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Deck The Halls

How To: Safely Decorate For The Holidays

If you have a pet, you know how tricky it can be to decorate for ANY holiday. During this time of year, we all love to get in the holiday spirit by decking the halls. Here's how to decorate while keeping your pet's safety in mind.

Holiday Decorating 101

O Christmas Tree

  • If you are team real tree, make sure that your tannenbaum is securely fastened in your tree stand. Pets can easily get curious and knock over the tree if you aren't prepared and careful. 
  •  Make sure your tree is watered daily! This video shows how quickly a dry tree can ignite within seconds. #SafetyFirst
  • Set up your Christmas Tree far away from your fireplace if you have one.

Glass/Fragile Ornaments

If you have a lot of heirloom ornaments passed down over the years, be sure to keep them towards the top of your tree away from curious dogs, cats, and kiddos. Thicker, stronger branches are towards the top of your tree, so put the heaviest ones up there, too. 

Holiday Lights

If you plan on having holiday lights on your tree, on your house, or inside your home, be sure you get ones that are out of reach of your pet & young children. Older string lights can get hotter quicker, and as such can cause fires. Be smart and safe if you're putting lights up!


Toxic Holiday Plants

During the holidays, poinsettias are a popular Christmas plant. Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) plants are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs. While poinsettias are commonly “hyped” as poisonous plants, they rarely are, and the poisoning is greatly exaggerated. When ingested, mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea may be seen. Rarely, eye exposure can result in mild irritation. Signs are generally self-limiting and typically don’t require medical treatment unless severe and persistent. 

Certain types of yuletide plants (e.g., mistletoe, rosemary, holly berries, etc.) can be toxic to pets. Varieties of English, Japanese, and Chinese Holly contain toxic saponins. When Christmas or English holly is ingested, it can result in severe gastrointestinal upset (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea) thanks to the spiny leaves and the potentially toxic substances. If ingested, most pets lip smack, drool, and head shake excessively due to the mechanical injury from the spiny leaves. (Info Courtesy of Pet Poison Hotline)

To be on the safe side, keep your yuletide plants out of reach of your dogs and cats during the holidays. You can always opt for the artificial kind that look identical to the real thing! Plus, you can reuse them every year. 

Christmas Candles

Santa's Cookies, Chestnut Fire, Holly Jolly Snickerdoodle. These smells are great for the season but candles can be very dangerous if left unattended! Make sure you are home when candles are lit, and always blow them out before leaving the house or going to bed. Keep festive holiday candles away from your pets where they can't reach them or accidentally knock them over.