The holidays are quickly approaching, and you are already thinking about how you will make the house look more festive. The possibilities are endless! It may even be getting to the point that you’re overwhelmed each time you walk into a big-box store. The decorations are out and calling your name! From clear to colorful, festive to fancy, everything seems to be beckoning you to turn your home into a winter wonderland.

cat sitting in a christmas tree

We don’t want to throw a wrench into your plans or make your choices more difficult, but we do have one suggestion for you — consider the health and wellness of your animal companions when determining your decor. To help protect your pets, here are some common dangers presented by holiday decor and some suggestions for better, pet-friendly alternatives.

Seasonal Plants Are Pretty…Toxic

Nothing screams Christmas like poinsettias. They are available in a wide range of colors and are incredibly popular this time of year. You may buy some for yourself, or you may be considering purchasing these beautiful plants as a gift. Wait a moment before you do.

Poinsettias contain a toxin that is dangerous to dogs and cats. It’s not a problem if you have a pet that doesn’t nibble on greenery. They are best avoided when there’s an animal in the house who can’t resist sinking its teeth into a pretty flower or juicy leaf. 

Realize, too, that many pets are stealthy when it comes to sampling the household potted plant salad bar — particularly cats. And, if we’re being honest, most of us set down a plant and forget it except when it needs watering. It’s only when entire flowers are missing or the leaves look half eaten that we notice a furry friend has been trying out the taste. By then it could be too late!

Symptoms of plant toxin ingestion include:

  • Drooling
  • Nausea/discomfort
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

A better alternative to the seasonal flower is a fake plant. Any craft store will have an abundance of pretend poinsettias that you can decorate your heart out with. If you can’t deal with fake flowers, consider placing your holiday plants high on a shelf where your animal can’t reach — or, better yet, save them for outdoor decorations.

Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

The staple of any holiday home, Christmas trees get more creative every year. We know quite a few families that place a themed tree in every room of their home. Done correctly, a tree can be a wonderful part of your holiday decorating. However, without forethought, it can be a deadly hazard for your pet.

If you have a live tree, the needles can be irresistible to curious cats. Gastrointestinal upsets abound when your pet eats too many of these pine-flavored goodies. The water you feed your tree can also cause stomach upsets if your pet drinks too much because it is inevitably infused with sap. 

Even the non-natural decor can pose a hazard. Tinsel is too shiny to resist, especially for cats, and when ingested will cause a linear foreign body in your pet. Strings of lights can cause electric shock when chewed on.

Take heart: you don’t have to forego the treasured tree, you just need to be smart about it. Consider opting for a fake fir instead of a live one, for example. It will be easier for your pet to walk on by if they can’t smell the tempting pine. Or, if you insist on the real deal, consider placing some type of gate or barrier in front of any tree you set up to slow your pet down.

As for tree trimmings, look for shatter-proof ornaments for lower branches. Cover light cords with cord protectors to prevent shock. Skip the tinsel altogether, and opt for a garland made with fabric or plastic. 

You won’t be able to prevent all accidents with the tree, but you can definitely cut down on the dangers!

Oh, The Delicious Smells!

Seasonal candles. Who doesn’t love them? They add a sumptuous scent to our homes and make it really feel like the holiday season. 

Candles can provide excellent ambiance, but they should come with a few safety precautions. Never leave a burning candle unattended and make sure any candles you have lit are up and out of the way of curious animals. One associate of Greenlin had a friend put a candle on the coffee table, watched their cat walk across the table, and its fur caught on fire! Luckily, they were right there to snuff it out. Can you imagine what could have happened if they weren’t paying attention or, worse, not at home?

If you’re averse to the risks of open flames in the house around pets, LED candles are all the rage and easy to find. They have a realistic flickering effect and are gorgeous in any room. If it’s a mouth-watering aroma you’re after, consider a wax warmer and some melts. 

If you simply can’t skip the candles, put them up on a wall shelf or in a glass vessel. Safety first!

A No Stress Holiday For Your Pets

The holiday season can be a stressful time for your pets. New sights and new smells thanks to festive decorating can confuse your dog or cat. People coming in and out dropping off gifts can cause anxiety. If your pet doesn’t do well with change or they are a bit too underfoot for your liking, consider pet boarding services here at Greenlin. Or drop them off at dog daycare for days when you can’t be there to watch them around your indoor winter wonderland.

We love your pets like they are members of our own family. You can rest assured that your loved one will have the time of their lives with our friendly staff. We will spoil and pamper your pet just like you do! We have five convenient locations making it easy to find a home away from home for your pet. Call or drop by today!