Keep all things glittery (tinsel, icicles, twinkling lights, shiny ribbon, and glitter) up high. For curious kittens, try to eliminate temptation as much as possible by forgoing the sparkle this year.
Young children aren’t the only ones who don’t realize it’s a no-no to open presents early. House rabbits, dogs that sniff out treats, and cats who detect hidden catnip are all tempted to tamper with gifts. Keep those packages up high in a closet until you’re ready to give your gifts to your four-legged (and winged) friends.
For chewers who don’t care what’s in the package (they just want to chew!), consider investing in a baby play yard. These multi-panel, flexible arrangement wonders can be set-up around a Christmas tree perimeter and easily moved. They are not indestructible, so don’t leave sneaky pets unattended near one. They do, however, buy you a little time before complete destruction commences.
Speaking of Christmas trees, it’s smart to secure your tree from above, not just below. It’s all too easy for a rambunctious pet (or child) to get under the lower branches and up-end the whole tree. Consider putting an eyehook in the adjacent wall and securing a piece of rope or heavy twine to the tree trunk or center pole to said hook. This provides a little more stability in the event of unexpected movement below.
Mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly are poisonous to pets! Christmas cactus can also be a sticky problem. If you have any on hand, be sure the plants are up out of reach of curious pets.
If you have cats that just can’t resist, it might be wiser to donate the plant to a nursing home than risk an emergency trip to the veterinarian’s office over the holiday. Pine can be terribly irritating (even deadly) if consumed, and sap can be a nasty skin irritant.
If you buy a live or fresh cut tree, be especially watchful of your pets to make sure they aren’t gnawing on needles or rubbing against the trunk.
We’ve all seen the videos of cats that inadvertently catch the tip of their tail on a candle flame. It’s funny until you see the burns on the poor creature’s tail and have a ruined pair of curtains! Try swapping out traditional tapers for LED candles. They give a wonderful ambiance without the fire hazard.
Remember the lady at the supermarket who smelled like she bathed in cheap perfume? Yeah, that’s what the holidays can be like for our animals too. Resist the temptation to spray toxic chemical “air fresheners” as these can be particularly challenging for pets.
As the mist settles to the floor, it becomes heavily concentrated and irritating for our low-to-the-ground companions. If you feel you must freshen the air, remove the pets from the area first and then mist the room with a mixture of peppermint essential oil and plain water. Wait at least 15 minutes before allowing your pets back in.