Protect Your Pet From Holiday Indoor Dangers

Every year this time, mom starts debating whether this is the year she puts up a tree. She says it is a big conundrum because she wants to have a tree, but knows the perils it comes with for the pets.

This seems to be THE discussion in many cat families as well. Social media is filled with zillions of recommendations on how to cat-proof a tree (really?) to “giving up” and recommending to absolutely not have a tree at all. That at the end of the day, it’s just not worth it, everything considered.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees come with so many perils for the pets that it requires a lot of thought and consideration on how to have what you want – but also does not pose a safety risk to your cats or neurotic monitoring on your part. For example, the liquid that people put in the tree water that supposedly extends the life of the tree is filled with chemicals that are poisonous to both cats and dogs should they drink it.

So far, in this house, resignation has won out, and she hasn’t had a tree in many years. While I would maybe swat at a few low-hanging branches and things, Beau and Bouvier would absolutely consider it their job to explore every inch of that tree and knock off a few decorations to play hockey with on the floor, if it hasn’t broken into hundreds of pieces that is!

Where to Decorate

She otherwise sprinkles the house with festive decor, placed high so as not to be in our direct line of attention. She does decorate the tables but only with things that she is certain Beau or Bouvier won’t chew on or otherwise destroy! She says she won’t give up completely – but work with the challenges and still have a festive home.

Plants, Flowers and Scented Plug-Ins

Another big decision is the holiday plants, flowers and scented plug-ins, which are safe and which pose risks to the pets. Consider this fact – almost every traditional Holiday plant and flower is poisonous to cats and dogs. And many essential oil plug-ins are also toxic to cats such as eucalyptus oil. Best to check the ASPCA toxic plant list BEFORE you go shopping!


Candles are another issue around the holidays, though their threat can be anytime you light candles with cats and dogs around. One wrong swish of a tail and that candle can hurt the animal – and even set the home on fire! We only use a candle warming plate now for a candle with a non-toxic scent. Ocassionally she will have tall lit candles on the dining room table for atmosphere during a party. As soon as the dinner is over, the candles are blown out.

Food and Cocktails

Holiday food and cocktails can be very enticing to many pets, both cats and dogs. However, so much of traditional holiday food, snacks, desserts and cocktails contain ingredients that are basically poison to us! I am rather polite and understand the expression “her food” so I know not to jump on the buffet table – but Beau is a whole other story and ignores her because he has to taste-test everything!

After a little “meet and greet” time with the early guests at her parties, mom sends us upstairs to the bedroom for the remainder of the time. This way, she can enjoy her paw-ty and not worry about what trouble Beau and Bouvier might get into! Notice I only mentioned my two brothers…

The mission of this blog is to get you thinking about the big picture of safe-guarding your pets during this Holiday season. 

To learn more, check on these blog posts that take a deeper dive into this topic of poison-proofing your home during the holidays:

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