The holidays are an exciting time for your pets. The decorations shimmer and shine and look incredibly fun to play with. A towering Christmas tree is a tempting toy for your feline friend or playful puppy. Here are five tips to accident-proof your pet-friendly apartment as you decorate for the holiday season.
- Choose the Right Tree. Smaller is better in an apartment. Avoid buying a giant tree because it could cause injury if it topples. Consider a table-top tree to dissuade your cat from climbing it and prevent your dog from bounding into it. For pine trees, keep the water container covered and pine needles cleaned up – the water and needles can make your pet sick.
- Place it in a Safe Spot. Keep the tree away from other climbable surfaces. Your cat may attempt to launch onto the tree from a nearby bookcase. A room with a door that can be closed is the best place to set up your Christmas tree. Repeatedly warn your pet “no” when it approaches your holiday decorations, and keep it up. A baby gate may be enough to keep your dog away, but take your cat with you and close the door when you leave the room.
- Secure the Base. A firm, solid base will help anchor the tree. You want the center of gravity to be low so that the tree won’t fall if your cat climbs it. Additionally, fix the tree to the ceiling or wall for more stability using fishing line and small hooks.
- Choose Decorations Wisely. Certain decorations are dangerous for your pet. Ingesting tinsel or artificial snow can harm it. Avoid lighted candles, edible decorations, mistletoe, and glass bulbs. Use ribbons, yarn, or twine to hang ornaments instead of metal hooks. Remember kitties like to bat at hanging items, so perhaps anchor decorations to branches firmly, don’t let them dangle. Duct tape cords to the floor/wall and unplug when not in use.
- Decorate Without an Animal Audience. Put your cat or dog in another room while you are decorating your apartment. It may think that decorating is a game as you lay out and hang your ornaments. Leave the lower branches bare and secure sentimental or expensive ornaments high up on the tree. Very effective deterrents to chewing include bitter apple or citronella sprayed on electric cords, and menthol rub spread onto lower branches. If you surround the tree with plastic floor runners, with the nubs facing up, exploration of the area will be unappealing for any four-legged pet.