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Holiday Pet Safety Checklist 

Pet safety tips during the holidays

The holidays can be one of the most wonderful times of the year - sitting by the fireplace, drinking hot chocolate and admiring all of the well-hung decorations in your home. It’s also a time when you have to worry about your pet’s safety even more than usual. All of these things can lead to dangerous situations for your dog or cat. However, you can prepare your home and your decorations to make your pet’s safety a priority. Read below for some tips to decorate your home with pet safety in mind!

Holiday Pet Plant Safety

Pet safety tips for around your holiday plants

One of the first things people think about when it comes to the holidays are plants - scented pine cones, the fresh scent of pine trees, kissing under the mistletoe and holly accents around the house. However, all of the plants listed above can cause serious issues with pet safety in your home. These festive staples can cause symptoms, such as stomach upset, kidney problems and cardiovascular issues, some of which can be life threatening. While a lot of people aren’t willing to give up their Christmas tree tradition, here are some tips to make sure your pets stay safe.

Christmas tree pet safety checklist:

  • Secure your tree so it doesn’t tip over. An overly excited cat or puppy is all it takes for your well-decorated masterpiece to come tumbling down.
  • Watch out for any spilled water around the tree. Water used for your Christmas tree can make pets sick from the additives and bacteria.
  • Balsam, pine and cedar can all be toxic to your pet. Research tree varieties before shopping to ensure your pet’s safety around this Christmas staple.

Other plants that can put your pet’s safety at risk:

  • Mistletoe, holly and poinsettias, while pretty, will all cause stomach issues or long term problems in your pet.
  • While pine trees can be toxic to your pet, pinecones are not. However, it’s still a good idea to watch where you place them - eating one can cause blockages and vomiting.

Pet Safety Tips for Holiday Decorations

Broken ornaments can risk pet safety

Now that we’ve put our plants out of reach or removed them and picked out and secured the perfect tree, it’s time to think about other decorations. Pet safety doesn’t stop with the type of tree you select - it’s what you put on and around it as well!

Avoid lit candles, if possible

  • Unattended candles can easily be knocked over, putting your pet’s safety and your home at risk. Keep them away from flammable items, on a stable surface, and extinguish them when you’re leaving home for any period of time.
  • If you’re just looking for that holiday scent, try a wax warmer. These don’t run as hot as a regular candle, and there’s no risk of open flames. They come in a variety of designs too, adding an extra little touch to your holiday decor.
  • If it’s the look of the candles you’re going for, there’s plenty of realistic looking sizes and styles with artificial flames. Pair these with a holiday room spray, and you’ll never miss the real thing. Your pet’s safety is worth it!

Make electrical cords inaccessible

  • Light strands, wax warmers and light up or moving decorations - all of these are decor items that aren’t normally plugged into your walls.
  • Do your best to hide and secure loose cords - pet’s love to chew! Besides the tell-tale damage to your decorations, the risk of electric shock puts your pet’s safety at high risk.
  • Make sure to unplug decorations when not in use, such as while sleeping or during the day. This will also help to remove any holiday safety risks. While a pet that loves to chew may still be tempted by the cords, there’s no electricity to add to their safety risk!

Tree decorations

  • Watch out for tinsel - while it may look pretty on the tree, it’s also a major risk for your pet’s holiday safety. It’s easy for them to swallow and can get caught in their digestive tract. For a safer alternative, skip the tinsel altogether and use an alternative. Garland will give you that same silvery finish, while acrylic icicle ornaments can help replicate the look.
  • Broken ornaments and lights can cause damage to paws and even digestive tracts if swallowed. Make sure to get rid of any broken glass that may have fallen on the floor. For extra safety, try using unbreakable ornaments to increase the pet safety factor. There are plenty of options that look just as pretty!
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