Decorating your Christmas tree is always a fun time, but you know what’s not fun? Waking up to find your cat tumbled the tree over it’s head, or your dog chewed on the lower branches. They can’t help it – flashing lights and glowy thingies, it’s hard to resist.
But mere inconvenience isn’t the only problem, as both pets and small children can hurt themselves by swallowing small pieces of decoration, which is very dangerous.
Luckily there are many ways to make your Christmas tree more friendly to pets and children!
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Use a baby’s playpen
A baby’s playpen is incredibly useful to protect your tree from toddlers and some pets (although some will easily get by them, but it still helps in creating a perimeter).
Better yet, some playpens come in stylized formats like the one above that resembles a fence, making it feel more at home with the decoration.
Avoid lit candles near the tree
Candles are not to be underestimated as Christmas decoration. Charming, cozy and rustic, they are great additions to your decor… but do be careful if you have pets.
Lit candles near a tree are usually not a big deal – as long as they’re within a safe distance. But pets can easily tumble them over and create a serious fire hazard, not to mention burn themselves in the process.
In this case, use LED candles instead to retain the look and feel of candles, but without the fire hazard.
Wall trees have become so popular they’re actually being sold ready to go up on the wall, but you can also DIY your own without many issues.
This way the tree can stay on it’s corner, not taking up a lot of room, and since it can be placed high above the ground, it’s much safer for pets and children.
A cheeky but somewhat useful trick is to place distracting pet toys on the bottom of your tree – so they can freely chew on those and leave the rest of your tree alone.
The success rate for this one varies wildly depending on the pet, but if they’re fairly well behaved, maybe they’ll fall for it!
An idea for those who want a different Christmas tree, these alternatives with tall trunks can be found in retail stores. But the biggest draw is that it serves our purpose of making it child and pet friendly.
Since the part where the decoration goes is way above the ground, it makes it much harder for children or pets to mess with it.
Of course if you have a particularly dexterous cat, they might still try. Because that’s how they are.
A way to prevent cats and dogs from chewing your tree is to spray it with bitter apple or citrus spray. They’re not huge fans of that, and a single taste of it will likely scare them off.
Make sure it’s stable
Regardless of having cats and dogs, a strong base for your tree is important. Make sure it’s stable and won’t topple over easily, since both cats and dogs might pull branches and bring the whole thing down. A strong base will at least give you time to deal with them before the entire thing comes crashing down.
Depending on your pet, you might want to take precautions. Opt for shatterproof ornaments of the bigger variety, as they’re more resistant to drops, but also harder to swallow by accident.
A smaller tree is much easier to decorate and also much less likely to provoke pets. You can leave it in a cozy corner, taking some of the precautions we’ve already discussed, and you’re good to go.
Set the lights to one setting
Most pets – especially cats – will be drawn to blinking lights, so it’s a good idea to pick a less obnoxious setting for them. Most lights have that “random setting that keeps switching it up, and when the “fast blink setting pops up, it can provoke both cats and dogs to attack the tree in playfulness.
It’s better to choose a more subtle blink and leave it in one setting, instead of a flurry of different ones. Choosing only one will create a pattern your pets can get used to and will ignore as time goes by.
Will you make any of these Christmas decoration ideas? Let us know on Facebook and share your creations!