The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



Pet-Proofing Your Home for the Holidays

 December 12, 2022 |  Holiday, Safety, Just for Fun |  winter, pets, new homeowner

The holiday season marks a unique time of the year. Storefronts light up with Christmas cheer and nostalgic music fills the air as we all rush off to find that perfect gift. Unfortunately, pet owners can often get left behind in the festivities. Furry friends work to tear homes apart while simultaneously endangering themselves in the new stimulating surroundings. Too often, pet owners choose to opt out of holiday decorations rather than deal with rambunctious cats or dogs. This season, here are a few options to consider reentering the holiday with pet-safe decorations.

Secure The Right Tree
Central to any Christmas-celebrating home is the Christmas Tree. There are fabulous variations on the tradition, and oftentimes families have their own preferred rituals involving how and when to decorate their tree. Adding a cat or dog into the picture can throw a considerable wrench into the process, however, as habits need to be adjusted in the best interest of protecting decorations, and keeping pets safe.

Although there is some debate on which type of tree presents the fewest hazards, artificial trees ultimately introduce fewer toxins into the household. Still, artificial trees can drop plastic pieces that are harmful if ingested. For the safest experience, select an artificial tree, and pay close attention to any shedding, cleaning up any small scraps as they fall off.

Hazards that live trees bring center primarily around the pine needles that it sheds. If your dog or cat steps on one of these easily missed needles, they can cause quite a bit of pain and discomfort. If ingested, however, the toxins and damage can be even worse. With all trees, but especially with live trees, utilize strategic barriers and then vacuum thoroughly and often.

For advice on how to select the best live tree this season, check out our previous article covering the topic!

There are countless tips to keep a tree even with the most destructively curious pets. Consider tying the tree to the ceiling or other furniture for extra support and to avoid any cataclysmic falls. Additionally, using attention deterrents like aluminum sheets or tape under the tree for a period can dissuade some adventurous pets, and cats are known to dislike the scent of citrus. Strategic sprays can surprisingly be all that’s needed to maintain an orderly living space during this holiday season.

Avoid Breakable Hazards
From ornaments to snow globes, the holidays seem to come with plenty of opportunities for pets to break something valuable. In general, keeping tree ornaments out of reach is usually not enough to avoid breakage. Be sure to secure any ornament to trees with non-metal fasteners. Cats and dogs are likely to jump and shake trees, but if ornaments are firmly attached, destructive drops can be avoided. On the occasion that an ornament does fall, metal hooks can be especially damaging when chewed on or eaten, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Snow globes are a beautiful holiday decoration that present a fair number of hazards to pets outside of potentially harmful glass shards. Snow globes also contain antifreeze, which is fatal to cats. Whether they are out of reach or out of the picture completely, be wary of snow globes this winter.

Select Safe Indoor Plants
Greenery is a common addition to households during the holiday season, but when not selecting artificial options, it’s important not to bring in plants that could present any health risks. Some popular Christmas-time plants that are hazardous to cats include Amaryllis, Cyclamen, and particularly Lilies, which present a fatal risk. Holly, ivy, yew, and Christmas roses also contain toxins that can present health risks to pets.

For pet-safe greenery, consider choosing Christmas cactus, white orchids, or autumn olives. In addition, poinsettias have been considered toxic in the past, but are actually only mildly toxic and generally a recommended option for pet owners.

Follow these guidelines to celebrate the holidays with your pets safely! Pets can certainly be a handful at times, but for many they are as much a part of the family as anyone. Follow these tips, and celebrate the New Year the right way.

Speaking of safety, the best way to gain peace of mind for your home is with your annual home maintenance inspection.Find a home inspection professional in your area with National Property Inspections, and schedule your appointment today!

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