How to Pet-Proof Your Holiday House

Pet proofing your house is one of the oft-forgotten aspects of decorating for the holiday season.

The big holidays are upon us, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all occurring in quick succession. Here are a few tips to bring the holiday spirit alive in your home while also keeping it safe for your pets.

Avoid Toxic Decorations

A lot of pet owners are surprised to find that tinsel is incredibly dangerous for pets. In fact, it’s one of the leading causes of holiday-related deaths for pets around the Christmas season. Tinsel can easily wrap around vital organs inside of your dog or cat when ingested.

Mistletoe is also poisonous to both dogs and cats, along with other small animals. If you like the look of mistletoe, opt for the plastic replicas and hang it someplace your pet can’t reach. Holly, poinsettia and pine needles are also toxic to pets.

Secure the Tree

The picture of the family cat bringing down the Christmas tree is a popular trope in holiday movies for good reason—it happens a lot. To keep Fluffy from toppling the tree and making mincemeat of your favorite ornaments, weigh it down or tie it to a post. While you might not be able to create a barrier that’ll keep your cat a bay, placing a gate around it might help reduce the dog’s ability to whack off a few bulbs with his tail.

Avoid Flammable Objects

While candles might help set the holiday mood, you’re better off opting for battery-operated lighting sources when you have pets. They’re less of a fire risk and your pet won’t be inclined to see them as toys. If you must use candles, place them up high where your dog can’t reach them, and in a place where your cat can’t get to.

Bury the Cords

Electrical cords pose a huge threat to pets; both dogs and cats love chewing their way through cords. One of the best ways to conceal them is to run them alongside the ground where the floor meets the wall, then cover them with plastic liners. Another good option is to keep them up high and out of reach, or simply opt for battery-operated decorations only.

Remove Edibles

Edible ornaments are somewhat popular during the holidays, as are special treats for Halloween and Christmas parties. Be sure to never hang edible ornaments around the house, lest your pet think you’re offering them extra goodies. When cooking for get-togethers, wait until the last minute before baking any cookies or other deliciously enticing treats. Leaving them lying around on the counter is just asking for trouble.

Create a Safe Space

During the holidays it’s not unusual to see an increase in foot traffic in your home. Relatives and friends from out of town tend to visit during this time, which can lead to extra stress on your pet. Combat this by creating a safe space your dog or cat can go to feel safe, where no strangers are allowed. This can be your bedroom or a crate. Just make sure to lay the ground rules out that nobody should bother your furry friend when she’s in her happy place.

Meet the Author: Ben Kerns

Ben Kerns is a freelance writer, photographer and outdoor adventurer based out of San Diego. When he’s not busy working you can find him hopping across the world looking for new places to climb big rocks. He’s also fanatically obsessed with funding his outdoor obsessions for as little money as possible. This stuff gets expensive.

7 Tips for Buying Holiday Gifts for Pets
Safety Tips for Taking Your Dog Trick-or-Treating