After Thanksgiving, it's time for many people to start setting up Christmas trees, wreaths, boughs, and other holiday greenery like poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe. Whether real or fake, these decorations certainly look nice, but they have the potential to cause serious issues for our pets.
Real Christmas tree needles can be mildly toxic to dogs and cats if ingested. Pine needles aren't easily digestible either, and they can cause a puncture or obstruction if swallowed.
Christmas tree water may be tempting for dogs or cats to drink, but substances leeching out of the cut tree trunk - like bacteria, mold or pesticides - could be harmful. Some people dissolve aspirin in the water to keep the trees fresh longer, but remember that aspirin can be harmful to dogs, and even fatal to cats. Cover the water with a tree skirt, box or plastic, or opt for an artificial tree that doesn't require water.
Curious cats may try to climb a Christmas tree, and if it’s not properly secured, could topple and cause damage or injury. Use a heavy base and tie the tree to a wall or anchor point.
Live plants are another pet safety concern. While poinsettias aren't quite as harmful as once thought (but can still cause some gastrointestinal upset), holly and mistletoe are much more toxic, and should be kept away from your pets, or not brought into the home at all. PetMD has some more info toxic holiday plants.
Consider hanging wreaths up on the wall, or try a fun alternative to a tree, like a potted Rosemary plant.
Visit us next week for more info about holiday decorations and pets, and check out our previous Holiday posts: