Ah, the holidays! That special time of year when we spend joyous, quality time with our friends and family, especially our four-legged friends and furry family members. We gather around the Christmas tree, but the season of giving also comes with fancy ornaments, decorations and displays that can often be problematic for our pets. We certainly don’t want the “most wonderful time of the year” to be a chaos for our companions, so we must be on alert for potential dangers.
For example, perhaps one of the first perils we may imagine during December is the whole “cat versus tree” scenario. Those twinkling lights and ornaments found on our Christmas trees and around the house are often irresistible to felines. We’ve likely seen and experienced some examples of cats toppling an alluring tree, tossing ornaments around and being curious near the tree itself. While this could be a hassle for us with broken ornaments and exposed wiring, this could be very dangerous or even deadly for our beloved pets.
If you think the Christmas tree, is only attractive to cats, think again. While most dogs may only consider possibly urinating on this new addition to our living space, there are many breeds of canines that are born “ratters.” Their very nature makes them unusually curious and they’ve been bred to go after any movement found within decorations, flashing lights and other abnormalities. They aren’t attacking the decor, but rather attempting to protect their beloved masters from harm.
So how can we keep curious cats and protective pets away from the Christmas tree? While some so-called experts recommend blockade devices like baby gates, cats can leap over these in a heartbeat and most dogs can knock them down or outsmart this device. Here are a few tips to help out with this dilemma during the holidays:
- Consider covering the tree with an old or unused bed sheet during hours when you’re not present (pardon the pun) that will keep their interest blindsided.
- Only turn on lights or activate other animated decorations when you’re in the same room with them. Offer an alternative to getting too close to the tree, like treats and affection.
- Refrain from playing with pets using tinsel as a plaything with cats or turning on animated decor to play with the dog (or check out their reaction) as this will only make them more likely to want interact or destroy them.
- Keep them away from the tree with scents like citrus, clove or peppermint oils that most pets find annoying but humans find pleasant.
- For investigating pets that become tree branch nibblers, consider using tabasco sauce, pepper, bitter apple or other tastes that will stop them from biting at these spots, especially on lower extremities.
If you’re really concerned about pets and their playful nature with the Christmas tree and it’s many decorations and dangers, when all other avenues seem to have failed, especially the hazards of broken ornaments, you could replace those fragile decorations with unbreakable items. Training is another consideration, but you can’t always be completely confident that while you’re away, the pets won’t play, especially during your absence.
Think about taking some extra precautions, enjoy the holidays with your friends and family, and have a happy and joyous New Year!