With 4 adventurous cats and 1 clumsy dog, there’s always a mess somewhere in our house. Add holiday decorations, lots of food, and out of town guests, and we have the potential for some big problems! That’s why I’ve asked created this list of holiday pet proofing advice to help you and your family, furry or otherwise, survive and actually enjoy the holiday season.
Real Tree or Fake Tree?
- Get a sturdy base for the tree to prevent it from being knocked over.
- Pets can have allergies too, so keep an eye out for any extra scratching or itching. Pine and cedar trees can be the worst culprits; go for fir, spruce, or cypress instead.
- Vacuum often to pick up the needles. Pets can choke on these.
- Cover the base with a skirt so pets can’t drink the tree water.
- Get a sturdy base for the tree to prevent it from being knocked over. Plastic tree can be lighter than real trees, so this is especially important.
- Some cats like to chew on or eat plastic trees. If you notice your cat doing this, you can use a bitter no-chew spray on the tree.
Trimming the Tree
- Put small ornaments higher so they don't pose a choking hazard if they fall.
- Keep breakable or valuable ornaments higher up the tree so they can’t be knocked down.
- Don't use tinsel or string on your tree. If eaten, they can get tangled in your pet’s stomach.
- Plastic or paper ornaments are great alternatives to glass or ceramic ornaments. Host an origami-making party with your family and create a custom set of paper ornaments!
- Instead of metal ornament hooks, use plastic hooks. They’re safer and also easier to attach to ornaments.
- Watch the cords. Duct tape them to the floor or buy a cord cover.
Food & Presents
- Keep food in containers with lids or cover with plastic wrap. Put a fork on top of the plastic wrap to discourage cats from lying on your food.
- For serious counter-surfers, try a Pawz Away mat.
- Print the ASPCA’s list of dangerous foods for pets and keep it handy.
- When it's present-opening time, keep a few big garbage bag handy. Toss string into the garbage immediately. Bags and boxes should be given immediately to the cats to play in, of course.
The More the Merrier
- Set the house rules for your pets. For example, I tell my guests to make my dog sit before giving him treats.
- Warn guests of your pet’s quirky habits too, such as which pets like to be picked up and which ones will scratch your eyes out if you try.
- Give your pets somewhere to escape to when the activity and noise gets to be too much. You can use a crate, kennel, or just a closed-off room with a pet door.
Holiday Fun for your Pets