Your pet is part of your family and is certainly more important than having a beautiful Christmas tree for the holidays, right? But some pet owners feel their Christmas creativity is a little tied down by owning a pet who’s prone to playing with the tree.
However, with the right precautions, you can have your pet and your tree too! All it takes is a little bit of planning ahead, thoughtful placement of certain items, and patience while your pet gets used to your new piece of “furniture.”
Here are some tips to make sure your pet and your Christmas tree get along this year.
10. Place safer ornaments on the bottom.
If you’ve got a pet who’s likely to be interested in playing with the ornaments on your tree, it’s best to put the more breakable and expensive ornaments toward the top and leave shatterproof or plastic ornaments on the bottom. This way, your pet is less likely to break ornaments, which means you’re less likely to have to clean up the mess and/or take your injured pet to the vet.
9. Get a good quality tree stand.
Ornament placement is important, but it’s nothing without a high-quality tree stand to keep your tree upright even when your pet gets a bit rambunctious or playful. Pick one with a wide and heavy base to help offset the topheavy weight of the tree. For fake trees that come with their stands attached, this may involve shopping specifically for a tree that has a good strong base. Or you can try weighing down the base of your tree by other means, if you’ve got that special brand of ingenuity.
8. Use a fake tree.
Real trees have sharper needles that can poke your pet in the eyes or fall off the tree and get stuck in your pet’s paws. Plus, who wants to prick their fingers while decorating the tree? An artificial tree is the safest and most comfortable choice for all members of the family, furry and otherwise.
If you opt for a real tree, do your research and try to pick one with softer needles. Many real Christmas trees are also considered to be mildly toxic, so make sure your pet doesn’t ingest much of your tree (although, we understand, a little bit may be unavoidable). A fake tree is a good safe option to combat that issue as well.
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7. Leave your tree undecorated for a while.
Bring your tree out of storage a few days before you intend to decorate it and let your pet get used to it before you fill it with shiny baubles. Satiating your animal’s curiosity and allowing the tree to become less of a novelty while it’s still empty will help your cat or dog behave better once it’s decorated.
At the very least, this waiting period can be a time for you to monitor your pet’s behavior and start to predict what types of precautions you’re going to have to take to make sure your pet and your tree can coexist.
6. Be careful with cord placement.
When you’re deciding where to put your tree, consider where the nearest outlet is and where any cords will go after you’ve put lights on your tree. Cats and dogs often like to chew on stray cords, so you may have to use a rug, tape, or other tools to cover your cords and keep your pet from chewing on them, especially while they’re plugged in. This rule goes for other cords you may be using around the house as well for your holiday decorating.
If you’re not able to cover your cords, see item #1 on this list (on the next page) to learn another way you can keep your pets from chewing on dangerous cords.
Click “Next” below to see 5 more ways to help your pet and your Christmas tree coexist peacefully!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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