he has proper identification and your contact information in case he does make a run for it!


As the PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist, Natalie manages The Paw Print blog and generates other brand related content including public relations and promotions. Before PetSafe, Natalie worked in the local media covering politics, education, and religion. She is a substitute pet owner to a German shorthaired pointer named Bedford in Abingdon, VA, Frenchie the schnoodle in Lenoir City, TN, and all the office dogs at PetSafe's headquarters in Knoxville. As a pet lover, she is currently searching for the perfect puppy (ideally a yorkie) to join her home.

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