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Pet-proof decorating

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  • 3 min read

Pet-Proofing Christmas

Many people would agree one of the best parts of Christmas is decorating. Not only is it a great family activity, an expression of family tradition (and great encouragement to tidy up, for the aesthetics.) but it also inspires Christmas joy for yourself and everyone who sees it. Christmas trees, delicate ornaments, stringed lights, tinsel and wrapped presents are all an important part of the Christmas season. However, as anyone with a cat would know, aesthetic sometimes falls to safety. From twinkling lights to shiny baubles, the allure of holiday decorations can pose certain risks to our furry friend. Below are some essential tips and strategies for pet-proofing your Christmas decor, to create a safe and harmonious environment for both your family and your four-legged friends. 

Understanding Pet Behaviour 
Before delving into specific pet-proofing measures, it's crucial to understand how pets may interact with Christmas decorations. Both cats and dogs are naturally curious and, intrigued by shining lights, colourful reflection from tinsel, smells and textures. Their interest will undoubtedly be piqued, and they may venture forth to investigate. From chewing on electrical cords to swatting at delicate ornaments, pets may inadvertently cause damage to decorations or, more importantly, put themselves at risk of injury. Along with the following tips, it could be helpful to expose your pet slowly to decorations, show them and let them play supervised with safe decorations like tinsel and unplugged lights so they become used to them. Other steps to protect your pet and Christmas decorations include:

Keep Decorations Out of Reach
The most obvious way to manage this dilemma is by keeping decorations out of reach of your pet. Things like lights and tinsel should be strung high up out of jumping height of your dog and cat. This might be hard with an agile cat, so make sure to follow all of our other tips, too. It is very important to hang delicate or potentially hazardous ornaments on trees out of your pet's reach. Be mindful of tinsel, ribbons, and small decorations that can be enticing to pets but pose choking hazards or intestinal blockages if ingested.

Secure Your Tree
If you have a Christmas tree, ensure that it is securely anchored to prevent it from toppling over if your pet decides to investigate or play around it. Consider using a stable tree stand and positioning the tree away from areas where your pets spend a lot of time.

Choose Pet-Friendly Materials
Opt for pet-friendly decorations, such as unbreakable ornaments and avoiding dangerous materials like glass, fabric-based decor, and non-toxic foliage. Avoid using decorations that are fragile, sharp, or easily ingestible, as these can pose hazards to curious pets.

Safeguard Electrics
Conceal or secure electrical cords to prevent pets from chewing on them. Consider using pet-proof cord protectors or deterrent sprays to discourage pets from accessing electrical decorations. Using tape to stick down a length of electrical cord can also prevent your pet from getting access to it, and simultaneously reduce tripping hazards for your human loved ones, too!

Avoid Toxic Plants
It can be lovely to have live, seasonal plants at home. A real life Christmas tree, holly leaves and green-and-red plants can not only inspire Christmas joy but freshen the air and lighten the room. However, with a pet you have to be careful about the foliage you introduce into your home. Certain seasonal plants, such as poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly, can be toxic to pets if ingested. Opt for pet-safe alternatives or place these plants well out of reach of your animals.

Supervised Candle Use
Scented candles and seasonal candelabras are beautiful decorations, but potentially hazardous for all. All lit candles should be supervised, but with tall or curious pets, there's an extra risk of accidents. Don't leave a room with a lit candle. 

Create Pet-Friendly Zones
If your pet loves that one specific armchair, consider their needs and place delicate decorations elsewhere. Designating specific areas in your home to your furry friend and reducing potentially hazardous decorations. This can include using pet gates or barriers to limit their access to certain areas. 

Don't miss out on Christmas or potentially ruin the joy by implementing these pet-proofing strategies. Following these strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and create a pet-friendly holiday environment that is enjoyable for both you and your furry companions. Enjoy Christmas with the wholefamily!

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