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Jingle bells and wagging tails:

Jingle bells and wagging tails:

With Christmas round the corner, many individuals are already decorating their homes. No home is complete without a Christmas tree, and they can make great pet pictures. However, something strange and new popping up in pet’s home like a Christmas tree can be prime target for a spot of exploring. But what danger do Christmas trees pose to cats and dogs?

“At Christmas time, it’s worth making sure that all cats and dogs are safe and can enjoy the holiday season as much as we do” says James Whitten, the Marketing Manager at petGuard.

Leading pet insurer petGuard put together a guide on how to help pet owners pet-proof their Christmas tree and limit the danger that Christmas trees can pose to their furry friends.

Cat friendly Christmas trees

Cats and kittens love to climb trees where they can hide. Some cats cannot resist exploring in Christmas trees. However, the oils produced by some types of Christmas trees – including fir, pine and spruce trees - can irritate a cat’s mouth and cause vomiting. Not only that, but the needles themselves are spiky and not easily digested, which could cause problems if the cat was to swallow any.

Securing the decorations

In anticipation of the cats attempting to climb on the Christmas tree, owners should ensure all decorations are secure. It is advisable to avoid using fragile baubles or tinsel, as they may appear toy-like to many feline companions.

Using a heavy base

In case cats decide to go exploring, owners need to make sure that the base of the Christmas tree is heavy enough that it will not fall over. Otherwise, this could be dangerous for both the cat and owner’s belongings.

Dog-friendly Christmas trees

If owners anticipate leaving their dog alone for Christmas or hosting visitors, ensuring the safety of both the dog and the Christmas tree is essential. If it is the dog's first Christmas, owners should consider setting up the tree early to allow the dog to get used to it slowly. Start with a bare, undecorated tree and leave it up until the dog is bored of sniffing it and is comfortable sharing a room with it. Then it is time to decorate!

Securing the Christmas tree

During Christmas, dogs can get very excited, much like humans. For owners of larger dogs, the wagging tail could cause a problem. A solution to this is attaching a fishing line from the Christmas tree to either the wall or ceiling to help secure it in place. A nice heavy base should also do the trick.

Keeping any treats away

Plenty of Christmas trees across the country will be decorated with chocolates and candy canes, but any form of edible treats on the tree is not a good idea with a hungry pup around – especially chocolate.

Being wary of lights

Observing the lit-up Christmas tree at night brings joy. However, individuals should be mindful that curious pups can get caught up in the cords and wires and therefore the cords should always be kept tidy and out of reach. When putting the lights on the tree, it is advisable to avoid placing them around the bottom branches where the dog can reach them.

“Having a Christmas tree in the house is magical and by taking extra caution, you can make sure both you and your pet can enjoy Christmas” adds Whitten.

Read more on pet-proofing the Christmas tree:

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