In this guide, we’ll be sharing our top 7 holiday decor safety tips for pets so that you can enjoy the holiday season with your pup safely by your side without compromising on the Christmas spirit. 

Table of Contents

Holiday Decor Safety Tips For Pets: Introduction

Holidays, especially Christmas holidays, are by far our favorite times to spend time with loved ones, feeling totally guilt free when snuggling up on the couch or eating our body weight in delicious meals and sweet treats. Decorating the home with cute ornaments and decor is surely going to bring the Christmas spirit to your home. And adding family gatherings and holiday parties into the mix will also give us more amazing things to look forward to for the holiday season. 

With all that time spent at home and making everything as cozy and Christmassy as possible, we’ve also got to think about our pets. At first, it might not seem like a big deal – just decorate the tree, add in more Christmas decor throughout the house, and your pup will enjoy this time just as much as you do. Especially if you’re spending that much more time at home with them! 

Unfortunately, many pet parents overlook the safety aspects of the holiday season. If you think about it, all of those decorations and ornaments can prove to be serious health hazards for our pets. For instance, tree ornaments that break easily can injure your dog or become choking hazards when ingested. Likewise, many Christmas plants are actually extremely poisonous for dogs (and cats too!), leading to stomach upset or more serious health issues. 

Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean you can never decorate your house again with Christmas ornaments and decor. You just have to keep a few tips and tricks in mind to make the holiday season as festive as always, but a lot more safe for your pets. As an added bonus, it’s going to be so much less stressful for you too!

For this very reason, we decided to create an in-depth guide on the best holiday decor safety tips for pets and pet parents, so that you can have a joyous, stress free holiday season year after year with your beloved pets by your side. 

How To Celebrate A Pet-Friendly Holiday?

As we know, safety is a huge issue when it comes to pets and small children. With older kids and teenagers, it’s usually a no brainer. They understand what you’re saying to them and most of the time they have no problem staying safe during the holiday season. It’s a completely different story with dogs, however, as they don’t understand what’s safe for them and what’s not. As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your house is decorated in such a way that there’s no harm to your pets. 

As you can probably imagine, all of those shiny Christmas ornaments, tinsel, Christmas lights, and any other decorations will most likely be exciting for your pooch to get their paws on. On the other hand, most of these decorations can also cause great harm to your pet. Fortunately, if you follow our holiday decor safety tips for pets below, you’ll most likely be able to minimize those potential risks by a long shot. 

What To Keep In Mind With Holiday Parties & Gatherings

Then there’s also the matter of hosting that many of us like to do around the holiday season. Whether you’re planning a holiday party for your closest friends or extended family, be sure to also be mindful of your four-legged family members during this time. Parties and holiday gatherings can be stressful for our canine and feline family members. Although some pups may love all the hustle and bustle that’s happening around them, that’s not always the case. 

If your doggo is more anxious or shy by nature, it might be best to safely confine them in another room where they have their comfy bed, plenty of toys to play with, and clean drinking water. Of course, be sure to place away any items that might be potential health hazards, such as small knick knacks and coins, dirty laundry, cleaning supplies, and other dangerous objects. 

If your pup is more outgoing and thrives in company, it’s just as important to ensure their safety. For example, neither you nor your guests should feed your pets any table scraps. Most likely, they’re seasoned and often contain ingredients that can be extremely dangerous for our pets. Teaching your dog from a young age not to counter surf or steal food is also essential to keep their paws off any foods they’re not supposed to eat for their own safety. 

We also recommend you put great emphasis on your dog’s daily routine and exercise during the holiday season. We all tend to slip when it comes to our daily schedules during the holiday season. And if we’re not following the same routine, your dog likely won’t either. Oftentimes, this can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety for our pets if they suddenly don’t know when they get to eat or go out for a walk. 

Speaking of which, before your holiday dinners, we recommend you let your pup run and romp around a bit more than usual to tire them out before the big night. This will help them feel calmer and help them behave a bit better throughout the night. 

7 Holiday Decor Safety Tips For Pets

Without further ado, here are our top 7 holiday decor safety tips for pets that’ll keep your furry family safe all throughout the holiday season.

Find Stores That Sell Pet-Friendly Decor

First things first, we recommend that any decor you use is pet-friendly, meaning that it doesn’t break easily, or if it does, it won’t break into a million tiny pieces that immediately become choking hazards for your pup. Not to mention, these tiny and sharp objects can severely damage your pet’s mouth, esophagus, and digestive tract. 

Fortunately, you’ll be able to find tons of different shatterproof Christmas ornaments from online stores and at your local shops. These are also excellent if you have young children at home, or if you yourself are a bit clumsy. 

If you’ve got an extremely curious pet, opting for an artificial Christmas tree might be a better option, as it doesn’t give off the enticing smell of the great outdoors. If you’re taking that route, we strongly advise you against getting a flocker Christmas tree, since the artificial snow tends to crumble and potentially become a health hazard for your pet. 

Take Extra Care Of Electrical Chords

It goes without saying that any and all electrical cords and cables should be out of your dog’s reach. For some reason, dogs just love to play with these insanely dangerous items, putting them at risk of electrical shock, burns, and worse. So, if you’re using those cute Christmas lights around the house and on your Christmas tree, be extra careful where you place them so that your dog has no access to them. If you have no other option than to use low lying electrical cords, using cord concealers will do the trick. 

The same goes for any other electrical ornaments or decorations, regardless if they’re corded or battery-powered. Anything that could potentially deliver an electrical shock should be far away from your pets’ reach. In fact, if your pet manages to chew on batteries, it can cause severe burns internally and prove to be fatal very quickly. 

Secure The Christmas Tree And Limit Your Dog’s Access To It

One of the most magical parts of the holiday season is getting a Christmas tree that you can decorate as you please. If you’re already getting shatterproof and pet-safe tree ornaments, you’re halfway there! But, if we have learned something over the years, it’s that some pets simply cannot keep their paws and nosy noses away from the tree!

Regardless if you’re getting a fresh tree or an artificial one, make sure that it’s safely secured so that your pets can’t accidentally knock it over. For those of you who simply must have a real, fresh tree every year, be sure to get an extra sturdy and safe Christmas tree stand. Also, pay attention to the size of the water reservoir. The smaller it is, the better – you don’t want your pup to get curious and start drinking from there. That being said, we also advise you against using any chemicals or fertilizers inside the Christmas tree water. These are usually extremely dangerous for pets!  

As an extra safety caution, we recommend you use pet gates or crates whenever you’re leaving the house to limit your dog’s access to heavily decorated rooms. 

Using Tinsel And Leaving Candles Unattended Is A Big No-No

Tinsel and candles are for sure beautiful to look at, but on the other hand, both of these can also cause a lot of trouble if you have pets in your household. Tinsel is one of those things that dogs and cats just can’t get enough of. It’s shiny and easy to carry around, often finding its way into our pets’ mouths. 

We recommend you either opt against using tinsel around the house, or only use it in areas that your pets have absolutely no access to. In some cases, placing the tinsel higher up on the tree might do the trick. But if your pet doesn’t shy away from jumping up on the tree to get their paws on that tinsel, you’ll have to accept that from now on Christmases are tinsel-free.

Candles, on the other hand, can be easily knocked over by our curious pets. It’s also not uncommon for nosy pups to accidentally get burned by the candle if they get too close to it. If you’re adamant on lighting candles, make sure they’re placed somewhere where your pets can’t reach them or knock them over. Also, don’t forget to put out all the candles whenever you leave the room. Better be safe than sorry! 

Your Seasonal Plant Decor Might Be Toxic

Mistletoes, lilies, hollies, and poinsettias are all well-known and popular plants that we all love to bring home for the holiday season. Unfortunately, all of these can also be very dangerous for our pets. Milder cases can cause your dog to vomit or get diarrhea, worse cases can be fatal. 

If you simply can’t have a Christmas without a seasonal plant, be sure to do your research and opt for a guaranteed pet-safe plant. Or, an easier option would be to purchase an artificial plant that’s made from plastic or silk. Once the holidays are over, you can just store them away and bring them back out the next year!  

Distract Your Pet With Their Favorite Toys

Oftentimes, dogs have a habit of getting into trouble when they’re bored. And for them, all the shiny ornaments and tinsel look like toys. They don’t know the difference! 

One of the easiest ways to redirect your dog’s attention off the tree and holiday decorations is to make sure they have plenty of toys to play with. Puzzle toys, chew toys, snuggly toys, whatever your pup loves, make sure they have a variety of them to play with. While plush and snuggly toys are great for soothing your pooch, puzzle toys and chew toys will keep them entertained. 

As we mentioned earlier, we also recommend you pay a bit more attention to your dog’s exercise and playtime throughout the holiday season. A tired dog is a happy dog, after all! 

Keep An Emergency Vet On Speed Dial

Before the busy holiday season starts, do your due diligence and find out the closest emergency veterinary clinics that you can turn to in case of an emergency. By being prepared, you’re already going to feel much less stress and can enjoy the holiday season knowing what to do when the worst might occur. 

Of course, you should still keep a close eye on your pet at all times. That’s why using pet gates, crates, or confining them to another room can be great ways to keep them safe when you’re hosting or have to leave them alone for a while. 

It’s also crucial that you know how to spot any worrying signs early on, such as any behavioral changes or changes in your dog’s appetite or bowel movements. Whenever you’re in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact the emergency veterinary clinic for further guidance. 

Since many of the Christmas decorations and ornaments can become choking hazards, we also urge you to learn how to do dog heimlich and CPR. These are extremely beneficial skills to have for any dog parent anyway. 

Holiday Decor Safety Tips For Pets: FAQs

How Can I Keep My Dog Safe During the Holidays?

To keep your dog safe during the holidays, be sure to opt for pet-safe and shatterproof ornaments, and limit their access to anything that they could potentially knock over, ingest, or otherwise harm themselves with. Any electrical cords, cables, or battery-powered Christmas decorations should be out of your dog’s reach. In addition to that, never leave lighted candles unattended and opt against using tinsel or bringing home poisonous plants. We also recommend you secure the Christmas tree with a good quality tree stand and never use any chemicals or fertilizers in the tree water. 

Are Holidays Stressful For Dogs?

Holidays can be stressful for dogs, especially if your pup thrives on their daily routine and is more sensitive, shy, anxious, or timid by nature. To be fair, even the most outgoing dogs might feel stressed out during the holidays if all of a sudden they don’t get to rely on their usual daily routine. Likewise, the changes in their environment due to holiday decorations, as well as people coming over and making noise can cause additional stress for our pets. 

How Can I Help My Pet At Christmas?

During the holiday season, we recommend you minimize the stress and anxiety as much as possible by sticking to your pet’s usual routine. This includes their mealtimes, potty breaks, playtimes, and exercise. If you’re hosting holiday parties at home, it might be best to safely confine your pet in another room where there are no potential choking hazards or household chemicals. Just make sure they have plenty of toys to play with, lots of clean drinking water, and go spend time with them after a little while so that they don’t become lonely. 

Holiday Decor Safety Tips For Pets: Final Thoughts

Holidays are surely one of the most precious times to make memories with loved ones and harness all of that Christmas spirit for cozy nights in. We hope our holiday decor safety tips for pets will help you organize pet friendly and safe holidays for your whole family from now on so that you won’t have to worry about your four-legged best pals during this otherwise wonderful time. 

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