Winter holidays are especially exciting, with all the sparkly lights and streamers, delicate ornaments and brightly colored garland, and don't get us started on the candies and treats! All of these things are great fun, and no less so for our pets. So, before you start taking out the decorations, take a few minutes to consider how their placement will affect your pets.
Just to protect your pet and yourself from excitable accidents, hang your delicate and treasured ornaments on the uppermost branches of the tree, and secure them to the branches tightly. In general, it is easier on the whole household if you select tree ornaments that are not likely to shatter. For delicate, glass or treasured ornaments, you might consider creating an area where they can be displayed that is out of reach for your dog or cat, such as from a garland that is hung across a mantel or window. Tinsel, for all its glittery prettiness, is one of the most dangerous tree decorations you can choose. If your pet ingests even a few strands of tinsel - and pets do this more often than you might guess - she is highly likely to suffer the ill, and even deadly effects of an intestinal obstruction. Same goes for edible ornaments, such as popcorn and cranberry strings and candy canes. Leave these things off your tree or your pet will be climbing the tree to get to them.
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Lights, Plants and More
Christmas lights should be positioned away from the very bottom of the tree unless you are sure that your pet has been successfully trained not to chew on the cords. Electric cord injuries are very damaging to the mouth tissue and can lead to long term problems with eating, amongst other issues. Check the electric light cords frequently for signs of chewing.
Other tree decorations that can be hazardous to pets (and children, for that matter) include angel hair - a spun glass or pvc decoration, garland, lit candles, mistletoe, poinsettia plants, and holly berries. Decorations that are not a part of tree trimming, but that are also worth mentioning are advent calendars, in which candy is placed in the small numbered cubbies; and liquid potpourri, which can be spilled or ingested.
It is safest to stick to artificial plants and plastic or unbreakable ornaments, just to be on the safe side. When you can rest in the knowledge that you have done everything to make sure your pet cannot be harmed, then everyone can share in a happy, healthy holiday season together.
See Also: A Truly Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree