How to Pet-Proof Your Home for the Holidays

Curious grey cat peeking over a wooden table at the ornaments that will go on the Christmas tree when decorating.

The holiday season is upon us again! Among all the decorating, gift purchasing and food preparation, remember to keep in mind your pet’s safety. As festive and fun as some of them may be, a lot of holiday decorations can pose a danger to your pets. Follow the tips below to ensure your home is pet-proofed this season.

1. O Christmas tree!

Try to keep the lower branches bare and avoid breakable ornaments to prevent grabbing, pulling and broken glass. For those with real trees, avoid the use of preservatives to keep the water pure for the thirsty and curious pets that may try and drink it.

2. When the weather outside is frightful, keep the fire delightful!

Pets may love sitting by the cozy fireplace, but getting too close and curious can be unsafe. Prevent burns and even dry skin by creating distance between your pet and your hearth.

3. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire!

Nuts can be dangerous for pets, possibly causing an obstruction if ingested. Some nuts such as macadamia, are also toxic.

4. Don't knock the tree while rockin' around it!

Stabilize the tree by placing it in a very heavy clay pot or anchoring it to the nearest wall to prevent it from tipping over when your dog or cat gets too curious or excited.

5. Welcome to Tinsel Town!

Tinsel and ribbon can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed and generally requires surgical removal.

6. Up on the rooftop, who wouldn’t go?

All cats have their favourite spots. Avoid placing decorations in these areas.

7. Deck the halls, but watch the holly!

Although poinsettias should be avoided as they’re an irritant, there are other plants that look lovely but can be dangerous. Lilies are very toxic to cats so keep them away from curious paws. Holly and mistletoe have spiky leaves that can be painful if touched the wrong way. Read through our list of toxic holiday plants to find our which plants to avoid bringing into your home and which ones to store out of reach of pets.

8. Take a detour at candy cane lane!

Popcorn garland and candy canes look great on the tree, but are tempting treats for your dog. Also avoid placing edible presents under the tree. Even if the food isn’t toxic your pet might eat the wrapping to get to the goodies.

9. Watch your yuletide cheer!

The holidays are a time to indulge a little, but make sure Fluffy stays out of the wine cellar. Alcohol gets absorbed in our pet’s bloodstream and even small amounts can make them seriously ill.

10. Pull up your stockings!

Stocking staples such as gum and candies that contain Xylitol and dark chocolate can be unhealthy for your pet. Hang stockings high so they can’t dig into the stocking stuffers.

11. 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves, and … a turkey!

When enjoying your holiday feast, ensure your pet doesn’t get a hold of turkey bones or table scraps that could cause them to choke or get sick. The concentrated fat leftover from the turkey in the roasting can also cause severe gastroenteritis or pancreatitis if ingested.