!Online Store! Button Tablet

!Call Now! Button Tablet

!Call Now! Button Desktop

Call Now! 504-456-0240 Request Appointment

!Call Now! Icon

Tis The Season For Keeping Fido and Fluffy Safe: Holiday Decorating Tips for Pet Owners

December 15, 2023

Happy Holidays! Do you enjoy going all out with decorations, or do you prefer a simpler approach? Whether you’re creating eye-catching light displays that attract visitors from afar, or simply adding some cozy lighting and candles to your windows, it’s important to consider your furry friends when decking those halls. Fido and Fluffy definitely have a penchant for mischief, and that frisky streak is front and center during this festive season. Keep reading for valuable tips from a local Metairie, LA veterinarian on how to decorate your space for the holidays in a pet safe manner.

What Holiday Plants Are Unsafe For Pets?

Many holiday decorations feature pretty seasonal plants. Unfortunately, quite a few of these plants are toxic to our pets.

  • Lilies are one of the biggest concerns, especially for cats. Anything in the true lily family–which includes the Day, Tiger, Easter, Asiatic, and Japanese Show lilies— is extremely poisonous to Fluffy. In fact, just nibbling on a leaf or drinking a sip can lead to organ failure in kitties.
  • Yew can cause tremors, difficulty breathing, vomiting, seizures, and even death.
  • Mistletoe and holly can both cause vomiting and diarrhea, as well as depression.
  • Another popular winter plant, the amaryllis, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, abdominal pain, drooling, tremors, and anorexia, as well as intestinal blockages if consumed.
  • Poinsettias aren’t as dangerous as some of the other plants listed, but they can still cause stomach upset, vomiting, drooling, and irritation of the mouth.

If you use real plants, put them in high places where your pet can’t reach them. Fake plants are a safer option, but they can be dangerous as well. Some are coated with glitter or paint, which aren’t safe for our furry pals. Others may be embellished with small parts that can be choking hazards, such as plastic berries or little Santa figurines. If you are unsure about what is and isn’t safe, ask your Metairie, LA veterinarian for more information.

Keep Small Items Out Of Reach Of Pets

Anything small or sharp is unsafe for our four-legged buddies. Some of the more dangerous holiday decorations include small ornaments, ornament hooks, tinsel, pine needles, ribbons, manger pieces, figurines, and anything fragile. Err on the side of caution, and keep these items away from your pet. Also, pick up any needles or tinsel that have fallen to the ground.

Cozy And Bright: Keep Candles Out Of Paws’ Reach

Pets and fires are never a safe combination. Keep that cedar-scented candle in a high spot, well out of the reach of your furry pal’s paws. Settling down with a cozy crackling fire? Put a sturdy grate in front of fire pits or fireplaces.

Tips For Keeping Your Tree Pet-Friendly

Our feline pals certainly have a knack for getting into mischief. In fact, if you tell your furry friend to leave the tree alone, she’ll probably make a beeline for it. However, there are a few things you can do to make it seem less inviting to your playful pet.

First and foremost, decorate carefully. Keep decorations to a minimum on the tree’s lower third. It’s best to have only a few things within paws’ reach. Those ornaments should be dull and unbreakable, like the fabric snowman. Ornaments that are sharp, shiny, or fragile should go on the top part of the tree, as should the bulk of the lights and tinsel. (Placing shiny ornaments where Fluffy can easily reach them is practically inviting trouble.)

You can also try blocking your feline pal’s access to the tree. One option is to use a puppy gate (which you can also decorate). You can also arrange presents so they block Fluffy’s path of destruction. Taste deterrents may also help. Citrus is often recommended, as many cats hate its smell. Just keep in mind that you may have to reapply it regularly.

Be extra careful if you have a live tree, as the water might contain traces of pesticides, herbicides, or fire retardants, all of which are unsafe for Fido and Fluffy. Use only plain water in the bowl.  Avoid using the tree store’s ‘food’ packet, which may contain dangerous chemicals for your pet. Use only plain water in the bowl. Covering the bowl is a good idea. Just don’t stop watering the tree: dry trees can cause fires.

Kids and pets can choke on fallen ornament hooks, needles, and tinsel, which can cause serious internal injuries if swallowed. Pick up fallen pieces before Fido and Fluffy get to them.

Ribbons, Ropes, And Strings: Never Safe For Pets

Anything with ribbon or string poses both choking and entanglement risks. That alone is enough reason to be careful, but that’s not all. These items can cause very serious internal injuries if ingested, and can basically wreak havoc as they pass through your pet’s gastrointestinal system. These incidents can quickly turn life-threatening and often require surgery.

Some things to watch for here are tinsel, light strands, ribbons, strings, garlands, and popcorn strands. Handmade or cloth items can also unravel. (Kitties of course tend to gravitate toward things that are the most dangerous for them, but that’s another topic.)

Having Pets And Guests: A Few Precautions

Are you having family or friends over this month? Guests should never pose a threat: the main concern is that there could be a mishap. This could be anything from someone letting Fido out by mistake or stepping on Fluffy’s tail to someone leaving a small toy out where your dog can find it.

Ask guests to keep their rooms closed to prevent mishaps like Fido chewing on their shoes or Fluffy leaving a hairball in a suitcase.

It’s also a good idea to vacuum and dust thoroughly, and change your air filters. This goes double if any of your guests are allergic to pets. Remember to give Fido a good bath or brushing as well!

Keep Your Pets Busy This Holiday Season

Another tactic that may help? Distract Fido or Fluffy by giving them their gifts early. Toys are ‘pawesome’ presents for our furry pals. Playing with your pet will also help. Hopefully, after a fun play session, your little buddy will be tired, and therefore more inclined to snoozing under the tree than wreaking havoc on it.

Take Your Pet’s Personality Into Account

Consider your pet’s personality when decorating. If you have an anxious dog, putting up a huge dancing snowman might not be a good idea. Fido might be terrified. As for Fluffy, well, if your feline buddy is a champion at smacking things off tables, then putting a fragile glass angel on your coffee table is probably not going to end well.

Our furry friends may also be frightened of decorations. If your pet seems very nervous about decorations, ask your Metairie, LA veterinarian about calming products and techniques.

In conclusion, this is a beautiful time of year for both people and pets. Fido and Fluffy look extra cute in front of a pretty tree or fireplace! Just take some precautions to ensure that your home is not only cozy and inviting, but also safe during the holidays.

Everyone here at Clearview Veterinary Hospital, your Metairie, LA animal clinic, wishes you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. Feel free to contact us for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs.