Safely Decorating For the Holidays

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The holiday season is here and in full swing.  Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to start decorating and getting ready for Christmas. This is a beautiful time of year, with twinkling lights, garland, bows and other trimmings adorning homes across the nation.  Nevertheless, when you have pets in the home, you may want to think twice about how you decorate.   I’ve seen many an ornament and keepsake broken by our family pets over the years. Thankfully they were okay, but sometimes decorating for the holidays can be dangerous for our pets.  Be careful when decking the halls with the following:

  • Tinsel: Tinsel makes everything sparkle festively, moving at the slightest movement in the air.   That’s why these little strands can be irresistible to your pets, especially your little kitty. If they are ingested they can get wrapped around their intestines and wreak havoc inside their bodies.  If can’t live without the tinsel on your tree, try putting it only around the top where your animals can’t reach it.
  • Ribbon: Much like tinsel, ribbon has the same danger if your cat or dog happens to eat a strand of it. However, since ribbon is much longer than tinsel, they can get caught in it and even choke.  When wrapping the presents, I love letting my cat play with the ribbon a little bit, she loves it too.  But when I never let her play with it alone and make sure to put it back in the closet when I’m done.  That way she gets to play and be safe at the same time.
  • Lights and Candles: Most of us have seen the Chevy Chase movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where that poor kitty gets electrocuted by the tree.  Although it’s kind of funny in fiction, the danger is real and your pets could really be harmed if they chew on the lights.  Lighting candles can be a hazard to both your pets and your home.  Unattended candles could easily be knocked over by an excited tail or curious cat which could lead to a deadly catastrophe.
  • Plants: You definitely need to think twice about decorating with live toxic plants in the home.  In fact, most of the holiday plants are noxious. Poinsettias, Mistletoe, Holly and even needles from the Christmas tree can be harmful to your pets.  If your pet ingests any of these they could become very ill; some symptoms include, vomiting, diarrhea, oral irritation, breathing problems, erratic behavior, lethargy, and even death.  It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when decorating with plants, either leave them out or buy artificial plants for your home.

We all want to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year, keeping our pets out of harm’s way is a huge part in making a happy home.  Decorating for the holidays this season can be fun and safe if you just keep in mind some of the hidden dangers.  Now that you know, have fun festooning this season!

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