Whether you are looking forward to lighting the Christmas tree or menorah candles, ’tis the season to deck the halls with your favorite pet-friendly decorations. But you might be surprised to discover that many common and popular seasonal decorations can be poisonous or dangerous for your dogs.
As pet parents, we should take precautions when adorning our home with ornaments, garlands, and other embellishments. Luckily, there are pet-friendly decorations to keep your celebration safe. Here are tips to avoid common holiday hazards with non-toxic and secure festive furnishings.
A Safe Season for All With Pet-Friendly Decorations
The holiday season is a special and magical time for all – including your dogs! While the humans in your household may marvel at the sparkle and wonderment of it all, your pets may take the cheer a little too far by chewing on toxic decorations and causing other dangers. Festive decorations that mark the occasion can also lead to vet visits and other emergencies.
Here are some quick tips for a fun and safe holiday season:
- Keep decorations away from your pets
- Choose pet-friendly decorations
- Keep an eye on your canine
- Set up a safety plan
The best way to keep your dog safe is to prevent them from getting your holiday decorations. If you have a small dog, you can keep your decorations out of reach on tables and mantles. Or you may be able to keep all of your festivities in a room separated by a doggie gate or fence.
Some ornaments are more tempting than others. If your dog likes tug-of-war (or is just a curious canine), hanging stockings and table clothes can be very alluring.
Decorations made from food can pose a higher risk for curious canines. Homemade trinkets made with salt or sugar-free ingredients, like xylitol, can cause tummy troubles.
But even non-toxic ornaments can be dangerous. For instance, your pup can pull down a Christmas tree trying to get a bite from a string of popcorn. Or a wooden dreidel could turn into a choking hazard.
Accidents happen, and having a plan in place can give you some peace of mind if something happens. Have your veterinarian’s phone and address in an easily found location.
Likewise, keep a list of nearby 24-hour emergency clinics and contacts since offices typically close around the holidays. Also, the Pet Poison Helpline can help and offers emergency assistance.
Secure Holiday Lighting & Electronics
Candles add seasonal smells and a holiday ambiance to your home, but they can quickly become fire hazards with pets around. Never leave a lit candle unattended or in a place where your dog can knock over. LED candles can produce the same look without the danger of a flickering flame.
Scents from potpourri and sprays can fill your space with holiday cheer if you skip the candles. Remember that many fragrant oils and products are toxic when consumed.
Stringed lights and other electronics can cause more than just a biting shock if nibbled. Make sure to conceal the cords and wires, and invest in pet-safe cord protectors to keep them out of reach.
Toxic and Non-Toxic Seasonal Plants
Unfortunately, poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly are popular holiday blooms that can be toxic for your dog if ingested. Along with lilies, English ivy, rosemary topiary, and amaryllis, consuming these poisonous plants can cause gastrointestinal issues, diarrhea, vomiting, and drooling.
Fortunately, several decorative plants are safe to have around pets. Some non-toxic holiday favorites include the following:
- A holiday cactus does not have sharp spines like other cacti. Instead, it blooms beautiful flowers in red, white, pink, scarlet, orange, or cream just in time for the winter holidays.
- Swedish ivy has white edges on the end of its green leaves. It has a strong citrusy scent that benefits those with sinus issues.
- The prayer plant gets its name from its nighttime routine of raising and folding its leaves to an upright position, like hands coming together. You can find them in bright colors like red, green, and white.
- The polka dot plant is spotted – as its name suggests – and comes in red, green, pink, white, and purple for a festive punch of color in your home.
What about a Christmas tree? Oils in pine, fir, and spruce trees and needles can also cause upset puppy tummies. Even if your pup is not the type to eat a branch of the Christmas tree, the water in tree stands can contain oils and other chemicals. Additionally, needles can cause digestive punctures.
Christmas Trees & Trimmings
Speaking of… Artificial trees may be safer than many popular Yuletide options since needles are less likely to fall off. However, brittle pieces of aluminum, plastic and fake snow on older trees can cause mouth irritations and intestinal blockage.
A fallen tree is unsafe whether it is live or faux. Make sure your tree has a sturdy base, does not lean, and is secure to the wall or ceiling. You can also place furniture or an enclosure in front to block it from probing paws.
You may want to skip the tree altogether if your pet is prone to jumping on or running into people and items. Or, you could keep holiday ornamentation in a closed-off room.
A beautifully decorated tree catches the eyes of pets and humans alike. Pet friendly-holiday ornaments should be non-toxic, shatterproof, and safe to have with young pups and senior canines.
Avoid edible decorations with unhealthy ingredients, like candy canes, popcorn on a string, chocolate, or salt dough. Even non-edible ornaments can seem like tasty treats to dogs, such as tinsel, string pearls, metal hooks, and bite-size bells.
Generally, you want to avoid having hazardous ornaments close to the bottom of your tree. A wagging tail and curious muzzle can knock off low-hanging breakable decorations like glass bulbs and ceramic keepsakes.
Distract your dog from decorations with our Upcycle certified Soft-Baked, Grain-Free Bacon Treats! High in protein, these heart-healthy treats are perfect substitutes for tempting holiday furnishings.