Your Christmas tree presents several hazards for cats, curious kittens and playful puppies. Ornaments: use non-breakable-pet proof, home-made ornaments. They are safe for pets and fun for the whole family. Try using cardboard, plastic, dried nontoxic flowers, fabric, wood and pinecones. Put small breakable ornaments up high on your tree.
Hooks can easily penetrate pet’s tongues, feet and tummies. Use red velvet bows instead of hooks to hang ornaments. They are festive, look great on your tree and are safe for your pets and kids.
Use two-tone ribbons instead of garland, tinsel, and angel hair, especially with cats as they love it. Cats enjoy nibbling it and once swallowed; this often blocks the intestines and leads to vomiting and a costly emergency visit with abdominal surgery. Vets call this a “linear foreign body” because that’s how your cat’s intestines appear on x-rays after ingesting garland, tinsel and/or angel hair.
Tape electric cords to the floor, elevate candles and place potpourri oils carefully so pets, especially cats and puppies can’t bump into them or accidentally rub against them.
Anchor your tree so it’s secure with 200-pound invisible fishing line. Run the fishing line from the trunk of your tree to a hook in your wall or ceiling. Then…Net Your Tree. Placing a net around your finished holiday tree helps to avoid all kinds of thorny holiday pet issues particularly with cats.
Pine needles are sharp. They easily penetrate pet’s tongues, paws and intestines. The needles are painful and easily lacerate intestines, leading to emergency vet visits. Be sure to clean up well and discard them.
Dr. Carol’s TIP: Remedy to deter pet needle eaters: Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of red pepper sauce and water (50/50) then spritz your tree. It won’t harm your tree. Pets do not care for the smell need-less-to-say, the taste is even worse.
Christmas tree water usually contains pine needles, as well as fertilizer and preservatives. If your pet drinks it, stomach upsets usually occur. Stagnant water is also a great breeding ground for bacteria, and again if pets drink it, they often become ill with vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Enjoy the holiday season and use these pet friendly decorating tips to help avoid expensive trips to the pet emergency room this year.