'Tis the season for holiday joy and festivities, and for putting out all sorts of decorations to enhance the spirit of the occasion. The problem is, some of these ornamental additions may be harmful to pets, so we should be a mite cautious with the ornaments we select and where we put them.
Breakable hanging bulbs, for example, are just too tempting for the passing cat, and some of them don't take much of a swat to break. The round ornaments also make for exciting toys for both dogs and cats to chase. Broken glass can be hazardous for all creatures, and some of the ornaments can be tempting enough to eat, or at least munch on. Try to keep the breakable ornaments out of reach of all pets.
There are some candied ornaments, especially those made of chocolate, that are not safe for dogs or cats. Again, they should be kept out of reach of all pets.
And while we're on the subject of ornaments and hanging candies, it's prudent to recognize that cats view the Christmas tree as the perfect place to hone their climbing skills - often with disastrous results. That is, if you consider a toppled tree with a wrecked pile of ornaments as a disaster. I'm not sure I have a good answer for the climbing cat, except to try to train it out of the tree and to provide plenty of other attractive places to climb. Perhaps a liberal spraying of one of the "cat-away" products around the base of the tree will work for you.
New electrical cords (used for lighted ornaments, for example) are also a curiosity too good to resist for many pets, and chewing on these can lead to lethal results. Spraying the cords with a tea made from lemon peels or a dose of bitter orange may keep the pets from them.
Finally, realize that there will be extra excitement in the air, and that excitement will be almost too much for puppies and kittens to endure. Provide them with plenty of activities to keep them busy while also giving them plenty of time for R and R.
Article by: Randy Kidd DVM, PhD