Spending time decorating your home for the holidays is one of the best parts of winter. It’s much easier to tolerate subzero temperatures and icy driveways when you can come back to a warm and festive home. Whether you’re putting up a tree for Christmas, stringing lights across your interior and exterior, or decking your halls with boughs of holly, there’s nothing quite like holiday cheer.
If you’re one of the millions of happy pet parents, you probably want your furry, hairy, or scaly family member to join in on the good cheer, too! I know I always do. But the truth is, not every holiday decoration is perfectly safe for your pet.
Here are some tips for making your holiday decorations safe for every member of your household!
Christmas trees are quite notorious for being an easy target when it comes to pets and holiday decorations—especially if you have cats. Cats are positively infamous for knocking over trees, climbing them, breaking ornaments, and potentially getting sick around them.
If your cat or dog is a chewer or eater of things they shouldn’t, you might want to opt for an artificial tree. A fake tree will prevent them from eating the fallen needles. It will also prevent them from drinking the tree’s water which could contain fertilizers or harmful bacteria. However, if you do go with a fake tree, it’s a good idea avoid the glittery and sparkly ones. These might be even more of an attractant.
If you go with a live tree, cover the water with a tree skirt to prevent any thirsty pets from drinking the water. For any tree, choose a strong base that will keep your tree stable and upright in case anyone decides to take it for a test climb—or gets a little too rambunctious nearby.
When it comes to decorating the tree, avoid putting ornaments too low where they might be at perfect play height. You might also want to avoid (or limit your use of) fragile and/or glass ornaments that could break if something happens to the tree. Avoid using tinsel to decorate, as well, as many cats love to play with it, which could lead to them swallowing it.
While real, seasonal plants are incredibly festive and help add to the holiday cheer, they can be problematic, too. Some types of festive foliage are highly poisonous is ingested. If you have pets in your home, it’s a good idea to avoid these plants (or keep them far out of reach!):
You can find a comprehensive list of hazard holiday plants here.
Silk plants are a great alternative if you want to play it safe without sacrificing the look of any of these plants.
For a fresh, natural look, there are plenty of nontoxic plants that are just as beautiful! Red roses, white orchids, and Christmas cacti are all safe and beautiful options.
Candles are a great way to add a warm glow to your home around the holidays, but they’re not the safest form of light when you have pets. One errant paw or tail could easily knock over a lit candle and increase your risk of fire. Flameless candles are a great way to achieve that warm glow without the fire hazard. If you’re looking to freshen up the scent of a room, there are plenty of ways to do so without candles. Diffusers, candle warmers, and plug-in wax melts are just a few of my favorite ways to have my home smelling fresh without candles.
If you want to use real candles for Hanukkah, be sure to place your menorah up high on a sturdy piece of furniture! This will help prevent an accident knocking it over!
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.