Holiday Shopping and Decorating Safety Tips for Pets

The season of giving and gathering is upon us.

With that comes hours of shopping, wrapping, and decorating. And while we’re busy doing that, our pets are curiously circling and sniffing, wondering how they can be involved.

The holidays can be a great time for family and friends, but our traditions often carry inherent risks for our dogs and cats. So before we get too deep into the holiday craze, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

Watch Out for the Christmas Tree

Full of dangly and sparkling objects, flashing lights, and interesting scents, a Christmas tree can be irresistible for pets. A cat’s stealth and agility adds even more potential hazard on the feline side. The goal here is to keep the pets away as much as possible, so consider pet gates for dogs and more intense barricades for cats. You can also try deterrent mats and pet-safe adhesive to surround the tree and keep the pets at a distance.

Organize Gift Wrapping

Gift wrapping time may be a chore for us, but our pets could consider it playtime. The ribbons and boxes themselves may be your cat’s greatest joy. And your dog may find watching you cut wrapping paper incredibly intriguing. The downside of the entertainment value for your pets is the possibility of injury (with scissors, for example) or ingestion of items like glitter and glue. So to help keep things safe, close yourself off in a room if you have a spare one. If you don’t, keep all your gift wrapping items on a high table with pointy and dangerous items away from the table’s edge. Keep containers closed for glitter, glue, or anything else that may spill easily. And if you have to leave the room at any point during your wrapping, take your pets with you.

Keep Wrapped Gifts Away

For some pets, the festiveness of gifts is just too much to resist and they’ll take it upon themselves to make the boxes, bags, and ribbons part of their own toy set. Not only will this make a big mess for you to clean up and have to re-wrap, but your pet may swallow some of the wrappings or something contained within the box or bag. To prevent problems, keep the gifts in a safe zone—in another room, behind a barricade, or in some other unreachable place from your pet’s perspective—until it’s time to open them.

Keep Lids Closed

Food is a big part of the holidays—especially sweets. While your cat may not be as interested, your dog will probably have a nose for those cookies and chocolates. Always make sure to keep these holiday treats tucked away in a secure cupboard and sealed. You may want to invest in some sturdy treat jars.


To keep your own dog from becoming the vacuum cleaner and ingesting unwanted items from the floor, make it a habit of vacuuming regularly around the holidays—especially after having company over and after opening gifts—to keep things clean and safe.

Get Cord Protectors

All the holiday lights wires may be a huge temptation for your pets, so consider getting cord protectors (there are even some available with scent and taste deterrents).

Supervise Your Pets

With all the new additions to your home around the holiday season, it’s a good idea to not leave your pets home alone in the same room with the decorations, gifts, and tree. Put them in another part of your home when you leave and take them with you at bedtime instead of letting them roam free. It’s especially important to do this with puppies and kittens.

The holidays can be a fun time for everyone with the help of a few simple safety precautions for your pets.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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