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How to Pet-Proof a Christmas Tree

Nov 2nd 2017

How to Pet-Proof a Christmas Tree

Has this ever happened to you?

Christmas That Fell Over Next to Couch

If you have pets such as dogs or cats in the home, decorating for the holidays can be tricky, especially when it comes to setting up your Christmas tree. Don’t worry! In this guide we will provide some tips to help make the holiday season safe for both you and your furry family member(s).

The Tree

First and foremost, one of the safest tree options when you have pets is an artificial tree. While real pine trees definitely have their appeal, they also shed needles that are mildly toxic to cats and dogs if ingested. The needles also tend to be sharp, and can scratch or puncture the skin.

There are even certain types of artificial trees to watch out for. Trees which have been coated with flocking or glitter can also shed these coatings. Since curious animals may be tempted to eat the material, they should be avoided. The best option is a traditional, natural-looking artificial tree with no extra coatings on the branches.

Tree Size and Shape

The size and shape of the tree should also be taken into consideration. As a general rule, Christmas trees in households with pets should be around 5’ in height. Smaller trees are easier to knock down, and although taller trees might be more difficult to, the damage and potential harm from a large tree falling over would certainly be greater. No matter which size tree you get, however, make sure you secure it with a strong tree stand for added stability.

Pet-Friendly Tree Styles

Luckily, there are trees available that are inherently more pet-friendly than others. For example, upside-down trees carry most of their weight at the top, and some can be hung right from the ceiling, keeping it off the floor altogether.

If an upside-down tree isn’t your style, you can opt in for wall tree instead. Wall trees look like a standard Christmas tree cut in half from top to bottom, and fit flush against the wall. Both upside-down and wall trees are perfect for households with pets (and small children), since they are nearly impossible to knock down!

Finally, there are table-top trees. These small, cute, space-saving trees are great for homes with pets. Take your pet’s energy level and personality into consideration when deciding where to place the tree, however. Large, energetic, mischievous or particularly curious animals might warrant keeping the tree on a higher, safer surface instead of on a regular table.

Cat Reaching for Christmas Ornaments

The Ornaments

The biggest advice we can give when it comes to decorations is to opt for shatterproof ornaments. They are strong, durable, and able to handle drops, making them ideal for households with pets and children. Opt for those that are medium to large in size, making them less easily chewed on or swallowed by larger pets.

Many people with pets prefer to hang their ornaments on the top two-thirds of their tree, keeping them safely out of reach. Another common trick is to close the end of the ornament hooks to make a tight loop, providing a more secure hold to the branches. Even if the tree does get bumped into or knocked down, the ornaments will likely not fall off.

Other Considerations

  • Use swags on mantels instead of draping garland
  • Keep tinsel garland use to the top two-thirds of the tree to avoid being chewed on
  • Decorate table tops with LED candles instead of real ones
  • Ensure all mini Christmas light bulbs are securely fastened and not loose
  • Use a short extension cord to avoid tripping and pulling, hide under a rug if possible
  • To deter clawing or chewing, use bitter apple spray or citrus spray on and around the tree
  • Give pets a quick spritz with water if they come too close to the tree (aim away from electrical outlets!)
  • Avoid decorating with your pets present, nothing piques their curiosity like a bunch of loose ornaments!

Don’t be among your friends and family who wakes up to a tackled-down Christmas tree. With some planning ahead, you can have a holiday display that is both beautiful and durable!