petMD Provides Tips for Pet-Friendly Holiday Decorating

Dec 14, 2011, 09:00 ET from petMD

MIAMI, Dec. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Twinkling lights, sparkly tinsel, brightly colored garland, and delicate ornaments – what's not to love about holiday decorations? How about the hazards they can pose to our beloved pets? Rather than doing away with them altogether, has pulled together the following nine tips for ensuring a festive and pet-friendly home this holiday season.

  1. Christmas trees, while a staple, can be easily knocked over by pets, breaking ornaments in the process and possibly injuring your cat or dog. If you have a Christmas tree, try not to leave your cat or dog unsupervised around it.
  2. Imitation snow, also called flocking, can be hazardous to dogs or cats if ingested. Please don't use it at all around pets, as it is very likely a cat or dog will chew on Christmas tree branches.
  3. Chemical preservatives are sometimes used on Christmas trees to keep them fresh longer. The problem for pets is that the chemicals will leech down into the tree's water bowl. Either don't use preservatives on your tree, or be sure to keep the water covered by a tree skirt, towel, aluminum foil, or even plastic wrap.
  4. Of course you're proud of your child's macaroni art ornament. And yes candy canes are festive. But edible ornaments around a pet are just a bad idea. Not only will you lose the ornament, but the glue or materials used may be toxic. Sharp pieces of candy cane could even cause intestinal obstruction in dogs and cats.
  5. Lit candles should be an obvious no-no within a pet's reach, but just a friendly reminder that Christmas trees are especially flammable so be very careful with the placement of any lit candles.
  6. Be aware of the placement of Christmas lights as well. You don't want any loose wiring hanging around the bottom of the tree where a cat or dog can chew on it as it could result in electrical shock.
  7. Don't decorate with holly berries, no matter how festive they feel. According to the ASPCA, holly berries are potentially toxic if consumed in large amounts, resulting in gastrointestinal irritation and depression of the central nervous system.
  8. Be extremely cautious with your delicate or treasured ornaments. It is very easy for a cat or dog to jostle your Christmas tree and potentially break ornaments with a lot of sentimental value.
  9. Above all, tinsel is the most dangerous holiday decoration for your pets. Even if your pet only ingests a few strands of tinsel – and pets do this more often than you might guess – they are highly likely to suffer the ill and even deadly effects of an intestinal obstruction.

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