Decorating your Christmas tree is arguably one of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season, but every pet owner knows that the combination of pet + tree + baubles and tinsel can be somewhat calamitous. Find out how to avoid the the most common hazards with our top tips.
P.S Sorry to go a bit “nanny state”, but it’s worth it if it means your Christmas break is free from an emergency trip to the vets!
1) Don’t put chocolate decorations on the tree if you have a dog
Yep, we sound like a broken record, but it’s worth saying, because there are still thousands of avoidable incidents of pet poisoning across Europe each year. Human chocolate will make your dog very unwell, but this won’t stop their clever noses sniffing it out from in between the branches and wolfing down the lot, given the chance. Dog-friendly chocolate will make sure your pet doesn’t feel left out of the fun.
Disclaimer: we in no way wish to discourage the consumption of Christmas chocolate, just keep it securely out of reach of wandering noses (human and animal, come to think of it!).
2) Beware of needles
Needles of the pine variety, that is. A real tree can cause problems for an enthusiastic chewer if they decide to tuck into the branches, as needles can become lodged in their throat, and have even been known to puncture the lining of their intestinal tract. If you can’t do without the scent of a real tree, placing it up out of reach on a table, or in a room your pet isn’t allowed in, could be a good compromise.
3) Not too heavy on the tinsel
In a way, having a cat or a dog is a bit like having a small child – you never know what they might accidentally eat next. Harmless though it looks, tinsel is actually one of the more dangerous objects your furry friend could unintentionally ingest, as it could cause obstruction to the airways or intestines. Keep the shiny stuff out of reach to avoid an accident.
4) Watch the water
Live trees are often treated with chemicals to help keep them fresh, and these then seep into the water at the base of the tree. Dogs and cats will often drink from unusual places (the glass you’re using, the loo, you name it), so be sure to cover the base of the tree with a tree skirt, towel or foil, to make sure your pet doesn’t end up injesting any nasties.