4 steps to pet-proof your holiday tree this season | BC SPCA
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4 steps to pet-proof your holiday tree this season

December 13, 2019

Trees decorated with bright lights and ornaments are key part of many holiday celebrations. It’s important to protect pets from any holiday hazards and make sure everyone enjoys this annual tradition. These four tips can help pet guardians keep their furry friends safe from any accidents involving the tree.

Consider an artificial tree

  • Real trees are considered to be mildly toxic to pets. The tree oils can irritate your pet’s mouth and stomach causing excessive drooling or vomiting.
  • If pets eat the tree needles they can puncture the animal’s gastrointestinal tract. Watch for signs such as excessive vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Tree needles can also get stuck in your pet’s paws. Make sure to vacuum up any loose needles on a regular basis.
  • Make sure your pet does not drink the tree water, which commonly contains chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives that can make them sick. Use a covered tree water dish to protect your pet.
  • Remember to avoid artificial trees coated with flocking (imitation snow) or glitter, which is hazardous to pets

Secure the tree

  • Make sure your tree has a heavy and solid base to prevent it from being easily knocked over.
  • Secure the tree to the wall using a cord, rope or chain
  • Prevent access to the tree with a baby gate or exercise pen
  • Close the door to the room to keep pets away from the tree
  • Make cat repellent spray using citrus or essential oils and spray on the tree
  • Don’t put the tree near furniture or tables that cats can use as a launch pad to jump on the tree

Be mindful of decorations

  • Pets can chew on light cords and shock or burn themselves. Use a protective covering for light cords and unplug them when leaving the house or going to bed at night
  • Don’t use tinsel – cats will eat it and tinsel can obstruct their digestive system.
  • Don’t hang shiny ornaments low on the tree where cats will be tempted to play with them
  • Don’t decorate with ornaments made out of glass, porcelain or other breakable materials or put them higher up on the tree where pets are less likely to reach them
  • Use twist ties or plastic hooks to hang the ornaments instead of metal hooks
    Don’t decorate with candy canes, popcorn strings, wrapped chocolates or other treats – pets can eat these and become sick

Wait to put the gifts out

  • Wait until the big day to put gifts under the tree – dogs can smell chocolate or fruitcake through the wrapping paper, chew through and make themselves sick
  • Remember to cleanup soon after presents are unwrapped to make sure pets don’t eat ribbons, string or ties