There was red “stuff” all over his tail and dripped across the coffee table in a swiping motion… Yep. My saint bernard had dunked his tail feathers in the wax melt and spread some Christmas cheer all over the coffee table.
Pets are awesome but that can add a little dash of crazy to the already busy season.
There are holiday decorations that are normally not sitting out, there might be seasonal holiday plants that you need to keep the cat from playing in or deciding they look like a good snacking option.
And let’s not get started about all the extra food and table scraps that dear old grandma wants to give to those begging eyes because she is not used to resisting like you are.
Routines also change during those few weeks out of the year and just like humans pets are not a fan of routines being changed.
Ready to make your life a bit easier and kick some of these holiday pet hazards to the curb? Let’s get into some of my tried and true holiday safety tips for pets.
Holiday Safety Tips For Pets In Your Home
I don’t know about you but I do my farm chores as quickly as possible and get back inside. So many of us are spending a lot more time indoors this time of year let’s start with issues that will show up in your home.
Hiding The Holiday Sweets
This is more of an annoyance rather than a health hazard if they get into the Christmas cookies. Keeping a skilled animal out of the people food can be a challenge sometimes.
They will likely end up with a minor stomach upset or be downright pleased with themselves.
Unless your pet is the type to eat so much they get a bowel obstruction.
Dogs are amazing at figuring out where the food is and simply wrapping the goodies in plastic wrap or a ziplock bag won’t keep a determined animal out.
Toby (my saint bernard) is AMAZING at finding sugar, baked goods, or candy he doesn’t care. I like to get my husband this kind of stick wafer type treat at Christmas time and I caught Top with his nose right up to the mettle tin.
He won’t stop pestering me if he finds it and will continue to remind me that it’s there pointing to where ever it is.
Sure it’s cute at first but when you are trying to relax with your husband while watching TV and you have a three-foot-tall dog stomping and grumbling in front of the TV it becomes a bit obnoxious.
He won’t take it off the counter but he will make a huge pest of himself until I cave or hide it so he doesn’t know where it is.
Of course, if he is being a total pain in the “you know what” for food, I am not about to reward that behavior so it has to be hidden from sight.
Use Platstic Containers
Putting the sweets in plastic containers will keep them fresher and should keep animals out of them.
I love this set and all of the large containers can use the same lid so you are not having to dig for the right one.
Keeping things as consistent as possible will also help with your animal’s behavior. The more food they are given the more they think they deserve human food and will become demanding and even unruly.
Common Holiday Plants That Are Toxic
- Christmas Cactus
The Christmas Tree
You love the sparkle that the holiday season brings with it. Weeellllll, so do your pets.
Those ornaments on the Christmas tree can be quite a temptation for your pets. So here are a few tricks that will take the danger out of your pets and decorations.
Mettle Ornament Hook Alternative
Ribbon ornament hangers are an awesome way to get rid of dangerous little wires. If your pet tries to swallow them or even gets them in their mouth they can cause severe damage. Not to mention they won’t get stuck in your sweeper or step on one in your bare feet.
These ribbon-style hangers also give your tree a classier look.
100 Pack Hand Tied Festive Red and Silver Christmas Ornament Ribbons Decoration Hangers 50 of Each Color
Glass Ornament Alternatives
There are some really great plastic ornaments that look just as good as glass bulbs. You might be doubting me a bit but have a look at these pet-safe Christmas decorations before you dismiss them.
Check out different styles when you are at a craft or home decor shop like Hobby Lobby. They have so many styles of ornaments that you could decorate your entire tree without a single glass ornament if you wanted to.
Even the Dollar Tree has some great options.
If You Have A Fresh Tree
Fresh trees are a fun way to add adventure to the holidays. But they can be very dangerous to cats. Both the pine needles and the tree water. So do your best not to let your cat drink from the tree stand. Which can be a tall order I know.
Tinsel Can Be A Danger Espeshaly To Cats
Tinsel, while not toxic, and not really as popular as it once was it’s defiantly dangerous enough to make it important enough to note. The shiny string that moves with the slightest draft of wind makes it irresistible to cats.
It can cause a bowel obstruction in your pet’s intestines as it moves through the digestive tract. If your pet starts to act lethargic and doesn’t want to eat or drink you should get them to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible.
