Keeping your Christmas tree and your pets safe

Red Cat On The Christmas Tree Among Christmas Toys And Decorations

You do not have to be an experienced pet owner to know that dogs, cats, and even birds are attracted to new decor and shiny objects. Tipp City Vet wants you to get the most joy out of your Christmas tree this season, so we’ve compiled a list of some ideas to help your family keep your Christmas tree looking beautiful and pets safe during the holidays.

Think about Christmas tree placement

Your tree likely has fragile ornaments that could break if knocked over by your pet, or strings of lights which present an entanglement problem. To avoid a knocked over tree and potential injury to your furry friends carefully consider where you will put your Christmas tree this year. A great way to keep an exuberant pet from accidentally knocking over your tree is by placing your tree in a corner of the room.

This will give you the option of anchoring your tree to the wall using fishing line or even fencing off your tree using modular child or pet gates.

Nothing is more disheartening than hearing the crash of a toppling tree late on Christmas Eve!

Avoid tinsel, always

Although we all love a gorgeously sparkling tree if your pets eat any strands of tinsel it can have the potential of causing some real digestive problems. Tinsel has been known to completely block the intestines of household pets and requires surgery to undo. Left untreated, tinsel blockages can be fatal to your pet.

If tinsel is important to you, your family can agree to hang it on just the highest branches of your tree, but to be safest it would be best to avoid using it all together.

If you really love the look of tinsel and you think your holiday just won’t be the same without it, purchasing a pre-tinseled artificial tree would be the perfect solution. These trees have strands of tinsel permanently attached to the branches. Or, invest in twinkle light strands which will sparkle on their own and remove the need for a tinseled look.

Watch your wires

Electrical wires are hazardous to pets, and we tend to have more of them lying around the house at Christmas time. Try to keep the temptation to play with or chew on wires away from your pets. Secure extension cords to the floor using a thick masking tape and cover with  area rugs to prevent your pet from having access to them. Additionally, you might want to keep light strands off the lowest branches of your tree to prevent your pet from playing with them. Christmas lights have been known to cause severe electric shock to animals who have chewed through the wires.

Christmas Tree ornaments and pets do not mix

Your ornaments probably have sentimental value. Your baby’s first Christmas, the ornament you purchased on your last family vacation, grandma’s vintage collection of glass orbs…in addition to looking fabulous on your tree they hold a special place in your heart.

You’ll want to keep your heirloom ornaments on the higher branches of your tree and breakable objects away from your pets. Besides being choking hazards (and really sad if they were to break) your ornaments can also cause intestinal blockage if Fido eats them. Broken ornaments can injure the paws and mouths of your pet as well.

A great tip to keep tabs on your tree is to place a few jingle bells throughout. This will give you a ringing “heads-up” if your cat or dog is playing too near your tree.

Live Christmas trees and other plants

Pine needles create a mess in your living room and also tummy upset if eaten by your pets. Keep them swept up in order to avoid this problematic dilemma. Also, the water from your tree might contain remnants of fertilizers or pesticides used on the Christmas tree farm, it is best to keep your pets from drinking this.

Remember also that many Christmas plants like holly and poinsettias are poisonous if ingested by your animals, so avoiding them in your decor scheme is a must.

Candy canes and gingerbread men

From candy canes to popcorn strings, we have a tendency to place edible objects on our tree. Unfortunately, your cinnamon-scented salt dough hand-print ornament from your nephew might look like a great snack to your pet.

Putting edible ornaments on your tree is just asking for your dog or cat to have increased interest in having a taste. Even though these traditional items might be fun for you, it isn’t a good idea if you have furry family members.

When Santa comes

If Santa has placed brightly wrapped packages under your tree you’ll have to be diligent that your dog or cat cannot get to them. Ribbons are particularly enticing to cats and many dogs have been caught unwrapping the family gifts long before Christmas morning. While the wrapping paper itself is likely not harmful for your pet, ingesting too much can cause stomach upset and blockage. Ribbons and bows are regular culprits of this during the holiday season, and we see too many pets come in who need surgery to remove these items.

Tabletop decor

Some pet owners decide on a smaller tree which they can place on a table to keep away from their pets. This often works well to keep dogs away from Christmas trees, but can be problematic for cat owners. If you plan to decorate in a place where cats may be able to knock things off of high tables and counter tops be certain to avoid using breakable ornaments which wouldn’t survive a long fall.

Other tips and ticks for a safe Holiday

If you’re looking for some more ideas on how to make sure you have a fabulous and safe holiday for your pets this year, the ASPCA has created a printable list of suggestions.

If you have any questions or concerns about the health of your pet, or if you believe your pet may have consumed something harmful please give our office a call as soon as possible at 937-506-4284.

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james rawe
james rawe
posted 2 weeks ago

Thank you to Dr. Jacob Mathias!! Every visit is exceptional and makes us and our fur babies feel like family. He even takes the time to warm up to our dog who is very nervous around men. Thank you to the support staff as well! I will always refer Tipp City Veterinary Hospital!! You guys are outstanding!!

Anna Burkhead
Anna Burkhead
posted 6 days ago

We've never felt less than welcome here and have always left feeling confident in what was explained to us and any procedure that has been done. We are never rushed and it's easy to tell that everyone here truly does care for your pets and their best interest. I highly reccomend visiting Tipp Vet Hospital for all of your pet's needs.

Emily Davis
Emily Davis
posted 1 month ago

I revisited Tipp Vet after a long stint with my previous vet that ended in me just not feeling comfortable with the level of care my two small breeds were receiving. I definitely don’t feel this way here. They are exceptionally understanding and helpful with all of my concerns, and Dr. Ken even provided me with his email once so that he could help me further understand some test results he had given me. They are very understanding with my small adopted dog that needs to be muzzled when I bring him to them. They work very slowly with him during his visits and keep me updated on his progress there. I can’t recommend them enough!

William Pittl
William Pittl
posted 2 months ago

The staff were very helpful in getting our girl Precious in after extreme vomiting and diarrhea. And also, they have been FANTASTIC on following up on checking to see how she is doing. Thank you so much. It means a lot when you LOVE our baby as much as we do🧡🐕

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