3 Christmas Tree Safety Tips For Your Pet

Decorating the house is one of the fun parts of the Christmas season, and of course, the centerpiece of your Christmas décor is the Christmas tree. But when you have pets, it's important to consider their safety when you put up your Christmas tree. Pet owners often worry about their pets knocking over the tree and damaging ornaments or the tree itself, but you may not realize the dangers the tree poses to your pet. Take a look at some Christmas tree safety tips for your pet:

Choose A Medium-Sized Tree

Since trees do sometimes end up getting knocked over by exuberant pets, it's important to choose the most stable tree that you can find. If your tree falls, it can not only break your ornaments, but it could also seriously injure your pet. Extra-tall trees tend to be less stable, and can more easily be knocked over.

You may think that the solution is to buy a small tabletop tree, but this is not as helpful as it sounds. A medium or large-sized dog can easily pull a tabletop tree down and use it as a chew toy. Christmas trees contain oils that are mildly toxic to pets and can cause irritation in the mouth. A cat could jump onto the table holding the tree and knock it down while trying to scratch or climb it. Your best bet is to choose a medium-sized tree that stands on the ground.

Set Up A Barrier

It's not just the possibility of your pet knocking over or eating parts of the tree that you need to worry about. If you have a real tree that's not potted, you'll need to put water in the bottom of the tree stand to keep the tree fresh through the Christmas season. Over time, this water can accumulate bacteria that will make your pet sick if they try to drink it.

With all of these hazards, it's best to keep your pet and the tree separated as much as possible. There are several ways to do this. You could set up a baby gate around the tree, or surround the tree with pet training mats. These mats have uncomfortable hard surfaces that pets don't like to walk on. If you don't like the look of gates or mats, consider lining the floor around the tree with aluminum foil. Pets don't like to walk on that surface either, and the silver foil looks festive next to the Christmas tree.

Skip the Tinsel

Even if you can keep your pet away from the tree, tinsel has a tendency to travel all over the house. If you have a pet – especially a cat – you may want to skip the tinsel this year.

The shiny strips of tinsel appeal to cats and some dogs, who might think of it as a toy to play with. But tinsel isn't digestible, and if your pet swallows it, it can cause an obstruction that could be dangerous or even fatal to your pet. Try adorning your tree with strings of sparkling beads or shiny ribbons instead.

Taking the proper precautions can allow you to have a beautiful Christmas tree and keep your pet safe at the same time. Make sure that you have your veterinarian's emergency number handy for the holiday season, just in case. 

For more information, contact a local animal hospital.