Gift Wrap Ribbon
Being the proactive person that I am. I tend to order my gifts early. Wrap them and put them under the tree. Why not use them to make my home look pretty instead of taking up room in my closet?
Butttt… that can also be a problem if you have a nosy nelly in your house. If you don’t want to risk leaving them under the tree then use a side table or sofa table as your gift display.
But you also want to make sure to clean up well after all the gift UNWRAPPING has happened. Small pieces of torn paper or loose ribbon can be a choking hazard for your pets.
Holiday Lighting and Candles
These are some of my must-haves for Christmas decorations BUT we have to be strategic with where we place them.
You want to put them on tables or countertops if you have smaller dogs. If you have large dogs you should also be careful of end tables. Even though it’s not likely on purpose a tail can knock over a candle with one loving wag.
Wax melts are my favorite alternative to candles if you want to have a nice scent coming from a space where there are no safe spaces to sit a candle.
Have A Pet That Likes To Chew
Be careful of electrical cords. If your pet chews through the rubber protecting the cores they could get an electrical shock and cause heart or organ failure.
Check The Tail Waging Zone
I started animal-proofing my home years ago with the “tail waging zone.” It’s basically keeping breakable ornaments and decorations above the level of where that happy tail might be wagging.
If you have small dogs this is not as big of an issue. But, if you have dogs 40lbs or bigger this will be a lifesaver.
That way you are not cringing every time a glass bulb flies across the room.
Coffee tables, nightstands, end tables, and your fireplace all have locations where a pet could knock something over. My saint bernard is always getting something stuck in his tail….
You don’t have to leave them undecorated just put things there that won’t shatter if they get knocked. Also, things that are a bit heavier will help as well.
No Dogs Allowed Areas
Even your pets need rules and boundaries. So think about having these rules year-round not just during the holiday season.
This is a year-round rule for us not just for the holidays. Simply put, no dogs are allowed in the kitchen while I am cooking. This is as much for their safety as it is for mine. I don’t want to be tripping over them while I am working and try to avoid spilling something hot on them and we both end up with burns because of it.
This is a tough rule to put into place and keep there. But it’s worth it.
It takes consistency and patience on everyone’s part. If you don’t have a visible line on the floor for the dogs to see like a section of carpet changing to hardwood or something like that. Then place a piece of painter’s tape across the floor for several months so the dogs can learn where the line is. This will give the dogs a visible line to stay behind while they learn.
After a month or two of consistent practice, you will be able to take up part of the tape and say “out” and the animals will know what you mean. Once they do well with part of the tape gone. Pull up all of the tape and see how they do. You can always put more down if you have to.
(funny story) I always start the “line training” with my puppies almost as soon as we get them. A female saint bernard I had was about 10 weeks old when I pulled out the tape to put it on the floor. I had to do it on two different sides to close off the main kitchen area. I got one side of the tape down and went to put down the other side.
She had already figured out what I was doing and was standing in the small area that I had not yet tapped. She had her paws in the small four-inch space where the tap would go and was trying to block the space for me to put down the tape! I was in for it with that one, she was too smart for her own good.
Don’t be afraid to close them in a bedroom or in the garage. Give them a spot to rest and their favorite toy and they will be fine after a few minutes.
Sure they might be aggravated at first but offer them a cookie once the guests have gone and all will be forgiven.
Tips For Travel
If you are taking your animals with you then have a little go-bag. It will make your life easier to have everything you need for them in one spot and not have to look all over the house for their stuff.
If you have a space to hide the bag by the door you will not have to deal with them being underfoot while packing. I don’t know about your dogs but when mine think they are going somewhere they go nuts.
I had to throw this one in there. This is the coolest thing ever!
If you are finding a sitter that will stay at your home then make an easy list for the sitter. If they are an extended family member then they may not need a list. But if it is the first time for this person to stay at your home then a list of where food is, how much to give, and even habits or quarks that your pets have is very helpful.
A perfect example is Toby making a pest of himself if he wants sweets. Or do they make a run for it if the door or gate is left open? Things like that.
All of the things that you know not to let happen could cause your house sitter to be late for work or spend all day chasing your dog around town.
We love our animals but sometimes we need to have a little self-preservation. Never feel bad about creating boundaries for your pets. Pets are like kids. They thrive with structure and nobody likes a brat dog either.
Create a holiday that you can enjoy that you will for years to come.